Super League: Widnes Vikings hand second Easter defeat to St Helens
Last Updated: 21/04/14 6:34pm
Rhys Hanbury: scored two of Widnes' seven tries
Widnes recovered from their Good Friday derby-day blip by recording their first home victory over St Helens in the Super League era.
Denis Betts' side were humbled 44-6 by Warrington a few days ago but that was soon forgotten as the Vikings bounced back in style, running in seven tries against Nathan Brown's men to clinch a 40-26 win.
St Helens started the Super League season with eight straight wins but have now surrendered top spot in the table to Leeds Rhinos after a pair of Easter defeats.
Both coaches tinkered with their line-ups following the respective defeats to Warrington and Wigan, but it did not detract from an exciting encounter at the Select Security Stadium.
It was the Vikings who started impressively - a total contrast to what happened on Good Friday - and they were 12-0 up after only 12 minutes.
First, Rhys Hanbury touched down after Kevin Brown opened up Saints on the left-hand side, and it was his timely pass to Danny Galea that gave Hanbury the space to sprint over.
Danny Tickle slotted the conversion and it was all Widnes at this stage as Brown began to turn the screw. Tickle went close himself with a barge over from close range but the Saints defenders were up to the task.
Chris Dean thought he had scored as he romped in from 20 metres, but he was hauled back by referee James Childs for a knock on in back play.
However the Vikings got the try they were searching for on 21 minutes as Jack Owens chimed into the line and passed to Cameron Phelps who sent in Willie Isa for a spectacular effort out wide.
Tickle added the extras but that sparked a Saints revival and, off the back of a massive Andre Savelio charge, the visitors crossed in the corner through Samoan international Sia Soliola.
But the Vikings replied in typical fashion and a bullet pass from Lloyd White sent Alex Gerrard under the sticks.
Widnes should have been further in front two minutes later as Phelps broke through but he passed inside to no support.
Saints then sprang into action and two tries in two minutes soon followed.
Mose Masoe bulldozed his way in, but not before Isa had sent him rocking with a bone-crunching effort, and veteran Paul Wellens was on the shoulder of Josh Jones to score.
It was nicely poised at 18-16 at the break and Widnes extended their lead four minutes after the restart as Hanbury dummied his way over.
Saints had some decent passages of play but Widnes remained in confident mood and on 55 minutes they began to think they could close the match out as Paddy Flynn finished off in style after some good work by Dean.
Tickle added the conversion but Saints came back through Lance Hohaia and the rampaging Savelio and somehow Tommy Makinson grounded the ball out wide to put them right back in it at 28-20.
Former Saints man Dean was held up over the line as Widnes tried to hit back and he eventually got his reward on the next set as he powered over out wide.
Tickle made it 34-20 with 12 minutes remaining and that was reduced to eight as Hohaia touched down with Makinson's conversion leaving a thrilling finish.
The visitors threw everything at the Vikings but Widnes absorbed it and Macgraff Leuluai made very certain of the points at the end.