Widnes Vikings, Select Security Stadium Halton, Lower House Lane, Widnes, Cheshire, WA8 7DZ
Sunday 26th July 2015, 15:00
Super League - Round: 23
Salford Red Devils
Chris Clarkson, Paddy Flynn, Stefan Marsh, Aaron Heremaia,
Niall Evalds, Cory Paterson, Scott Taylor,
Stefan Marsh 2,
Josh Griffin 4,
Attendance: 5,479 Official: R Silverwood Venue: Select Security Stadium Halton
Full Time Report
Widnes Vikings staged a dramatic late fightback to snatch a 21-20 First Utility Super League victory over Salford Red Devils and pip them in the race for ninth place.
The hard-earned victory gives Widnes four home matches in their quest for Super League survival through the qualifiers, which start in a fortnight, with Salford having only three at their AJ Bell Stadium after finishing 11th.
Salford led 20-10 until the last 15 minutes when Widnes levelled with tries from Stefan Marsh and Aaron Heremaia, with the former adding a conversion. Michael Dobson was off target with a drop goal attempt for Salford with three minutes left before Danny Craven slotted over the winning one-pointer.
Widnes were still without talisman Kevin Brown but welcomed back Marsh, with Willie Isa in for the injured Eamon O'Carroll. Salford were strengthened by the return of Rangi Chase and Greg Johnson but left out Theo Fages with Mason Caton-Brown injured.
Widnes, who lost 36-8 at Salford in March, gained revenge with a 38-16 victory in Newcastle on Magic Weekend, but went into the clash having lost six of their last seven matches. Salford had won just three of their previous 14 games with their only away wins this season at Huddersfield Giants and Widnes.
Rhys Hanbury almost gave Widnes an early lead chasing a Joe Mellor kick but was ruled offside. George Griffin should have fired Salford ahead from a Chase pass but spilled the ball under a challenge from Hanbury.
The Widnes relief was short-lived with a precision Chase kick bouncing nicely for Niall Evalds to cross under the posts after 16 minutes with Josh Griffin tagging on the conversion.
The Vikings levelled after Griffin was penalised for a high tackle on Hanbury and Chris Clarkson took Mellor's pass to cross with Marsh converting. Salford regained the lead after 27 minutes when Evalds was obstructed from a Chase kick and Cory Paterson blasted his way through poor defence to make it 12-6.
Salford looked a totally different proposition to the side hammered at Leeds Rhinos last week with Harrison Hansen and Adrian Morley leading the way with some big hits in defence.
The Red Devils held on to a six-point advantage at the break and made it 14-6 when Griffin slotted over a penalty for Macgraff Leuluai's high tackle on Paterson.
Play was held up for several minutes before Craven was taken off in a daze after being injured in a tackle.
Back-to-back penalties for Widnes took its toll on Salford who could not stop Paddy Flynn powering over from Heremaia's inside pass but Marsh missed the straightforward conversion attempt.
Widnes lost Clarkson after a crunching tackle by Morley before a Chase burst set up the chance for Dobson to send Scott Taylor crashing over to stretch the lead to 20-10.
The Vikings refused to concede defeat with Marsh going over from Tim Gilmore's pass after 65 minutes and adding the extras to close the gap to 20-16.
Widnes were playing with more vigour and it was no surprise when Heremaia shot through a tiring defence to level the scores with 11 minutes remaining. Marsh missed the conversion to leave the scores locked at 20-20 before Craven dropped in with his vital one-pointer.