Widnes Vikings returned to winning ways with a 30-20 victory over Sheffield Eagles, climbing the Betfred Championship table ahead of two away trips in a row.
It was a special afternoon for Academy graduate Oliver Brookes as he made his first team debut, coming on from the bench during the second half and making an impact in the middle.
Adam Lawton put in another big display, scoring twice to make it 10 tries in all competitions, while the forward performed well despite missing Matt Cook and Owen Farnworth due to injury.
In the opening exchanges of the contest both sides went set for set, with Widnes having the better chances inside the first 10 minutes.
Their best chance was a result of a break from Lawton, as he raced towards the try line before kicking for himself, but the second rower couldn’t regather before the Sheffield defence.
The Vikings’ breakthrough eventually came after Travis Corion failed to deal with a kick from Danny Craven, and from the resulting set Shane Grady barged his way over from close range to open the scoring on 15 minutes.
Just before the half hour mark the Eagles responded out of nothing, as Joe Lyons found a way through the line before losing possession in the tackle, with Ryan Millar picking up the loose ball and racing the length.
With four minutes of the half remaining, Widnes got themselves back in front as the right edge combined well to break before forcing a goal-line drop-out.
From the resulting set, Paul Clough’s flat pass at the line sent Jack Owens through to within a couple of metres of the line, before Joe Lyons darted through a hole in the defence on the next play to score.
The home side led at the break but the visitors hit back within five minutes of the restart, as a knock on from Owens and an offside penalty was followed by James Glover hitting a short ball and crossing on the left. Widnes still had a two point advantage as the conversion attempt hit the post.
An immediate response followed from the Vikings, as Joe Edge came up with a great carry to advance his side into the Sheffield 40, and on the next play Josh Wilde ran a great line to break and send the supporting Craven over.
Widnes added to their lead soon after when a penalty for offside gave them a repeat set inside the Eagles’ 20, before Lawton carried a number of defenders over the line with him to make it eight tries in as many games.
The back rower went back-to-back on the next set, as Owens returned the kick-off from his own line to the Sheffield 40, which resulted in Lawton racing through a gaping hole to score his tenth of the season.
With 12 minutes of the contest remaining, the Eagles hit back after Connor Bower’s break led to Glover collecting Anthony Thackeray’s kick to score his second.
There was some controversy on the full-time hooter as Lawton was sent-off for a coming together off the ball, with Sheffield having one last play and scoring through Corion.
It was too little too late for the visiting side though, as Widnes picked up a vital two points ahead of back-to-back away games.
Widnes Vikings: Jack Owens, Jayden Hatton, Ste Tyrer, Joe Edge, Deon Cross, Danny Craven, Joe Lyons, Shane Grady, Brad O’Neill, Kenny Baker, Josh Wilde, Adam Lawton, Matty Smith.
Interchanges: Paul Clough, Lewis Else, Will Tilleke, Oliver Brookes.
Tries: Grady, Lyons, Craven, Lawton 2 Goals: Tyrer 5/5
Sheffield Eagles: Ryan Millar, Travis Corion, Connor Bower, James Glover, Rob Worrincy Izaac Farrell, Anthony Thackeray, Bobby Tyson- Wilson, Robbie Ward, Matty James, Evan Hodgson, Oliver Davies, Aaron Brown.
Interchanges: Harry Tyson-Wilson, Blake Broadbent, Paddy Burns, Tyler Dickinson.
Tries: Millar, Glover 2 Goals: Farrell 1/2, Glover 1/1