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Wolves go down despite second half fightback

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Pictures Eddie Whitham

WARRINGTON Wolves went down 26-22 in the traditional festive derby friendly against local rivals Widnes Vikings at the Halton Stadium.

Trailing 20-0 at half time, Warrington fell further behind early in the second before mounting a comeback late on.

It was coach Steve Price’s first game in charge, and there was a youthful feel to both sides.

New signings Bryson Goodwin and Mitch Brown got a run-out for the Wolves, while Harvey Livett and Declan Patton played in the halves.

Regulars Mike Cooper, Ben Westwood and Matty Russell all featured, as did Tom Lineham.
Jack Johnson played at full-back, with Stefan Ratchford among a glut of players allowed extra time off following their efforts at the World Cup.

Widnes had a similarly inexperienced line-up, though boasted both first choice halves in Joe Mellor and Tom Gilmore, while former Warrington back-rower Sam Wilde who made the move between the two clubs in the off-season featured on the bench.

Olly Ashall’s sixth minute try put Widnes in front before a scrap resulted in Westwood being sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes following a coming together with Jordan Johnstone.

Ashall added his second while the Vikings had a man advantage, but they added two quickfire tries after Westwood returned to hold a commanding lead at the break.

That lead was extended five minutes into the second half, Keanan Brand touching down, with Gilmore’s touchline conversion making it 26-0.

Warrington finally got on the scoresheet just shy of the hour mark when Johnson scored a try against a club he spent time on loan with last season.

A second try followed on 67 minutes, Toby King collecting a bomb to score, and he added his second try on 71 minutes as the Wolves threatened to turn the game around.

A try by Pat Moran two minutes from time set up a frantic finish but Widnes held on for their first win over Warrington in 13 attempts.

Widnes: Ashall, Brand, Chamberlain, Marsh, Buckley, Mellor, Gilmore, Burke, Johnstone, J Chapelhow, Dean, Whitley, B Walker. Subs: Roby, Walters, Norman, Freeman, Lyons, T Chapelhow, Olbison, D Walker, Wilde, Farnworth.

Warrington: J Johnson, Russell, Goodwin, T King, Lineham, Livett, Patton, Cooper, Smith, G King, Philbin, L Johnson, Westwood. Subs: Moran, Robson, Piling, Pinder, Brown.

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Journalist and sport content specialist, who is also editor of Love Rugby League. Formerly ran the official website of the Carling Cup, as well as operating a digital services business in Warrington.

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