Aaron Heremaia seals crucial win for Widnes against Salford

A late try from Aaron Heremaia clinched an important victory for Widnes against Salford.

Ian Watson made just one change to his Salford side that beat Hull FC last week. Derrell Olpherts made his debut and he replaced Kris Welham.

Denis Betts named an unchanged side to the one that played in the abandoned game at Wakefield last time out.

Salford started well and got on top Widnes in the first half. Olpherts thought he had scored on his Super League debut but his effort in the corner was ruled out by the video referee due to him being in touch.

The Red Devils did score the opener in the 18th minute though. Josh Jones got on the end of a Rob Lui bomb and he assisted the supporting Craig Kopczak who scored near the sticks. Lui converted to put his side 6-0 up.

The try from Salford galvanised the Widnes side. Ted Chapelhow carried the ball strong and thought he scored but the video referee chalked it off due to him not grounding the ball.

Chris Dean did go over for the Vikings shortly after. The back-rower burst through the Salford defence to reach over the line. Krisnan Inu’s conversion made the score level at 6-6.

Widnes were caught holding on for too long in the tackle on the half hour mark. Salford opted to take the two and Lui added the penalty goal, Widnes 6-8 Salford.

Lui extended Salford’s lead just before the break with a second penalty goal. The Red Devils were 10-6 to the good at half time.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Lama Tasi was sin-binned after committing a shoulder charge on Ted Chapelhow, forcing the Widnes prop to leave the field.

The Vikings took the lead for the first time in the 49th minute. Inu got in between Junior Sa’u and Greg Johnson to touch down. He converted his own try to put his team in a narrow 12-10 advantage.

Salford went back in front on the hour. Ed Chamberlain failed to deal with a kick from Lui and Weller Hauraki picked up the loose ball to score. The conversion was missed but Salford were 14-12 ahead.

Lui added another penalty goal a couple of minutes later and the Red Devils were ahead by four points.

In the 70th minute, Greg Burke stormed over the line. The Vikings prop steamed onto a flat ball from Heremaia to score. Inu’s boot made the score 18-16 in favour of Widnes.

Betts’ men sealed the win with a couple of minutes remaining. Niall Evalds couldn’t take Danny Craven’s kick and Heremaia picked up a loose ball to dive over. Inu added the extras to clinch a 24-16 victroy.

Widnes: 1 Hanbury; 2 Marsh, 3 Inu, 4 Runciman, 24 Chamberlain; 6 Mellor, 15 Craven; 11 Houston, 33 Heremaia, 19 Burke, 14 Dean, 12 Whitley, 16 Olbison. Subs: 21 Johnstone, 28 B Walker, 26 T Chapelhow, 17 Wilde.

Salford: 5 Evalds; 24 Bibby, 22 Olpherts, 4 Sa’u, 2 Johnson; 6 Lui, 7 Littlejohn; 23 Mossop, 9 Tomkins, 8 Kopczak, 11 Jones, 12 Hauraki, 13 Flanagan. Subs: 19 Wood, 14 Tasi, 18 Petero Nakubuwai, 17 McCarthy.

Starman: Aaron Heremaia – he did a brilliant job all game. He got stuck in when defending and came up with the winning try.

Attendance: 4,007

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