Wigan Warriors had a score to settle as they travelled to Widnes to take on the Vikings after losing their home fixture 18-12 back in March. A win for Widnes would be their first double over Wigan for twenty-seven years.
A win for Widnes would see them into fifth spot in the Super League table ahead of St Helens but Wigan needed the win to go back level on points with Hull FC at the top of the pile.
Wigan were without George Williams, John Bateman and Sam Tomkins, the first injured, the second suspended, and the latter rested.
At kick-off the pitch resembled a health and safety convention, Widnes in purple and Wigan in fluorescent lime green.
The opening minutes were scrappy with errors from both sides and plenty of penalties for foul play. As the game wore on it was the Warriors edged the best of it, but both sides had tries ruled out by the video referee.
On thirty eight Ben Flower put in a monumental try saving tackle on Rhys Hanbury, pulling him down by his ankles half a metre from the line.
It was a half with opportunity, and there was plenty of incident or excitement but the sides went into the sheds scoreless.
On forty-seven Wigan finally opened the scoring when Josh Charnley stepped inside to find a gap and go ten metres past three stranded defenders to score. Matty Smith added the extras for a 6-0 lead.
A fifty-seventh minute Matty Smith drop goal extended the lead by a crucial point.
On sixty-two Chris Dean made a sensational clean break to go fifty metres, but as he dived for the line he dropped the ball.
In the closing twenty minutes it was a string defence from Wigan that thwarted the Vikings attacking efforts. Widnes had their opportunities but couldn't take them and the converted try and drop goal were enough for a victory for a young Wigan side. The Warriors are back level top, but you've got to fancy Widnes to secure their Super Eights spot in the next couple of outings.
Vikings: Hanbury, Thompson, Runciman, Bridge, Ah Van, Mellor, Brown, Cahill, White, Buchanan, Whitley, Dean, Leuluai. Subs: Chapelhow, Manuokafoa, Dudson, Heremaia.
Warriors: Tierney, Charnley (T), Gelling, Gildart, Manfredi, Shorrocks, Smith (G, DG), Crosby, Powell, Flower, Isa, Sutton, Mossop. Subs: Tautai, Burke, Gregson, Bretherton.
Referee: Chris Kendall