Krisnan Inu and Patrick Ah Van touched down for doubles as Widnes Vikings ended their 17-game losing run with a workmanlike 26-12 victory over Halifax at the Halton Stadium.
It was a must-win for Widnes to give them a flicker of hope of making the Million Pound Game and they delivered. But with away games at Toronto Wolfpack and Hull KR remaining, it is a tough ask for Francis Cummins' side.
Halifax made the brighter start and former Viking Shane Grady had a try chalked off for offside by the video referee before Widnes hit back with two scores in the space of six minutes from Weller Hauraki and Inu, who added one conversion.
The boys thanking you for your support in 2018. Cheers for sticking by us this season! ⚫️⚪️ pic.twitter.com/MuOfi8da4R— Widnes Vikings (@WidnesRL) September 15, 2018
Led by veteran stand-off Scott Murrell, Fax inched their way back in it and five minutes before half-time they struck through James Woodburn-Horn as Widnes were caught napping, with Grady adding the extras.
Ah Van restored order after the break with a simple try out wide and then Inu spectacularly dived over in the corner to leave Halifax 22-6 down.
Jason Saltonstall crashed over in the corner with Murrell converting to reduce the deficit before Ah Van crossed in the final seconds.
Widnes boss Francis Cummins said: “Until you can’t do it we will keep going. We should have won last week [against Leeds] but our goal is winning the last two games.
“We have to make sure next week that we put our best performance in. I can see the change and the pressure release from the players. We will have to play better and I expect them to be better next week.
“Hull KR went there [Toronto] and got a win and we can go over there and do the same.
“The win has been a long time coming. The victory song was sang and I don’t think half the players knew all the words!”
Richard Marshall chats to the media after today’s game. pic.twitter.com/a97tLNo33d— Halifax RLFC (@Halifax_RLFC) September 15, 2018
Halifax head coach Richard Marshall said: “It was an opportunity lost as I thought we could come here and win. Let’s not get this out of context - we could have won this game and we failed to do so.
“We lost Simon Grix before the game and that affected our plan and what we were doing. We had to change a few things around.
“There’s wasn’t a lot of difference between the two sides but we found ways to help them as we made some poor errors and defensive reads and got punished.
“We did put ourselves back in it and we had our chances but we have come up a bit short. Widnes were desperate and they had to win it."
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