Widnes Vikings climbed off the bottom of the Betfred Championship table with a brilliant 30-12 Good Friday victory over Leigh Centurions at the Halton Stadium.
Calum O’Neill marked his competitive debut with a try, as the Vikings kept their opponents scoreless in the second half to pick up the two points.
Kieron Purtill brought the youngster into the 17 along with Brad Walker, as Chris Dean and Owen Farnworth missed out due to injury.
The home side took just three minutes to open their account, as Danny Craven’s towering bomb forced a repeat set deep inside Leigh’s half. Off the back of that, Joe Lyons found a half break before sending Brad Walker over from close range, with Jack Owens adding the extras.
After creating the first, Lyons scored the second, as Craven’s kick was eventually collected by Anthony Gelling before the centre offloaded to the supporting Lyons. The Vikings halfback ended the move with a brilliant finish in the corner, as Owens matched that with a touchline conversion.
On 18 minutes, Gelling then had a try to his name as a well worked move from the scrum ended in the number four racing through a gaping hole in the defence. Owens was off target this time, as the hosts opened up a 16-0 lead.
Leigh responded eight minutes later, as Greg McNally stepped past Keanan Brand and found Josh Eaves in support, who finished the break to the right of the sticks. Martyn Ridyard added a simple conversion to cut the deficit to 10 points.
An Owens break from a kick return then led to Gelling going close, but he was hauled down short of the try line.
After surviving that scare, the Centurions were in again, this time through Johnny Pownall who was given too much space on the right edge, with the winger scoring in the corner. Ridyard made it a four-point game with the boot.
The Vikings had the final say of the first half, with just two minutes remaining before the hooter, as Jordan Johnstone came up with a great break from dummy half, before flicking a pass out the back to Lyons for him to score his second. Owens’ conversion made it 22-12 at the break.
The second half saw the Vikings come up with some heroic defence, which started almost immediately after the restart.
Some early pressure on the hosts line saw back-to-back penalties give Leigh a fresh set in a dangerous position, only for Sam Freeman to produce a great tackle on McNally to stop a certain try.
Freeman then stopped the same player in his tracks, after the Centurions fullback broke from a knock on before being brought down 40 metres from the try line.
Craven thought he had scored the first points following the break when he latched onto his own chip over the top, only for Pownall to hold him up over the line.
On 62 minutes, Widnes produced a killer blow courtesy of debutant O’Neill, who charged on to Owens’ flat pass to charge over and prove too strong for the Leigh defence. Owens added a simple conversion.
The Vikings dug in for the remainder of the contest, as the Centurions were unable to find a way through, before Owens kicked a 40 metre penalty goal five minutes from time to bring the scoring to an end.