Widnes Vikings booked their place in the Sixth Round of the Coral Challenge Cup with a hard fought 32-16 victory over Swinton Lions at the DCBL Stadium.
The two sides were level at the break, but a strong second 40 from the hosts saw them run in a further four scores to secure the win.
Tim Sheens handed Lewis Hulme his debut for the Vikings, as he stepped up from the Reserves to replace Logan Tomkins. Lloyd Roby returned to the 17 in the only other change from last week, with Owen Farnworth missing out.
Widnes opened the scoring after five minutes, as the ball was shipped right through hands where Jake Spedding found space to break the line, dummying the fullback on his way to the try line.
On 10 minutes the visitors hit back, as they advanced into the Vikings half off the back of a penalty which led to Michael Butt chiming into the line and racing over in the corner.
Spedding did his best to force the fullback into touch, but in attempting to save a try he picked up an injury which forced him to leave the field.
Swinton took the lead seven minutes later, as Luke Waterworth fired a flat pass to Lewis Hatton which saw the front rower duck under a tackle from close range to score under the crossbar.
The hosts were looking to reply with a try of their own when a penalty resulted in good field position, however Jack Johnson was forced into touch on the left edge as he looked for a route to the whitewash.
Swinton came up with three errors in a row coming out of their own half, the third of which presented a golden opportunity for the Vikings just 10 metres from the try line. The Lions weren’t punished though, as an early knock on in the resulting set saved their blushes.
A great break through the middle from Deon Cross put the home side on the front foot, and on that occasion Widnes made no mistake as Johnson showed enough strength to finish a scrappy move out wide.
The first half came to a frantic end, as a forward pass from Shane Grady gave the away side a chance to attack the Widnes try line. Swinton managed to force a goal-line drop-out as the home defence scrambled to contain their opponents, with the hooter sounding before they could complete the repeat set.
Half-time: Widnes Vikings 10-10 Swinton Lions
Five minutes into the second half the Vikings had the first half-chance after the break, as Wilde showed good footwork to get through a tackle where he looked to find Joe Edge in support. The back-rower spilled the ball under pressure though to give Swinton a scrum inside their own 30.
After losing Spedding early in the contest, Widnes were dealt another blow on 62 minutes when Grady had to leave the field for a concussion assessment after taking a knock to the head.
Jack Hansen came up with a costly error soon after, as he kicked the ball out on the full when attempting a 40/20 and then gave away a penalty from the resulting scrum. The Vikings then hit the front as Kenny Baker raced onto a short pass from Jack Owens to cross the whitewash for a four-pointer.
Back-to-back penalties from the restart gave the hosts a simple shot at goal, as Owens added two-points to the score-line to make it a six-point game.
Swinton then over-played inside their own 10 when Butt forced an offload after returning a kick, and from the resulting set MacGraff Leuluai charged onto a pass at the line from Matty Smith to score his first try of the season.
With 12 minutes left of the contest the Lions hit back, as Rhodri Lloyd broke the defensive line and headed towards the try line, with Butt eventually crossing for his second of the game in support.
The game remained in the balance as it headed towards the final stages, but a brilliant play from Baker saw the forward come up with a one-on-one steal. That led to Deon Cross keeping up his record of scoring in every game he’s played for the Vikings, as the ball was shipped out to the right edge.
Swinton went short with the restart and regathered possession, but couldn’t take advantage as the Vikings defence stood tall.
With a minute of the game remaining, the hosts made sure of their victory when Johnson broke down the left-wing before sending Joe Lyons over in support, securing his side’s place in the Sixth Round of the Coral Challenge Cup.
Full-time: Widnes Vikings 32-16 Swinton Lions
Widnes Vikings: Joe Lyons, Jack Johnson, Joe Edge, Jake Spedding, Deon Cross, Matty Smith, Jack Owens, Ted Chapelhow, Lewis Hulme, Pat Moran, Sam Wilde, Shane Grady, Kenny Baker.
Interchanges: Lloyd Roby, Jay Chapelhow, MacGraff Leuluai, Callum Wood.
Tries: Spedding (5), Johnson (37), Baker (56), Leuluai (62), Cross (74), Lyons (79) Goals: Owens 4/7
Swinton Lions: Michael Butt, Richard Lepori, Sam Grant, Mitchell Cox, Brandon Wood, Jack Hansen, Robert Fairclough, Gavin Bennion, Luke Waterworth, Lewis Hatton, Rhodri Lloyd, Frankie Halton, Will Hope.
Interchanges: Billy Brickhill, Louis Brogan, Oscar Thomas, Ben Morris.
Tries: Butt (10, 68), Hatton (17) Goals: Hansen 2/3