WIDNES briefly threatened a second half fightback before exiting the Co-Operative National League One play-offs with a 32-16 defeat at Halifax.

In the end, the margin of victory may have slightly flattered the home side but in truth it was their greater firepower in attack which always looked likely to carry the day.

The Vikings, not for the first time this season, failed to capitalise often enough during the periods when they had field position.

The first half was a case in point.

Steve McCormack's men had plenty of possession deep in Halifax territory but only came up with one score when Gavin Dodd leapt high to collect a Matty Smith cross-kick.

With Steve Tyrer adding the conversion, it gave the Vikings a 6-4 advantage after 28 minutes and they seemed to be taking a degree of control over proceedings.

However, the last five minutes of the opening period proved disastrous.

First an attempted Matty Smith grubber kick was blocked and speedy Halifax scrum-half Ben Black picked up the ricochet and raced 80 metres for his second try of the game.

Then with the hooter imminent, a Graham Holroyd 40/20 set up the position which saw Fax substitute Mark Flanagan charge over to make it 16-6 at the interval.

Widnes were hit by another sucker-puch early in the second period when Flanagan was again on hand to collect Black's short kick and plunge over.

It certainly seemed to spark the Vikings into action.

Several minutes of pressure on the home line eventually saw Bob Beswick's cut-out pass put Dodd over for his second try of the evening with Tyrer converting.

On 52 minutes, Beswick was again the provider as Tyrer powered over from 15 metres to bring Widnes back within a converted score at 22-16.

The Vikings had chances to exert further pressure on their opponents line but a series of handling errors let Halifax off the hook.

When Halifax got to the other end, another piece of Black magic saw him send powerful second row Paul Smith bulldozing through for a try with Holroyd's goal making it 28-16.

Substitute Adel Fellous went close to pulling a score back for Widnes but was penalised for a double-movement and it proved to be the Vikings last real throw of the dice.

Widnes never stopped trying but two late penalties from Holroyd sealed matters.

The fans who'd travelled across the Pennines stayed behind to clap their team off and no doubt most of them will be back to see them push for honours in 2009.

Widnes: Hardman; Gaskell, Hartley, Tyrer (1t,2g), Dodd (2t); Duffy, Matty Smith; Morrison, Mark Smith, Gannon, Dean, Fletcher, Beswick. Subs: Noone, McLoughlin, Morton, Fellous.