WIDNES ran out comfortable enough winners in the end but were given a run for their money by a committed Whitehaven outfit at the DCBL Stadium.

It was only in the latter stages that the score blew out to 40-16 which did nothing to flatter the visitors’ efforts.

Vikings boss Tim Sheens made several changes from the side that lost at Dewsbury seven days earlier with Matty Smith, Joe Edge and Shane Grady back in the starting line-up.

Stand-off Danny Craven was out with injury so Jack Owens moved into the halves with Joe Lyons stepping in at fullback.

Widnes dominated the early field position but were perhaps guilty of going wide too early with the Whitehaven defence shuffling across and nullifying the threat.

It was the visitors who took the lead with almost their first attack of the game on 10 minutes after Vikings winger Jack Johnson had been bundled into touch near his own tryline.

A high bomb saw Haven outcompete Widnes in the air and winger Andrew Bulman profited as he went over wide out to make it 4-0.

The visitors created a couple more chances but the Vikings held out before three consecuitive penalties piggy-backed them upfield.

Widnes opened their account when a Matty Smith short ball sent substitute Ted Chapelhow over from close range as he stretched out of a tackle. Jack Owens’ conversion made it 6-4.

Impressive Haven stand-off Karl Dixon levelled things up with a simple penalty after Logan Tomkins was guilty of holding down in the tackle and five minutes before half-time the Cumbrian side took the lead when Widnes failed to deal with a chip through the defensive line and Dixon finished off, selling an outrageous dummy en route.

Just when it looked like the Vikings would go into the dressing rooms trailing, Lyons ghosted through in the opposition ‘20’ and fed Sam Wilde who crossed to the left of the posts with Owens goal securing a 12-10 half-time lead. The early stages of the second half were evenly fought but a couple of errors in their own red zone by Haven put the Vikings on the front foot but the visitors defence held out.

The dam was broken on 53 minutes when right winger Deon Cross made a superb break after fielding a downtown kick and from the next play Owen Farnworth broke through and offloaded smartly for Lyons to cross under the posts.

On the hour mark Lyons went in for his second try when he was on the end of a set move with Wilde supplying the inside pass. Owens added the extras to give his side a 24-10 lead.

Any notion the visitors might throw in the towel were quickly dispelled as Dixon sliced through from 20 metres for a well deserved solo six-pointer.

The nerves of Widnes fans were eased when Haven allowed the restart to go dead and from the resulting pressure centre Jake Spedding did well to put Cross over for a converted try.

With the Cumbrians visibly tiring and making errors as they tried to get back into the contest Widnes added two late tries.

The first was a long range effort with Owens’ clean break carried on by Wilde with Edge finishing off by the sticks and it was quickly followed after a Whitehaven pass was intercepted and Kenny Baker gave Owens an easy run-in to complete the scoring at 40-16.

Widnes: Lyons; Cross, Spedding, Edge, Johnson; Owens, Smith; T Chapelhow, Tomkins, Moran, Wilde, Grady, Baker. Subs: Wood, J Chapelhow, Leuluai, Farnworth.

Whitehaven: Forrester; Thompson, Parker, Mossop, Bulman,; Dixon, Phillips; Shackley, Dowsett, Thackray, Phillips, Gillam, Wilkinson. Subs: Holliday, Kelly, Bradley, Walker.

Half-time: 12-10 Referee: Mr B Pearson Attendance: 2,977