Betfred League One: North Wales Crusaders 0 Bradford Bulls 48

BRADFORD Bulls went back to the top of the Betfred League One table as they kept a clean sheet for the second game running.

Their 48-point winning margin overhauled York City Knights' 38-point advantage, with the Knights having thrashed West Wales Raiders 130-0 on Saturday afternoon.

Bulls tries came from man of the match Dane Chisholm (2), centre Tuoyo Egodo, winger Ethan Ryan – his 29th of the season – second rows Elliot Minchella and Matt Garside and interchanges Joe Keyes and Jonny Pownall.

Chisholm landed eight of his nine kicks at goal but the most surprising thing was that the hosts failed to score, especially after having a large chunk of territory and possession in the first half.

However, it was in the second half that they came closest, with left winger Earl Hurst being hauled back for a foot in touch and stand-off Ryan Smith both grounding the ball inches short and knocking on with the last play of the game.

The visit of the Bulls attracted a club-record crowd for the Queensway Stadium of 886 – it was disappointing that it did not reach four figures – but it still did not break the overall club record of 1,562 for the visit of South Wales Scorpions in 2013.

The visitors kicked off and it didn't take them long to go ahead, with scrum half Jordan Lilley's kick under pressure in the fourth minute being collected by a salmon-like leap by Ryan above opposite number Jake Knox, with Ryan then twisting and turning his way to the line.

Chisholm converted but the Bulls had to do more than their fair share of defending in the first half as the Crusaders went close in response before conceding the game's first penalty, which came to nothing.

Home scrum half Joe Lyons then made a sharp break but his pass inside was too low for second row Jack Houghton, who could only volley the ball ahead with his left foot.

Left centre Ross Oakes then had to pull off an ankle tap to end another dangerous home raid but the Bulls saw action at the other end of the field, with both Lilley and Egodo both ending up on the floor after the former kicked ahead and the latter chased, although referee Michael Smail took no action.

Crusaders were, annoyingly for them, not completing their sets but the Bulls were helping them out with errors of their own as the half became scrappy.

However, that was forgotten when sharp passing put Minchella over from a Lilley pass in the 26th minute, with Chisholm stroking over conversion.

Egodo went over in the right corner three minutes later from a Brandon Pickersgill pass but a fracas ensued immediately after the centre put ball down.

The touch judges were consulted but no action was taken by the officials and Chisholm landed another fine conversion.

The visitors then won their sixth penalty with none conceded, and Chisholm stroked it over to put the Bulls more than three scores ahead at 20-0 in the 39th minute.

Good work by Crusaders left winger Dale Bloomfield, who plucked a kick out of the air ahead of Dalton Grant just before half-time, prevented another possible score.

The Bulls had taken three of their five opportunities in the first half whereas the Crusaders had plenty of possession and territory but mustered nothing.

At the start of the second half, both sides knocked on but the hosts soon won their first penalty, making the count 7-1, although Brad Brennan knocked on at the play-the-ball when five metres from the Bulls line.

Ross Peltier then knocked on in an error-filled start to the second half, and Crusaders won another penalty, although their grubber kick was far too heavy and the ball ran dead.

The Bulls made them pay with their fourth try as Chisholm strolled through on the diagonal before adding an easy goal.

Pickersgill almost put Ryan through a gap on the left, and the latter then mystifyingly came up with the ball on his own line in the 51st minute and almost made it to halfway before being tackled.

A superb run down the left by Hurst was ruled out for being in touch, and the visitors struck at the other end via Chisholm after 57 minutes, with another twist and turn for the line, but he then missed his only conversion from near the left touchline.

A stretcher and later an ambulance was called for as Crusaders loose forward James Dandy was injured, with his head being immobilised as he lay on the floor before being taken off.

The Bulls finished their opponents off in some style, with first Ryan catching Chisholm's short crossfield kick and passing the ball back inside for Garside to score in the 62nd minute, Chisholm adding the goal.

There was great work by Ryan again as he caught another crossfield kick and flicked the ball out of the back door for Pownall to dive over on the left, Chisholm nailing the kick at goal from the left touchline.

This was the score that put the Bulls back on top of the table after 69 minutes as they overhauled York City Knights' 38-point advantage.

Crusaders' centre Alex Trumper was injured but soldiered on, and the try scoring was finished off by a great solo effort by replacement Keyes in the 75th minute, stepping inside the cover to make the line for Chisholm to again convert.

The plucky Crusaders had one last chance to score after Peltier was sin-binned for a late barge on Smith in the 79th minute, but Smith grounded the ball short of the line and then knocked on in what was the last action of match.