WARRINGTON Wolves’ winning run came to an abrupt end at the hands of rivals Widnes Vikings at The Select Security Stadium on Friday.
Jack Owens put Vikings in front in Super League Round 21 and Rhys Hanbury and Paddy Flynn crossed before the interval.
Cameron Phelps got Vikings off to a flying start after the interval, before Ryan Atkins and Chris Bridge looked to have started a Wolves comeback.
Owens and Ben Currie then exchanged tries but Vikings’ defence held to bring Wolves’ run of 10 wins on the bounce to an end.
Hanbury did well to gather Gareth O’Brien’s high ball in the second minute under pressure from Ben Currie and Vikings were able to relieve any early danger from the visitors.
Micky Higham gave away a soft penalty and Vikings chose to run the ball, a reverse pass from Jon Clarke found Kevin Brown and Hep Cahill was eventually held up.
But on nine minutes the hosts got the breakthrough, scrum half Joe Mellor found Macgraff Leuluai and Matty Russell took the ball off him in the tackle over the line.
The ball was span wide to Owens on the left and he was able to dive in at the corner, Danny Tickle from a difficult angle.
Wolves looked to hit back immediately but when Chris Bridge put his pass behind Gene Ormsby the winger lost momentum and Vikings turned the ball over.
Vikings’ set of six failed to take them out of danger and after Rhys Evans was tackled on the wing, the play-the-ball found O’Brien 10 metres out.
The half back found space to deliver, but former Wolves academy man Mellor was first to the ball over his own try line.
Wolves’ spell of pressure continued, however it was another O’Brien grubber that brought it to an end. This time the kick was too long for Currie 17 minutes in.
The visitors thought they were in three minutes later when Anthony England rolled over from a clever Russell offload, but Vikings somehow stole possession.
Hanbury was nearly the architect of Vikings furthering their lead when he broke away from several tacklers before being tracked down by a retreating Wolves defence.
With eight minutes of the half remaining Wolves regained possession when Paddy Flynn knocked on.
The ball found Bridge and Wolves’ top points scorer this season stood a kick up into the corner, but the bounce beat the oncoming Ormsby.
Vikings defence would not be beaten and Denis Betts’ side survived another attack from their near neighbours when Ryan Atkins fumbled.
At the other end, the usually reliable Russell dropped his second high kick of the game and the hosts took full advantage.
The chance looked to have gone when Roy Asotasi knocked the ball from Clarke’s hands, but Cahill gathered and fullback Hanbury dived over from close range. Tickle converted.
Then seconds before the hooter Vikings furthered their lead, Flynn flying in at the right hand corner to send the hosts in 16 points ahead.
Wolves were enjoying the early ball in the second half, but were unable to breach the hosts’ line until Ormsby broke a tackle and waltzed his way past three would-be tacklers.
The 21-year-old attempted to offload to the supporting Russell, but a difficult ball saw the fullback unable to gather and Vikings regained possession.
Flynn, displaying similar footwork to moments earlier, glided past several defenders before feeding Phelps and he crossed unopposed for Tickle to convert on 48 minutes.
Three minutes later and the hosts went close to extending their lead when Brown fed Tickle from close range and he was held up over the line.
But on 51 minutes a high tackle on Mellor allowed Tickle the chance to put two more points on the board with a penalty.
Four minutes late and Wolves hit back for the first time, the visitors were awarded the put in when Cahill knocked on.
The ball was moved wide to Atkins and when Stef Marsh slipped the returning centre was free to go nearly 60 metres to score. Bridge was unable to add the extras.
Vikings’ defence looked visibly shaken and O’Brien was next to break the line. The half back was looking for support and appeared the have several teammates on, but as the pass went to Russell Vikings were able to recover.
However Wolves did reduce the deficit moments later, O’Brien this time playing a miss-pass behind Joe Philbin and Bridge powering over at speed before converting himself.
Within two minutes the home side had replied, Asotasi knocked on in the tackle after receiving the kick and Vikings reclaimed possession.
The play was moved left and when Brown spotted Ormsby drifting off his wing he chipped the ball into the path of Owens for his second of the game. Tickle pulled the kick wide.
With 15 minutes remaining Ratchford dived over to ground the loose ball after Ormsby had jumped with Owens for Bridge’s kick into the corner.
Referee Phil Bentham went to the video referee and the ball was adjudged to have travelled forward off the Warrington man’s hand.
Three minutes later and Wolves were awarded a penalty when Evans was tackled in the air from O’Brien’s kick on the last tackle.
Wolves moved the ball right and after Ormsby and then Philbin were held short, the ball moved through hands for Currie to eventually creep in wide on the left with 10 minutes to go. Bridge missed the conversion.
But with every Wolves try came a Vikings reply, this time Marsh collected when Bridge charged down a kick and powered through from 30 metres to the line.
However the centre had ran behind four of his own players and Bentham took to the video to see the try ruled out for obstruction.