By Rachel Arnett (image by Bob Brough – gallery posted on club Facebook page)
After four unanswered tries in the first half the Wire pulled back in the latter stages of the second half to finish the game just four points shy of Widnes who took the festive spoils.
A penalty to the Vikings on five minutes gave them the advantage 10 metres out and they converted that into points as Ashall found the gap to score. Gilmore with the conversion. 6-0
The Wire then looked to create some opportunities, errors close to the line while keeping the ball alive denying the points.
On 15 minutes, new signing Bryson Goodwin took a big hit, and once checked over walked from the field of play. The Wire were then down to 12 men on 17 minutes when Westwood was sent to the sin bin, pulled up for the way he fended off in the tackle.
The home side took advantage of the man down and Ashall scored his second, with Gilmore converting. 12-0
A grubber kick to the in-goal from Patton as the half hour mark approached, just skipped out of play and it was to be the Vikings who were over again next. A break from Ashall down the middle gave them the field position and play moved to the left where Marsh crossed in the corner, no extras were added on this occasion. 16-0
Just three minutes later with just two until the break, a kick from Gilmore was collected by Buckley after a neat jump to score. Again the conversion was missed. 20-0 at the break.
The second half started like the first with Widnes crossing for the first points.
On 44 minutes Brand crossed to extend the lead to 26-0. Both sides then created a few chances to be denied close to the line. But on 58 minutes Jack Johnson found space to score; Livett added the conversion. 26-6
Pinder came close soon after, pulled back for a penalty the play before, and on 67 minutes Toby King was over for his first of two. Widnes failed to collect from the kick on the last and King was the first to react to the loose ball to score. No conversion 26-10
The swing in momentum continued as on 72 minutes King was over again down the left edge for Livett to convert; just 10 points in it.
With two minutes left on the clock Moran forced his way over under the sticks for an easy two points for Patton; 26-22.
The clock may have beaten the Wire but the fightback was there.
Olly Ashall, Keanan Brand, Ed Chamberlain, Stefan Marsh, Owen Buckley, Joe Mellor, Tom Gilmore, Greg Burke, Jordan Johnstone, Jay Chapelhow, Chris Dean, Matt Whitley, Brad Walker
Subs: Lloyd Roby, Sam Walters, Dan Norman, Sam Freeman, Joe Lyons, Ted Chapelhow, Tom Olbison, Danny Walker, Sam Wilde, Owen Farnworth
Tries: Ashall (2), Marsh, Buckley, Brand
Goals: Gilmore (3)
Jack Johnson, Matty Russell, Bryson Goodwin, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Harvey Livett, Declan Patton, Mike Cooper, Morgan Smith, George King, Joe Philbin, Luis Johnson, Ben Westwood
Subs: Pat Moran, Ellis Robson, Joe Pilling, Brad Pinder, Mitch Brown
Tries: J Johnson, T King (2), Moran
Goals: Livett (2), Patton
17mins: Westwood sin bin
“It was a game of two halves. It was disappointing at the start of the game, especially that first 40 minutes…It was good to get the first friendly in; that’s what trial games are for to see the things you need to improve on, and certainly a few areas showed up tonight. We’ll be working extremely hard to get that right. I thought we went out in the second half, found our way, got back in the groove and played some reasonable footy in the second half to get back in the fight.
“In the second stage of the second half we were starting to change things; started to get in the fight and change the momentum of the game but we didn’t display that at the start which will be addressed.
“Everything’s about ruck speed in today’s game and if you can’t control ruck speed you’re always on the back foot and you get what you deserve. We know where we need to improve, that’s what friendlies are for. We have an opportunity to get it right in other friendlies against Rochdale and Salford..we can definitely build from that.
“It was a good opportunity for a lot of the younger guys who have only played a couple of academy games to get exposed in a first team trial. It is good for them and I’m sure they’ll take a lot of lessons out of that game.”
On Goodwin: “I couldn’t really get a good view it looked pretty fair to me; contact is contact, it’s one of those unfortunate things where he got knocked out but he’ll be okay.”
On Toby King: “A bit of a split across the cheek but a couple of stitches and he’ll be fine.”