Not only did the result give them the double over their Merseyside derby rivals, but it also kept them in the hunt for a possible play off game for promotion
With Northwich surprisingly losing at home, it means that all three teams will go into this weekend’s last round of fixtures still in contention for that elusive second place finish. However, with the potential for bonus points coming into play, league officials may need the assistance of a slide rule to determine the final outcome.
As far as this game was concerned. On balance, whilst the home side deserved the win because of their more willing and enterprising style, a neutral spectator might be forgiven for suggesting that all three results were still possible until the last few minutes of the match.
From the kick off, LSH failed to find the necessary ten metres and Widnes were quickly back upfield helped by a couple of back to back penalties, the second of which saw Kevin Leadbetter pull the attempt just wide of the mark.
On 11 minutes, it was LSH’s turn to be awarded a penalty, and this time Simon Worsley was successful to put his side in front.
Shortly afterwards, Dave Welsh’s deft kick to the corner almost paid dividends for Matty Smith
, before tensions boiled over between the two packs of forwards near the touchline, which earned both captain’s a dressing down from the referee.
Unsurprisingly, with stakes so high, there wasn’t too much open play on offer in the first half wih defences generally on top. However, Widnes had the better of the field position although both sides were guilty of a few handing errors and some poor clearance kicks.
After full back Hull had made a dangerous break for the visitors which was thwarted by some solid defence, it started to get better for Widnes late in the half. Firstly, LSH lost a player to the sin bin for a high tackle, and then, when the visitors tried to clear the danger a poor kick out of defence found its way to Phil Glover
who was offered a clear run back in to the danger zone. In a flash, the ball quickly went through several pairs of hands from where Kevin Leadbetter was able to cut back inside for a try which gave his side a narrow 5 – 3 half time lead.
Whatever was said at the break seemed to work for the visitors just a minute after the restart. Catching Widnes cold, the LSH backs were allowed to cut loose allowing fullback Hull to cross wide out to score a fine try.
After that, the game continued to develop into something of a real bun fight as both packs sought out a weakness in their opponents defensive lines, but none were forthcoming as you would expect from a tough, uncompromising derby game with so much at stake.
It took until the 60th minute before there was a real chance, as centre Dave Welsh made a telling break and he fed the supporting Gareth Riley
who raced clear to the posts. However, the referee was on the spot and disallowed the effort for a forward pass, much to the disappointment of the crowd located in that area of the pitch.
However, that seemed to spur Widnes on and just five minutes later they earned themselves a penalty, which Kevin Leadbetter converted from 35 metre kick to square things up again at 8 – 8.
Then, almost like taking a cork out of a bottle of pop, Widnes suddenly exploded into action. Winger Kevin Leadbetter was set loose down the left hand touchline, where his intelligent inside pass found all action Rob Critchley in support who finished off in fine style. Leadbetter then held his nerve - as he had done the previous Easter weekend - by booting over the vital conversion.
LSH did their best to get back into the game helped by a couple of penalties which saw them camped in their opponents quarter, but Widnes defended magnificently right across the field to deny them any further try scoring opportunities to wrap up another vital win.
Pieu Liku was selected as the man of the match, but there were several other candidates in The Pack
, as well as the efforts of the half back pairing of Michael Lamb and Phil Glover
, who were both immense for the home side with the amount of defensive work they put in.
All roads now lead to the Memorial Ground on Saturday, when Widnes travel to face at Wirral in their final league. However remote, with all outcomes still possible, there could be at least a chapter or two to be written before the curtain comes down on the 2011/12 season.