Widnes Vikings 30, Salford Red Devils 24
By Liam Williams
Two tries from Paddy Flynn won the way for Widnes Vikings and sealed a thrilling victory over Salford Red Devils at a scorching Etihad Stadium.
The outcome of the second match of Magic Weekend was in the balance until the closing stages as both team conspired to keep a record crowd kept entertained throughout.
An evenly-contested first half saw the sides go in level at the break after Salford scored tries through Junior Sa'u and Rangi Chase while Flynn, Jack Owens and Chris Dean.
Both sides matched each other blow for blow in the second half, scoring three tries apiece through Matty Ashurst, Danny Williams and Francis Meli for Salford and White, Rhys Hanbury and Flynn for Widnes, but Tickle's three second-half goals were enough to see Widnes home.
Widnes suffered a serious-looking injury in the first minute when Danny Craven collided with the knee of Gareth Hock which saw the scrum-half leave the field in a neck brace.
After fending off a dangerous Salford attack, Widnes opened the scoring when Flynn took Kevin Brown's pass in his stride to go over in the corner, before Tickle's tricky conversion attempt drifted wide of the posts.
Salford responded well as Sa'u powered over the line, with Jake Mullaney adding the extras to give the Red Devils the lead.
Salford extended their lead just two minutes later when Tomkins found Chase, whose darting run was enough to evade Rhys Hanbury to touch down between the posts.
The Vikings replied with their second try after a sharp pass from Brown granted Owens a simple finish in the corner
Salford conceded a careless penalty for obstruction on their 20-metre line and a try followed soon after for Dean as the centre crashed over in the corner, but Tickle’s third missed conversion kept the scores level at half-time.
The Red Devils were quick out of the blocks in the second half, scoring inside two minutes of the restart. Mullaney broke through the defence before finding Harrison Hansen who was stopped just short of the line before Ashurt went over.
Widnes again hit back with a try after a deflected grubber kick bounced into the path of White who was left with a simple finish for his second try of the game. Tickle's conversion gave the Vikings the lead to bring up 100 points for the season for the forward.
The lead changed hands once again as Williams picked up a loose ball and raced to the tryline but Widnes scored their second try of the half when Tomkins's pass came loose and Hanbury ran the length of the field to score in the corner.
Widnes came close to extending their lead when Owen plucked a ball out of the sky but his pass went just beyond the reach of Dave Allen with the line beckoning.
The Vikings were awarded a penalty in front of goal to take a six-point lead with 11 minutes remaining, and Tickle duly obliged.
Salford were presented with an opportunity to draw level with five minutes to play when Meli cut inside from the touchline to go over, but Mullaney's kick went wide.
The Vikings sealed the win with under two minutes on the clock when Flynn took Hanbury's pass to go over in the corner to go six in front.
1 Rhys Hanbury
20 Paddy Flynn
14 Chris Dean
4 Stefan Marsh
2 Jack Owen
6 Kevin Brown
21 Danny Craven
10 Ben Kavanagh
9 Jon Clarke
23 Phil Joseph
11 Dave Allen
12 Danny Tickle
25 Alex Gerrard
15 Lloyd White
24 Macgraff Leuluai
16 Willie Isa
18 Paul Johnson
Salford Red Devils
37 Greg Eden
2 Danny Williams
3 Martin Gleeson
4 Junior Sa'u
5 Francis Meli
6 Rangi Chase
1 Jake Mullaney
15 Darrell Griffin
35 Logan Tomkins
10 Lama Tasi
13 Harrison Hansen
12 Gareth Hock
11 Tony Puletua
8 Adrian Morley
18 Steve Rapira
24 Stu Howarth
19 Matty Ashurst
Referee: Tim Roby
Widnes Vikings 30 (Tries: Flynn 2, Owens, Dean, White, Hanbury; Goals: Tickle 3),
Salford Red Devils 24 (Tries: Sa’u, Chase, Ashurst, Williams; Goals: Mullaney 2)