DESPITE a spirited effort, suffered their fourth defeat in the Qualifiers as they went down 16-6 to Leeds Rhinos at Halton Stadium.

Widnes boss Francis Cummins gave a Super League debut to Academy product Joe Lyons at stand-off to partner Liam Finn in the halves.

Joe Mellor dropped back to fullback to accommodate Lyons and Kiwi forward Charlie Gubb was back after injury to operate from the bench.

Lyons made a confident start and forced a drop-out with a well weighted kick but an error in the subsequent set of six let Leeds off the hook.

Both sides enjoyed spells of pressure on the opposition line but couldn’t find the killer play to get them over it.

It took until the 33rd minute for a score to come and inevitable it came from an error.

A stray pass was scooped up Rhinos scrum-half Richie Myler in his own ‘20’ and he fed the speedy Luke Briscoe who crossed for a breakaway try. Liam Sutcliffe made a hash of the conversion attempt.

With the crowd getting behind them, the Vikings hit back three minutes before half-time when impressive substitute Tom Olbison powered onto a Liam Finn pass to cross to the left of the posts. Krisnan Inu to give Widnes a 6-4 lead at the break.

The Vikings dominated in terms of possession and field-position early in the second half and forced three goalline drop-outs.

Krisnan Inu looked a certain scorer having plucked a Finn cross-kick out of the air but lost the ball as he tried to ground it in the Leeds in-goal.

The Rhinos delivered a sucker punch on 55 minutes when a Sutcliffe 40/20 set up the position for Matt Parcell to scamper over from dummy-half for a six-pointer which put the visitors into a 10-6 lead.

Multiple sets on the Leeds line came to an abrupt end when Weller Hauraki was harshly oenalised for shoving a Rhinos player at the play-the-ball.

Widnes went close when Mellor scythed through but he was stopped just short of the tryline with nine minutes remaining.

An intelligent Lyons kick was scooped up by Inu but Patrick Ah Van couldn’t hold the subsequent pass and the chance went begging.

With less than three minutes on the clock, and once more against the run of play, Leeds broke away through Sutcliffe and his inside pass found the fast-supporting Myler. The conversion wrapped up the vital two Qualifiers points at 16-6.

Leeds: Walker; T Briscoe, Keinhorst, Moon, L Briscoe; Sutcliffe, Myler; Crosby, Dwyer,Singleton, Jones-Buchanan, Ferres, Thompson. Subs: Parcell, Peteru, Smith, Walters.

Widnes: Mellor; Ah Van, Inu, Runciman; Buckley; Finn; Lyons, Finn; Chapelhow, White, Houston, Hauraki, Hansen, Leuluai., Dean, Subs: D Walker, Olbison, Gubb, Wilde.

Half-time: 6-4 Referee: Mr C Kendall Attendance: 4,050