WIDNES produced a real ‘backs-to-the-wall’ job to win 30-13 against a Rochdale side who have had something of a mini-revival of late.
However, they were unable to prevent Widnes from securing another outstanding win to maintain their challenge at the top of North One West.
It is fair to say, that Lee McDermott’s side were up against it for long periods in this match, but their defence was top notch, and their attack razor sharp as they absorbed a huge amount of pressure before responding in the best way possible.
Unsurprisingly, after nearly a month without a game, both sides looked rusty early on, but it was Widnes who took the lead with an early penalty from Matty Smith.
Rochdale deservedly got their noses in front with a try and then a penalty, before the home side replied with a long-range effort from Jonny Lowe and an injury-time penalty from Smith to send them in at the break leading by 11-8.
Chris Atkin’s early try at the start of the second half converted by Smith extended their lead before Rochdale found a chink in the Widnes defence to make it 18-13.
Undeterred, Widnes quickly scored again as Paul Borg wriggled his way over, and as Rochdale were forced to chase the game, Matty Smith intercepted a pass to race home from 50 metres and give himself the easiest of conversion attempts.
Widnes face another major challenge this Saturday, when they make the long trip up the M6 to face Carlisle at Warwick Road.
Although on the crest of a wave, this really will be the toughest of contests for Lee McDermott’s side who were beaten 30-15 in the last game between the two sides back in October.
Since then, Carlisle have maintained their impressive form and currently lie in third place in North One West, hot on the heels of Sale and Liverpool St Helens.
Widnes, though, are in the middle of a good run themselves and have nothing to fear. The game kicks off at 2.15pm.