Widnes Vikings fell to an eighth consecutive defeat in all competitions on Friday night as they were beaten 6 – 19 by Wakefield Trinity at the Select Security Stadium.
First half tries from Pauli Pauli, Tom Johnstone and David Fifita were enough to secure the two competition points for Wakefield, who have struggled in recent weeks.
It was the Vikings who were first on the score board as ten minutes into the game, the Trinity defence gave away a needless penalty on their own try line which was easily converted by winger Stefan Marsh for a two point lead.
From then on, however, Widnes were architects of their own downfall and whilst Wakefield were poor themselves, they took advantage of the field position that was handed to them.
Pauli Pauli scored the opening try, after Widnes knocked on in their own 30m area, as he forced his way to the line and, despite the attention of four defenders, somehow grounded the ball to give Wakefield the lead. James Batchelor converted.
Another Widnes error allowed Wakefield the chance to attack and a smart ball from Jacob Miller out wide to Tom Johnstone allowed the winger a free run to the corner to dive in for a try on his return to the side.
The Vikings continued to shoot themselves in the foot as interchange prop forward David Fifita strolled through the line for an easy score after Widnes made another mistake bringing the ball out from their own line.
The only cheer of the night for the home side was for Patrick Ah Van’s try early in the second half. A Joe Mellor kick near the line ricocheted between legs and found Ah Van on the wing who touched down in the corner.
The try gave some impetus to the Widnes performance and on the front thought they had scored a second try through Widnes’ best player on the night, Ed Chamberlain.
The centre looked to have scored after picking up a loose ball and racing in but referee Robert Hicks deemed the centre to be held up after a fantastic tackle by Max Jowitt, much to the dismay of the Widnes fans in that corner of the ground.
The scoring for evening wasn’t completed as Batchelor added a penalty goal to his two successful conversions and Miller secured all two points with a drop goal four minutes from time.
The defeat tonight and Hull KR’s subsequent win against Wigan means Widnes find themselves at the foot of the table whilst Wakefield move four points clear of the bottom four.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Will Widnes win again this season?
Recent performances against Leeds and St Helens gave a glimmer of what Widnes fans can expect when their side can compete, but performances against Huddersfield and Wakefield here have been so abject, it begs the question, will Widnes win again this season?
The Vikings have five away fixtures to contend with after tonight’s showing, the first in Perpignan in two weeks time. Should Denis Betts still be in a job come June 9th in the South of France, his side have to shown signs of improvement otherwise a third wooden spoon in seven years is on the cards.
Wakefield out of their rut?
Wakefield had been experiencing similar on-field results to Widnes of late but tonight, despite not playing to the standards Chris Chester has set in the last few seasons, they were professional enough to get the job done without being really tested.
The performance will still be a concern for Chester as a better side on the night may have beaten Trinity, but most importantly they go home with two points and pull themselves away from the bottom four scrap they were on the edge of getting drawn into.
Man Of The Match – Tom Johnstone (Wakefield Trinity)
The Wakefield winger caused Widnes problems all night with his performance on the left wing. He took his try well diving in the corner with onrushing defenders looking to put him in the stands but his overall game was fantastic tonight.
He looked secure under the high ball and with ball in hand was elusive and tough to tackle, making a couple of good breaks to put Wakefield in some good field position.
His break in the second half from his own try line, weaving through the Widnes line before being brought down 80 meters up field by Ah Van and Marsh was a highlight.
Widnes Vikings – 6
Tries: Ah Van
Drop Goals: n/a
Wakefield Trinity – 19
Tries: Pauli, Johnstone, Fifita
Goals: Batchelor (3)
Drop Goals: Miller
Widnes Vikings: Craven, Ah Van, Runciman, Chamberlain, Marsh, Mellor, Heremaia, Burke, Johnstone, Chapelhow, Whitley, Wilde, Cahill
Interchanges – Leuluai, Wellington, Olbison, Walker
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Jones-Bishop, Tupou, Lyne, Johnstone, Miller, Hampshire, Hirst, Randell, England, Horo, Pauli, Batchelor
Interchanges – Annakin, Arona, Fifita, Wood
Referee: R. Hicks