Widnes Vikings 25 Halifax Panthers 6: How Halifax Panthers’ nine-match unbeaten run came to an end

Halifax Panthers saw their nine-match unbeaten run come to an end following a comprehensive 25-6 defeat to Widnes Vikings.

Sunday, 22nd August 2021, 8:27 pm
Ed Barber, the only try scorer for Halifax Panthers in Sunday's 25-6 Championship defeat at Widnes Vikings. Picture: Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.

Ed Barber scored the only Panthers try of the game as the visitors suffered defeat for the first time since May.

Fax got off to a promising start but early errors didn’t allow them to build any momentum. Instead, two consecutive offsides proved costly as Widnes pounced on the mistakes.

Danny Craven was the man who opened the scoring as Widnes moved the ball swiftly from right to left. A clever off-load allowed the player to exploit a gap in Halifax’s defence before crossing in the corner.

Panthers responded well and came close to scoring a try of their own on the 15th-minute mark. A grubber kick from Liam Harris caused the Widnes defence problems as they forced the ball dead.

With Vikings forced into a goal-line drop out, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Fax to build further pressure.

Instead, Vikings played it short and successfully retrieved possession. Deon Cross broke through and looked certain to score until a last-gasp tackle from James Woodburn-Hall stopped him in his tracks.

With 20 minutes on the clock, Fax finally had their try. A brilliant looping pass from Scott Grix allowed James Saltonstall to power down the right flank. The winger was then able to find Barber who touched down to level the scores.

Woodburn-Hall added the extras as Halifax took the lead for the first – and only – time in the contest.

Halifax looked certain to head into the break with a two-point lead in the bag. However, Widnes had other ideas as Ollie Brookes powered over just seconds from the half-time hooter.

The Vikings were able to take full advantage of their repeat sets as Brookes dived over in the corner. A successful conversion from Jack Owens gave the hosts a 10-6 lead at the break.

Errors continued to creep into the game and the Panthers were punished just ten minutes after the restart.

After consecutive forward passes, Halifax turned their attention to defence as Widnes looked to make the visitors pay for their continuous mistakes. Steve Tyrer did just that as he touched down in the corner to move the Vikings further ahead. Successful kick from Owens put the hosts 16-6 in-front.

With five minutes remaining, another offside from Halifax led to more Viking points. This time though, it was just two as Owens converted from the boot.

Widnes added salt into the Halifax wounds when Craven’s drop goal made the score 19-6 and essentially sealed the victory for the home side.

That, however, wasn’t the end. With seconds remaining, Kenny Baker dived under the sticks as the Vikings ended their five-match losing run.

Halifax will be looking to return to winning ways next weekend when they take on bottom-of-the-table Swinton Lions.

Despite their lack of form, the Lions cannot be underestimated as they head into this game on the back of an encouraging 30-26 defeat to the Bradford Bulls.