WIDNES took a massive step towards retaining their Super League status with a superb 24-8 win at Leigh Centurions.

It was a characterful performance from Denis Betts' men who had to overcome injuries within the game before they could take the spoils.

Betts made just one change from the seventeen that thrashed Featherstone Rovers 58-10 a fortnight earlier with Manase Manuokafoa replacing fellow prop forward Greg Burke on the bench.

The Vikings enjoyed much the better of things in the early stages and Leigh were forced into giving several penalties away at the tackle.

The pressure told on four minutes when Lloyd White jinked his way over from dummy-half to make it 4-0.

Leigh were struggling for momentum and a trip on Chris Houston allowed Rhys Hanbury to increase the Vikings' lead with a 30 metre penalty.

Another Hanbury penalty made it 8-0 after White was obstructed chasing his own kick to the line.

Leigh finally managed to mount some raids of their own and Corey Paterson went close but lost the ball as he tried to slam it down under the posts.

Widnes went straight up the other end and some smart inter-passing amongst the forwards saw substitute Gerrard barge over under the sticks with Hanbury's goal making it 14-0.

It proved to be the Australian fullback's last meaningful contribution as he left the field with an injury.

The Centurions enjoyed the better of things late in the first half but were kept at bay by some desperate Vikings cover defence.

Danny Craven, having moved into fullback, was injured on the first set of the second half meaning Corey Thompson had to go into the number one role with Charly Runciman shuffling out to the wing.

The Centurions threw everything they could at Widnes and it eventually paid off when winger James Clare finished off spectacularly in the corner to pull four points back.

It looked like the Vikings were starting to wilt but a lovely last tackle play saw Thompson beat two home defenders on the way to a try goaled superbly by Chris Bridge to make it 20-4.

Leigh proved they weren't done when a scrum move got Matty Dawson in on the right.

At 20-8 with 14 minutes remaining the next score was likely to be crucial and it came the Vikings way with a 40 metre Bridge penalty for interference at the play-the-ball.

The Centurions efforts to get back into the game became ever more desperate and a further penalty from Bridge ended the argument.

Leigh: McNally; Clare, Brown, Langi, Dawson; Reynolds, Drinkwater; Tickle, Mortimer, Hansen, Paterson, Vea, Burr. Subs: Higham, Hopkins, Stewart, Richards.

Widnes: Hanbury; Marsh, Bridge, Runciman, Thompson; Mellor, Craven; Buchanan, White, Dudson, Houston, Whitley, Cahill. Subs: D Walker, Gerrard, Manuokafoa, Olbison.

Half-Time: 0-14.

Referee: B Thaler.

Attendance: 6,209.