Warrington win basement battle at Widnes

Warrington’s mini-revival continued as they beat Widnes 19-10 to go three games unbeaten on Thursday night.

It means back-to-back wins for Tony Smith’s men, who only registered their first win of the season against Leeds last week, and it puts daylight between them and the Vikings at the bottom.

The contest was a far cry to the fixture that brought in the Easter weekend 12 months ago, when the derby rivals were the top two in Super League and a Wolves win that night knocked Widnes off the top.

Denis Betts’ men have won just seven Super League games in what is now 32 attempts since then and their struggles show no signs of halting.

They did take the lead early on in this one though, Charly Runciman pouncing on a mistake by Matty Russell to send Stefan Marsh in at the left corner.

A flurry of penalties conceded by Widnes allowed Warrington to turn the game around by the 15th minute though.

Chris Houston was guilty twice of resetting the tackle count for the first, which saw Tom Lineham cross on the left.

Such was Widnes’ ill discipline that they were handed a team warning in the build-up to Warrington’s second try. The pressure was built when Kurt Gidley contested a high bomb and forced a Widnes error, and then Marsh was penalised for tackling Russell in the air.

Eventually, after some sustained pressure, Jack Hughes carried a couple of tacklers over the line and the Wolves were 10-4 to the good.

It was a scrappy affair littered with handling errors, and it was ultimately a handling error that denied Warrington a third try, as Ryan Atkins lost the ball in the act of scoring for a would-be try that was waved off by the video referee.

The video referee did eventually award a third Warrington try and it wasn’t without controversy, as Joe Philbin looked to have landed just short of the line, but he was given the benefit of the doubt and Declan Patton added the extras.

Patton knocked a drop goal over shortly before the half and Widnes had all the work to do at 4-17 down at half time.

The home side did come out fighting but were largely toothless in attack. It took them until shortly before the hour mark to create anything of note, the returning Chris Dean sent through a gap by Joe Mellor only for the return ball to be called forward.

A Warrington error off the resulting scrum then set the field position for the second Widnes try, which came when Runciman got on the end of Chris Bridge’s stab kick through on the last.

Despite that encouragement, Widnes never really looked like getting back in to the game, and their woes were perhaps best summed up by Harvey Livett managing to avoid conceding a drop out despite being dragged back by four Vikings defenders.

Time was well and truly against the hosts, and Patton put a penalty over three minutes from time to make sure and earn Warrington a fifth point from six ahead of Monday’s visit of out-of-sorts Huddersfield.

Widnes: Hanbury, Armstrong, Bridge, Runciman, Marsh, Mellor, Craven, Dudson, Johnstone, J. Chapelhow, Houston, Whitley, Brooks. Subs: Dean, Gerrard, Olbison, Burke.

Warrington: Ratchford, Russell, T. King, Atkins, Lineham, Patton, Gidley, Hill, Dwyer, Sims, Jullien, Hughes, G. King. Subs: Evans, Savelio, Philbin, Livett.

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