Widnes Vikings 24
Tries: Ah Van 2, Flynn
Goals: Tickle 6/6
Wigan Warriors 10
Tries: Manfredi, Charnley
Goals: Smith 0/2
Widnes Vikings produced a brilliant display in awful conditions on Friday night to stay in the top eight and shock Super League champions Wigan Warriors 24-10.
The Vikings showed no signs of buckling as they took a 14-10 lead into the break and kept the Warriors pointless in an arm wrestle of a second half which they dominated.
Their smaller and more inexperienced forward pack stood up to the test and battled with Wigan from the first minute until the final hooter to earn a well-deserved victory in their last home game of the season.
Wigan were never at their best and were out enthused throughout, which is a bad sign for coach Shaun Wane considering that his team are in the run in to defend their Super League crown.
Widnes came out of the blocks flying and got the game’s first score after they contested a scrum on the Wigan 20 metre line and won the ball back. From the resulting set Kevin Brown produced a trademark cut out pass which found Patrick Ah Van in space out wide as the winger scored.
The Vikings had most of the ball early on and were putting Wigan under huge pressure, so when Danny Tickle opted to kick a penalty goal in good field position soon after the first try it caught many by surprise.
It only took one Vikings set for them to score again though as Matty Smith’s kick off went out on the full and Eamon O’Carroll came up with a good break to set a platform for his side to work with. The lethal combination of Mellor and Brown linked up to find Paddy Flynn with a carbon copy of the pass from the first try to create a score for the opposite winger.
Widnes were in control and could have had a third as Brown tried to find Ah Van again however his pass was too high.
Wigan finally crossed though as they threw the ball out onto their left edge and caught Widnes short with Manfredi crossing for an unconverted try.
They were right back in the game when Widnes knocked on inside their own 20 and Blake Green, who is returning to Australia next season, found Charnley with a perfect cross field kick as he beat Ah Van in the air to score.
Widnes held Wigan out to survive a late onslaught from the Warriors to lead 14-10 at half time.
Wigan were looking for a big response in the second half to keep their League Leaders shield hopes alive but Widnes had other ideas as Brown tried to find Ah Van with a chip into the corner and Charnley fluffed at it, leaving Ah Van with an easy second try.
The sides exchanged blows in the middle of the field before Liam Farrell was lucky to not see red when his late challenge on Mellor caught the halfback high and was punished by only a yellow card.
Widnes kicked another penalty straight after to keep the scoreboard ticking over and frustrate the Warriors who trailed now by 12 points.
Widnes threatened with Rhys Hanbury making breaks at will but it was Danny Tickle who took the lead from two tries to three with his 40 metre penalty goal.
Wigan threw everything they could at Widnes but the deteriorating weather contributed to an error filled second half with the Vikings defending their line brilliantly.
They ground out the rest of the game to secure a famous 24-10 victory which sees them go four points clear of Hull KR in the race for the top eight.