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Widnes Vikings 22 Warrington Wolves 30
11:30am Thursday 27th December 2012 in Vikings news
VIKINGS lost their Boxing Day derby to a youthful Wolves team at the Stobart Stadium.
Although only six of Wolves’ starting 13 could be considered first-team regulars, that did not prevent the visitors from controlling much of the first half despite some lapses in composure.
Widnes capitalised on a shaky opening from Wolves by taking an immediate lead, Jack Owens pouncing on a mis-fielded grubber kick and converting his own try for a 6-0 advantage.
But Wolves soon established themselves in Widnes territory, with Ryan Shaw and James Mendeika almost combining to level the scores.
It marked the start of a purple patch for Warrington, who forced a goal-line drop out before Garreth Carvell - returning to action after an off-season knee operation - was held up by some scrambling Widnes defence.
The prop forward was not to be denied however, as he charged over Widnes’ line to level the scores after 14 minutes, with former Vikings loan player Gareth O’Brien converting.
Widnes tried their hand at the offload game in the first half, but that tactic came back to bite them when Chris Riley picked off a stray pass and exploded through a gap to send James Mendeika over after some nifty footwork. O’Brien converted for 6-12.
However, Vikings hit back when Danny Craven slipped through a gap on Wolves’ try line to plant the ball down between the posts and give Owens the simple task of adding the extras.
A spectacular Paddy Flynn tackle in the corner then prevented Shaw from a certain try after Ben Currie’s pass had sent the winger through, but Wolves did eventually take a lead into the break after O’Brien’s lovely inside short ball sent Mike Cooper over for their third try of the afternoon.
O’Brien’s goal made it 12-18 to the visitors at the break and eight minutes after the break Currie charged through a gaping hole in Widnes’ defensive line, with the conversion making it 12-24.
What followed was Vikings’ best spell in the game and Wolves’ nerves started to jangle when Craven darted through holes in the scrambling Warrington defence to place the ball next to the posts and give Owens a simple conversion.
Widnes had given away far too many penalties at this stage, conceding 10 to Wolves’ two on the hour mark, but that did not stop them going within a kick of restoring parity after substitute Patrick Ah Van finished neatly in the corner.
The missed conversion meant that Widnes trailed by only two points heading into the final 10 minutes, but Wolves veteran hooker Micky Higham ended any hopes of a comeback, scoring to the right of the sticks with O’Brien gaoling.
Widnes: Owens; Flynn, Marsh, Dean, Isa; Mellor, Gore; Gerrard, Joseph, Kavanagh, Leuluai, Winterstein, Allen. Subs: Phelps, Ah Van, Cahill, Davies, Craven, Gilmore, Hulme.
Wolves: Riley; Williams, R. Evans, Saltonstall, Shaw; Mendeika, O'Brien; Carvell, Higham, Wood, Laithwaite, Currie, Cooper. Subs: Ormsby, Bennion, Dwyer, D. Bridge.