WIDNES produced a spirited performance but to no avail as they went down 24-19 to Toronto Wolfpack at Halton Stadium.

The Canadian side arrived as the Betfred Championship’s runaway leaders and hot favourites but were given a tremendous run for their money before ultimately coming out on top.

Head coach Kieron Purtill rang the changes after the previous week’s disappointing showing at Halifax.

Ryan Ince was back after injury with Joe Lyons slotting into the halves alongside Danny Craven There was a debut for Warrington loanee Ellis Robson in the second row while Jay Chapelhow and Dan Norman were the starting props with Hep Cahill and Harrison Hansen operating from the bench.

Toronto opened the scoring on seven minutes when ex-Viking Joe Mellor combined with Greg Worthington to send Nick Rawsthorne over.

Widnes hit back when Craven’s attempted last tackle kick ended up in the hands of Lyons who put boot to ball himself and regathered the rebound before putting centre Lloyd Roby over for a six-pointer.

Craven was to the fore again just a couple of minutes later when he sold a couple of outrageous dummies to cross under the posts to make it 12-4 on the half hour.

A couple of errors gifted the Wolfpack field position and Chase Stanley crossed wide out to bring the score back to 12-8 at the interval.

The Canadian side came out breathing fire in the second half and scored from a last tackle play through Bodene Thompson with Nick Rawsthorne missing the kickable conversion to leave the scores level at 12-12.

The visitors now had the bit between their teeth as Widnes struggled to control the speed of the play-the-ball and Darcy Lussick profited to put his side in the lead with Rawsthorne this time accurate from the kicking tee to give his side an 18-12 leadafter 52 minutes.

Toronto were threatening again but a long, loose pass from Jon Wilkin was picked up by Ince who raced 80 metres to the posts to level things up once more on the hour mark.

A Craven 40/20 kick put the Vikings on the front foot again but the killer pass eluded them on this occasion while moments later great cover defence by Ince brought down Gary Wheeler at the other end of the field.

With ten minutes remaining, Josh McCrone fluffed a drop-goal attempt for Toronto and a Thompson knock-on gifted Widnes possession on half-way.

Craven showed McCrone how it was done shortly afterwards when he landed a one-pointer to give his team the lead but the good work was undone when Norman knocked on from the restart and another ex-Viking, Anthony Mullally, crossed from the resulting pressurewith the goal giving the Wolfpack a 24-19 advantage.

Widnes went short from the restart but Toronto gained possession and were able to run down the clock for the victory.

Widnes: Owens; Ince, Dean, Roby, Hatton; Craven, Lyons; J Chapelhow, Johnstone, Norman, Wilde, Robson, Walker. Subs: Cahill, Ganson, T Chapelhow, Hansen.

Toronto: Mellor; Rawsthorne, Worthington, Stanley, Kay; Wilkin, McCrone; Lussick, Ackers, Mullally, Dixon, Thompson, Beswick. Subs: Miloudi, Sims, Olbison, Wheeler.

Half-Time: 12-8 Referee: Mr L Moore Attendance: 3,812