Two tries for Widnes Vikings winger Patrick Ah Van were the key to victory for the Vikings tonight as they defeated St Helens 16-14 at the Select Security Stadium.
St Helens came into this game having won their last seven meetings (three away from home) against Widnes. The Vikings’ last win against the Saints had been 40-26 at home on 21 April, 2014. Saints had an 18-2 advantage in Super League encounters between the two clubs, but on this occasion the Vikings, at the bottom of the league, were just more desperate for their victory.
Widnes’ injuries woes meant that they were without centre Tom Armstrong, hooker Lloyd White and halfback Danny Craven, while they suffered another blow just before kick-off when Chris Bridge pulled out with a groin strain, with coach Denis Betts having to bring Stefan Marsh into the starting lineup.
Saints were still without experienced trio Jonny Lomax, James Roby and Ryan Morgan but were boosted by the availability of ever-present prop forward Kyle Amor, who was not suspended following his dismissal in the 29-18 defeat at Wigan after his charge was downgraded.
In a tightly contested first half the scores were level 12-12 at half-time, after Saints had scored through Theo Fages, while Widnes had tries from Joe Mellor and Ah Van, with Mark Percival and Tom Gilmore converting all the touchdowns.
In the second half the Vikings conceded a penalty, and Percival put Saints 12-14 ahead.
But after youngster Danny Walker won a goal-line drop-out with a great tackle on Adam Swift, the Vikings created the winning try for Ah Van with less than ten minutes remaining.
It was a great result for the Vikings.
Vikings: 1 Rhys Hanbury, 2 Corey Thompson, 17 Stefan Marsh, 4 Charly Runciman, 5 Patrick Ah Van, 6 Joe Mellor (C), 7 Tom Gilmore, 15 Gil Dudson, 31 Jordan Johnstone , 10 Jack Buchanan, 14 Chris Dean, 11 Chris Houston (C), 16 Alex Gerrard, Subs: 12 Matt Whitley, 18 Greg Burke, 23 Jay Chapelhow, 34 Danny Walker
St Helens: 25 Ricky Bailey, 5 Adam Swift, 22 Matty Fleming, 4 Mark Percival, 28 Regan Grace, 6 Theo Fages, 7 Matty Smith, 10 Kyle Amor, 17 Tommy Lee, 19 Greg Richards, 36 Zeb Taia, 12 Jon Wilkin (C), 16 Luke Thompson; Subs: 8 Alex Walmsley, 13 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 19 Dominique Peyroux, 20 Morgan Knowles.
A full report, photos and analysis of this match will feature in Monday’s League Express.