Widnes Vikings fell to a second defeat in a row, as Liam Finn’s drop-goal was the difference in a 25-24 loss to Dewsbury Rams.
It is the first time the Vikings have lost back-to-back games this season, and also the first home defeat they have suffered in 2019.
Kieron Purtill welcomed Danny Craven, Owen Farnworth and Harrison Hansen back to the matchday squad, replacing Ben Davies, Jayden Hatton and the injured Anthony Gelling.
Dewsbury opened the scoring after just seven minutes, as Daniel Igbinedion broke from deep inside his own half before being dragged down short of the try line. Craven held on in the tackle too long meaning he was sent to the sin bin, and from the resulting set Luke Hooley dummied over from close range.
Ryan Ince limped from the field on 14 minutes, meaning Lloyd Roby had to make the switch to wing with Sam Wilde becoming his centre.
Moments before the Vikings halfback returned to the field, the Rams extended their advantage as Igbinedion was quickest to react to Brad Walker’s knock-on, racing 70 metres to score. Finn was on target with the conversion attempt from in front.
The Vikings were off the mark on 19 minutes, as straight from a scrum Jack Owens found a hole in the defensive line to race over before converting his own effort.
On the half hour mark, Tom Garratt broke straight through the middle on the last tackle before finding Adam Ryder in support, who in turn passed possession on to Andrew Gabriel for him to finish the move.
A quickfire double from the home side ensured they would go into the break ahead though, with the first coming after back-to-back penalties gave the Vikings great field position. They took full advantage, as Owens barged over for his second.
With the final play of the first half he completed his hat-trick, as Hooley spilled a Craven bomb which was touched down by Owens to edge Widnes in front at half-time.
It took 15 minutes for the Vikings to have an attack of any significance, as Sam Freeman was forced into touch before diving over out wide.
Dewsbury scored the first points of the half on a minute later, as a penalty helped them work their way into the Vikings half, where a short side play ended in Gabriel producing a diving finish for his second of the afternoon. Finn’s missed conversion attempt left the scores level at 18-18.
13 minutes from time, Craven marked his return to action with a try after Wilde won a penalty following a great carry into the Dewsbury half. The Vikings halfback used the repeat set to shrug off an attempted tackle and dot the ball down next to the posts.
The scores were level again on the 74th minute, as Simon Brown’s grubber wasn’t dealt with by Owens and Craven, leading to Finn pouncing on the ball under the sticks. He converted his own effort to make it 24-24.
Then, with only three minutes remaining, Finn knocked over a field-goal to secure a famous victory for the Rams, with the Vikings failing in their attempts to snatch a win in the dying moments.