Two tries in the last six minutes gave Widnes their third successive victory but they were made to fight all the way by a plucky Thunder side.
Despite missing seven players and having to make positional changes, Widnes got off to an encouraging start and they were soon on the scoreboard. The tactic of kicking to winger Owen Buckley paid dividends once again as he climbed to palm the ball back and Jake Alder was in the right place to score. A Newcastle try was ruled out before Widnes scored their second four pointer when Jayden Hatton chimed into the line to go over. Chris Wilson converted to give the home side a 10-0 lead.
Widnes had a try ruled out but gradually Thunder began to increase in confidence and hooker Owen Reed burrowed over from close range. Daniel Coates converted and Thunder then had further opportunities to score but a mixture of good defence and errors ensured they didn't add to their score. Just before the break Joe Lyons found Buckley with another high kick and this time the winger went over to give Widnes a half time lead of 14-6.
It didn't take long for Thunder to reduce the arrears as Widnes knocked on and Coates jinked his way through the home defence. He converted his own try and with only two points separating the sides, Newcastle piled on the pressure. They looked certain to score again but Owen Buckley intercepted close to his own line and went 90 metres to score his second try. Lewis Else converted to make it 20-12. A couple of penalties saw Widnes deep in Thunder territory and Ben Davies went over for his side's fifth try and with a 12 point advantage it looked like Widnes were in control.
However the winless Thunder fought back again and a great break down the middle by David Weetman saw the prop forward offload to the supporting Ryan Jones who scored under the posts. Coates converted and at 24-18 the game was in the balance. An attempted drop goal by Lyons went wide but a needless forward pass by Thunder, deep in their own half, gave Widnes a great opportunity and they didn't waste it. Calum O'Neill scored the try that ensured victory and minutes later Chris Wilson gave the scoreline a somewhat flattering look when he went over for Widnes' seventh try. He converted both scores as the young Vikings made six wins from ten.
Jayden Hatton, Jake Knox, Ben Davies, Jake Alder, Owen Buckley, Joe Lyons, Chris Wilson, Pat McCarroll, Jake Burns, Luke Draper, Dan Norman, Dan King, Louis Glover.
SUBS: Lewis Else, James Rutledge, Calum O'Neill, Max Dudley.
Tries: Buckley 2, Alder, Davies, Hatton, O'Neill, Wilson.
Goals: Wilson 3/4, Else 1/3
Jack Quinn, Kieran Hudson, Adam Bielby, Mark McCallan, Lewis Burbidge O'Flaherty, Daniel Coates, Cai Ellis, David Weetman, Owen Reed, Alexander Rae, Jed Charlton, Christopher Paterson, Ryan Jones,
SUBS: Oliver Gowing, Sam Stephenson, Joseph Smith Millican, Tory Nettleton.
Tries: Coates, Jones, Reed.
Goals: Coates 3/3