WIDNES Vikings suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season when they went down 34-22 to Featherstone Rovers at the Chris Moyles Stadium.

The root cause of the Vikings latest defeat could probably be found in their first-half performance.

Time and again sloppy handling meant they were unable to build pressure on the Rovers line.

Conversely, the home side largely completed their sets and came up with a good kicking game, which kept the Vikings on the back foot.

Widnes also struggled in the goalkicking department, converting just one of their five tries while Featherstone skipper Stuart Dickens booted seven goals to go with his side's five touchdowns.

On the positive side, young fullback Scott Yates showed plenty of zest on his return to the starting line-up and French prop Adel Fellous impressed on his debut with some powerful bursts after coming off the bench.

Featherstone started the game in determined fashion and took an early lead through a Dickens penalty, but Widnes hit the front for the first and last time when Iain Morrison crashed in from close range.

Rovers regained the lead on 20 minutes when ex-Viking Andy Kain followed up a Paul Handforth grubber-kick to touch down at the posts and another Dickens penalty made it 10-4.

Excellent work by Dean Gaskell saw him put Yates over in the corner with an inside pass to get Widnes back within two points, but Kain's second score just before the interval gave Rovers a 16-8 cushion.

That became 22-8 early in the second half when winger Waine Price profited from a lucky rebound on last tackle to score out wide.

Cue the Vikings fightback as first Ian Hardman crashed in wide on the right and then Lee Paterson hit a John Duffy pass at pace to slice through the home defence.

Unfortunately, neither conversion was landed, but Widnes were back in the hunt at 22-16.

Yet another Dickens penalty pushed Rovers further clear and Widnes were denied a score when Dean Gaskell was adjudged to have put a foot in touch as he went for the corner.

It proved crucial as Featherstone went up the other end and another ex-Widnes man, centre Andy Kirk breezed in from 30 metres.

Vikings second row Danny Hill showed great determination to force his way in with eight minutes to go and Steve McCormack's men finally landed a conversion through Yates.

However, the last-ditch rescue act never materialised and Rovers rounded things off with a Sean Hesketh score.

With Dickens now in the sin-bin, the conversion was missed which at least left the Vikings a bonus point.

Widnes: Yates (1t,1g); Gaskell, Hardman (1t), Donoghue, Dodd; Paterson (1t), Duffy; Morrison (1t), Smith, Gannon, Hill (1t), Noone, Beswick. Subs: Roper, Fellous, Draper, Kavanagh.