Halifax 26-28 Widnes: Panthers slip to eighth place in Championship table after Vikings edge tight contest at The Shay
Widnes seemed to have a chokehold over the game from the start, with Halifax struggling to get a foot into it.
A first half hat-trick from the Vikings’ man of the match Ryan Ince set out Widnes’ intentions early in the game.
All the pressure came from the Vikings, but two failed conversions out of three by Kieran Dixon meant Halifax were still in contention.
The Panthers only had two attacking opportunities in the Widnes half during the first half and they capitalised on both.
Ben Crooks scored the easiest try he’ll ever score when Louis Jouffret’s high bomb could not be taken in by Dixon.
This was closely followed by Adam Tangata crashing his way over the line for the Panthers’ second try of the half.
Jouffret converted both tries and added a penalty kick a minute before half time to level the scores at 14-14, with all to play for in the second half.
The visitors started the second half with the same intensity as the first, taking the lead early with two penalties in quick succession. Dixon missed the first but made sure he gave his side the lead with his second attempt in front of goal.
Their momentum continued with two tries in quick succession from Danny Craven and Jack Owens.
James Saltonstall dived his way over the line to get Fax back into the game, and the golden boot of Jouffret narrowed the gap to eight points with 20 minutes to go.
The last two minutes of the game had everything to keep the Panthers’ fans on the edge of their seats - Widnes reduced to 12 men with a player in the sin bin and a second try for Crooks on the hooter.
It was a nail-biting end to the game, with the visitors taking the win and leap-frogging Halifax in the league table.
Halifax Panthers: B Pickersgill, L Walmsley, A Sutcliffe, B Crooks, J Saltonstall, L Jouffret, J Keyes, W Calcott, B Moore, D Murray, B Kavanagh, M Gee, J Fairbank. Interchange: A O’Brien, A Tangata, R Lannon, Z McComb.
Widnes Vikings: J Owens, R Ince, M Fleming, J Edge, K Dixon, D Craven, T Gilmore, O Farnworth, M Fozzard, C Field, S Wilde, S Grady, A Brown. Interchange: O Davies, M Roberts, T Forber, T Worthington.