Widnes rookie Ryan Ince scored a sensational brace as the Vikings toppled Leeds Rhinos 28-20 to dent their top-four bid in Betfred Super League.
The 20-year-old Ince went over for tries in both halves to hit the Rhinos for six in a game which saw the lead swap hands three times in the closing stages.
Ince was well backed up Corey Thompson, who also bagged a double - his second effort putting the game well beyond Leeds’ reach.
It was the one-two combination of Ince and Thompson in the final 10 minutes that proved a hammer blow to the Rhinos, the win giving Widnes hope of dragging themselves off the bottom of the table over the remaining fixtures of the campaign.
Denis Betts was relieved Widnes finally managed to get over the line after several near misses recently.
Nothing better than 2 points and 2 tries in a bank holiday, the @WidnesRL fans were so loud and got right behind the boys 👏👏— Ryan Ince (@ryan_ince) May 29, 2017
The Vikings had lost their last four Super League matches - including close defeats to Hull FC and Castleford Tigers - and it seemed that streak would be extended as they trailed 20-18 with 10 minutes remaining.
But tries from wingers Thompson and Ince lifted them to victory.
Betts said: “I’m a happy man. It was one of those bizarre situations where I was feeling a bit aggrieved in some of the things we’d done or not done to close the game out – and then we score two tries.
“I had the ‘here we go again' feeling. We just needed to win this tight one. Leeds are a pretty good side. They had no Danny Maguire but not many more (players missing) so this is a fantastic win for us.
“This victory has been coming. We have been pushing and pushing. We have played well in patches but never been far off. We need to start winning - we can’t keep saying ‘if only’. There are games where we have been in control and lost: Wigan, Hull and Castleford. The facts are we should have won those games but didn’t.
Great feeling to get the win , @WidnesRL fans were amazing! ⚫️⚪️— james chapelhow (@james_chapelhow) May 29, 2017
“We are now starting to get players back and the likes of Rangi Chase is now getting more sessions under his belt so he’s understanding what we’re about. He’s getting used to the calls and more comfortable with the other players.”
Leeds head coach Brian McDermott cut a despondent figure post match.
He said: “Widnes are fighting for their lives and that performance they put in is a reflection of that. I have to give Widnes massive credit. Denis has asked for a reaction from his players and he got one.
“We tried hard to break Widnes down and it was a case of six out of 10 on too many occasions. It was hard to build momentum in the game
“I didn’t think energy was the issue out there. I though we looked fit, we didn’t have any fitness worries with the players that were out there. We didn’t lack energy – it was a case of the dynamics of the game that let us down.
“There were some soft tries in there. Our last tackle plays were very poor and we gifted Widnes with a hell of a lot of possession in good areas, and they made the most of it. The only positive is that we didn’t pick any injuries up.”