Hull FC withstood a Widnes comeback for a 31-24 win. Here’s our verdict…
Hull FC withstood an impressive Widnes Vikings comeback to seal a 31-24 win at the KCOM Stadium.
Hull made a dominant start to the game and were in front within six minutes, as Liam Harris’ kick was spilled in the in goal by Patrick Ah Van to allow Albert Kelly to touch down.
They got their second try with a good move left, which was finished by Hakim Miloudi’s run inside past a soft defence to get to the line.
It looked like it would be routine for the Black and Whites when they then added a third score, as Harris found a gap in the Vikings defence and sprinted straight through for an impressive solo try from the youngster.
Widnes had struggled in the opening half an hour but finished the half strongly, with Joe Mellor breaking and finding Charly Runciman to put their first points on the board.
With a minute of the half to go they narrowed the deficit further, as Owen Buckley rose highest to beat Miloudi to a cross-field kick and celebrate his debut with a try that brought his side to within four points.
Their momentum continued into the second half as they took the lead for the first time five minutes after the restart. The ball was moved left and Sam Wilde managed to stretch and reach the line.
Hull were back in front just a couple of minutes later though, as Connor looked to break before finding Carlos Tuimavave, and the centre had the legs to sprint from halfway and make it to the line.
Widnes wouldn’t give in, and regained the lead when, following great defensive efforts to keep out Weller Hauraki and Matt Whitley, Jay Chapelhow managed to go over.
Connor brought things level with a penalty, and then added a drop goal to put FC one point in front.
It looked set for a nervy finish, but Hull got the winning try with eight minutes to go as Albert Kelly’s long pass found Bureta Faraimo to go over in the corner.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
Fight left in Widnes
Widnes are on a club record losing run and few will have given them hope of ending that here, but they showed great fight to push Hull FC to the wire.
To do so from 16-0 down, having been completely dominated in the first 30 minutes, is even more impressive, and suggests that interim coach Francis Cummins still has a squad with good spirit.
It proved not to be enough as Hull took the win late on, but with that effort there are still reasons for hope that the Vikings can pick up the points in the Qualifiers that they need to retain their Super League status.
Hull struggle to victory
It looked like it would be a routine evening for the Black and Whites after a half hour that they totally dominated, but the forward pack struggled after that against a motivated Widnes side.
There was just about enough quality to get them over the line in the end, but it will be a worry for Lee Radford that his side let their foot off the gas.
Both sides made a lot of errors but it should be Hull that are most disappointed, and there will need to be improvements if they want to keep challenging for a top four place.
Man of the Match – Jake Connor (Hull FC)
Buoyed by his standout performance for England in Denver last weekend, Connor took control of the game as the key pivot from centre to get his club side over the line.
The club announced his new contract until 2021 a few hours before kick-off, and his performance showed how important a player he has become for Hull this season.
His kicking kept them in control in the first half, and although he only recorded one assist for Tuimavave’s try he was involved in more and was key to their attacking shape, as well as kicking the goals and an impressive drop goal that edged the game back in their direction.
Hull FC 31
Tries: Kelly, Miloudi, Harris, Tuimavave, Faraimo
Goals: Connor (5)
Drop Goals: Connor
Widnes Vikings 24
Tries: Runciman, Buckley, Wilde, J Chapelhow
Goals: Inu (4)
Drop Goals: n/a
Hull FC: Shaul; Faraimo, Connor, Tuimavave, Miloudi; Kelly, Harris; Taylor, Houghton, Paea; Manu, Minichiello, Hadley.
Interchanges: Washbrook, Fash, Logan, Matongo.
Widnes Vikings: Hanbury; Ah Van, Runciman, Inu, Buckley; Mellor, Craven; J Chapelhow, Heremaia, Dudson; Wilde, Hauraki, Olbison.
Interchanges: Leuluai, Whitley, Walker, Gerrard.
Referee: Greg Dolan