YOUNG winger Sam Freeman produced a four-try supershow as Widnes cruised through the last 16 of the Challenge Cup with a 44-12 win over York City Knights.

Freeman’s heroics aside, it was a disjointed performance by the Vikings but in the end they had too much firepower for an understrength York outfit.

Widnes boss Kieron Purtill made several changes to the team that lost 20-18 at Batley six days earlier.

Star centre Anthony Gelling returned after missing the last three games while Danny Craven was back in the halves alongside Joe Lyons. Sam Wilde recovered from a head knock sufficiently to take his place in the second row and Ted Chapelhow was back on the bench.

The Vikings start to the game wasn’t what the doctor ordered as Craven kicked out on the full and from their first attack York scored with second row Brad Hey latching on to a short kick and the conversion making it 6-0.

Widnes hit back almost immediately when Craven dummied his way through from half-way and drew the fullback before sending Freeman over for a six-pointer.

There was a sense that York might be there for the taking but the Vikings blew several chances as handling errors became an issue.

Try number two for Widnes didn’t come until the 32nd minute when Jack Owen’s long pass sent Freeman over for his second converted try.

The Vikings finally managed to establish a two score lead just before the break when centre Keenan Brand caught a speculative cross-kick to make it 18-6.

It was constant Widnes pressure early in the second period and it paid off on 49 minutes when Brand did well to release Freeman who dived in at the left corner for his hat-trick try with Owens conversion attempt just sliding wide.

A mistake early in the tackle count on the next set allowed York to gain field position and they took advantage when Jordan Baldwinson forced his way over the line to make it 22-12.

Freeman’s fourth try was a superb effort as Brand again put him away up the left and he showed great pace and strength to force his way over. Owens fine goal made it 28-12.

With nine minutes remaining, it looked like Freeman might cross for a fifth touchdown but he unselfishly tossed the ball inside for Lyons to cross.

With the shackles finally off, the Vikings went into exhibition mode with Ryan Ince rounding off a fine move on the right and Owens racing 50 metres up the left with the latter adding both goals to push the final winning margin out to 44-12.

Job done.

Widnes: Owens; Ince, Dean, Brand, Freeman; Craven, Lyons; Cahill, Johnstone, J Chapelhow, Wilde, Dean, Leuluai. Subs: T Chapelhow, Walsh, Farnworth, Roby.

York: Brown; Mazive, Bass, Rawsthorne, Whiteley; Heckford, Brining; Baldwinson, Jubb, Blagborough, Hey, Jordan-Roberts, Porter. Subs: Peterson, Stock, Kelly, Dixon.

Half-Time: 18-6

Referee: Mr J Smith

Attendance: 2,229