Bryan Redpath hailed the resilience of his Yorkshire Carnegie side as they claimed a second successive win under their new head coach to keep alive their lingering hopes of gatecrashing the play-offs.
Carnegie came from a point down at half-time, a deficit acheived through a terrific defensive stand on the cusp of half-time, to record their thrid straight win in the league.
But their inability to create and score more than two tries meant that even in victory, they failed to eat into the six-point advantage fourth-place Nottingham held before the weekend.
If they are unsuccessful in their bid to reach the top four it will owe much to the time wasted before Redpath’s arrival, not what they do in the closing five games he takes charge of.
A second straight victory, though perhaps not as eye-catching as his debut win at Plymouth, should at least point to a more stabilised team.
Carnegie scored two fine tries through Oli Goss and Christian Georgiou but it was the resolve of the players that pleased Redpath the most.
“It was patchy in stages but on a whole we showed a resilience in the second half to come away with a victory,” he said.
“Some of the discipline wasn’t great and didn’t finish off certain opporunities we created. The character they showed in the second half impressed me. The resilience is good.”
In a game dominated by set-pieces – 33 lineouts and 17 scrums – Carnegie were unable to establish an attacking flow. After Harry Leonard kicked Carnegie into a three-point lead, a flowing move from left to right created an opening for Jersey’s Drew Locke to exploit, Aaron Penberthy converting.
After another Leonard penalty, Yorkshire surged ahead with a wonderful try, Leonard’s booming crossfield kick measured masterfully in the wind by winger Goss who barely broke stride to collect the ball, juggling it in his hands as he dove across the line to dot down.
Pete Lucock raced through only to be scythed down by Jersey hooker Joe Buckle before Nick Haining scored far too easily in the corner after Samisona Fisilau’s raking pass.
Jersey should have extended their lead before the break with Leonard sent to the sin-bin, but Lucock produced a try-saving tackle in a defensive stand Redpath described as “massive”.
Carnegie needed a flash of inspiration, and they got it. Charlie Beech, the loosehead prop, showed speed belying his position and a great offload released the jet-heeled Taylor Prell down the touchline, before he released Georgiou to race home.
Yorkshire Carnegie: Georgiou, Goss, Lucock (Bainbridge 80), Fitzpatrick (Clarke 70), Prell, Leonard (Grimoldby 70), Pilgrim (Egerton 55); Beech, Nilsen (J Walker 55), Tideswell (Hill 49), Smith, Jones, Williams (Harris 55), C Walker, Burrows.
Jersey: Penberthy, Foster, Locke, McRea, Otto (Bentley 80), Robling, Fisilau (Glynn 80); Lockwood (Lancuba 74), Buckle, Williams (Herriott 66), Phillips (Campbell 48), Markham, Rae, Hodson (Noone 40), Haining (Garcia-Vega 67).
Referee: A Jackson (RFU).