Hat-Trick Hero O’Hagan inspires Knights victory over Widnes: Sunday 8th August - Betfred Championship
York City Knights 34 (12) – (20) 20 Widnes Vikings
Well, what a comeback.
Not only for a Knights team who recovered from trailing 20-12 at half-time against Widnes Vikings at the LNER Community Stadium, but from Brendan O’Hagan.
The half-back has been sorely missing for the Knights for long periods this season but returned this afternoon with a superb hat-trick showing, giving the York faithful a view of what he brings to the team.
He was one of five changes to the team from the 46-10 victory over Swinton Lions in our Betfred Championship fixture a fortnight ago and stole the show with an impeccable showing.
One of the other changes was the introduction of James McDonnell, the Wigan loanee who made his Knights debut in his previous spell in the return fixture at Widnes, and the second-rower made an impression early on with a ball steam from Lewis Hulme as the Vikings man looked to open the scoring.
Both teams started strong with few errors on show but it was the visiting Vikings who opened the scoring after an offload from Adam Lawton. The forward passed wide to winger Deon Cross who raced away, beating Corey Johnson for pace, before passing inside to Joe Lyons. The Widnes half juggled the pass before passing inside to full-back Jack Owens who scored under the sticks before converting his own effort.
The didn’t upset the Knights, however, and Matty Marsh – back at full-back and leading the tactical kicking for the home team – forced Widnes winger Jayden Hatton to knock the ball into touch under pressure from Marsh. From the resulting set, deep in Vikings territory, O’Hagan threw a dummy before stepping through the gap for his first try in Knights colours.
Marsh, on goalkicking duties in Kieran Dixon’s absence, added the two on what was a particularly tricky, windy afternoon for the kickers.
Widnes, though, found the front once again. From deep in their half, centre Ste Tyrer passed to Dean Cross, the winger having come infield. With Marsh close to the defensive line, Cross galloped free to score under the sticks, full-back Owen again converting.
Five minutes later, O’Hagan had added his second try to narrow the gap. His first tactical kick of the afternoon, a deft grubber to the in-goal, wasn’t dealt with by the Widnes defenders and the Australian was able to touch down. Marsh added the two to level the scores just after the 25th minute.
In an entertaining half, Widnes made sure they went into the break with a healthy lead after two further scores. The first, an effort from Joe Lyons which came after a richochet off a Knights man’s back, was fortunate, but the second from Tyrer was excellent.
From Danny Craven’s wide kick, the experience centre beat Whiteley, on his 100th career appearance, in the air to score. Full-back Owens was unable to convert either, but the visitors led 20-12 at the break.
The Knights, however, hit the front in the early stages of the second half thanks to a brace from the impressive Tyme Dow-Nikau.
Interchange hooker Kriss Brining earned the Knights a penalty and, after good work up the middle, the platform was given for the centre to force his way over once the ball was worked right.
The hosts – and Dow-Nikau – made it back-to-back efforts just moments later. Great work from Sam Scott saw the Knights make ground and, when O’Hagan and Kirmond worked the ball right to Dow-Nikau, the centre made it three tries in his last two games. Marsh failed to convert the first, but did add the second, giving the Knights a 22-20 lead on the fifty minute mark – a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Widnes were the beneficiaries of some poor Knights play with possession lost cheaply, but York held firm and would go on to nil the Vikings in the second period.
Just short of the hour mark, great work from McDonnell saw the loanee make ground after a good break. O’Hagan was in support and, after scoring his third try, the Knights had daylight. Marsh added the two and, from that point, victory was never in doubt.
James Ford’s men withstood some pressure from Widnes and, when Jack Teanby dived over on the 75th minute, the game was sealed.
Marsh added the two, to make it five successful kicks from six attempts, but the afternoon was O’Hagan’s.
York: Matty Marsh, Perry Whiteley, Tyme Dow-Nikau, Corey Hall, Ben Jones-Bishop, Brendan O’Hagan, Corey Johnson, Ronan Dixon, Will Jubb, Jack Teanby, Danny Kirmond, James McDonnell, Chris Clarkson.
Interchanges: Kriss Brining, Jordan Baldwinson, Sam Scott, Tim Spears.
Tries: Brendan O’Hagan (15’, 26’, 58’), Dow-Nikau (43’, 46’), Jack Teanby (75’_
Goals: Matty Marsh (5/6)
Widnes Vikings: Jack Owens, Jayden Hatton, Ste Tyrer, Jake Spedding, Deon Cross, Danny Craven, Joe Lyons, W. Tilleke, L. Hulme, K. Baker, S. Grady, A. Lawton, M. Smith
Interchanges: O. Farnworth, J. Edge, Brookes, A. Roden
Tries: J. Owens (9’), D. Cross (20’), J. Lyons (32’), S. Tyrer (36’)
Goals: J. Owens (2/4)
Man of the Match, in partnership with Burflex Scaffolding: Brendan O’Hagan, sponsored by Rite Price Tyres