Valvoline Cup: Vikings U20s 20 - City Reds U20s 32
Monday 20th February 2012
Report by John Sheridan
Widnes Vikings U20s 20 - Salford City Reds 32
At Stobart Stadium Halton
Report by John Sheridan
Image by Ste Jones
Widnes suffered a second consecutive loss in a stop start game which was littered with penalties and dropped ball. As in their previous game, Widnes got off to a good start and after forcing an error 30 metres from the Salford try line, Josh Crowley scored amidst claims of a forward pass from the visitors. Jack Owens converted to make it 6-0 and Widnes had the early lead every team hopes for.
However Salford immediately hit back only to see Kiaran Butterworth crucially knock a certain try scoring pass to the ground when faced with an overlap. However from the resulting scrum, half back Marc Sneyd created a gap to put Ross Pendlebury over and Sneyd converted to bring the scores level. Widnes managed to regain possession from the restart and they were soon back in the lead when good play put Owen Livesey over in the left corner. Owens couldn't land the difficult conversion but soon Widnes were racing down the left but a forward pass by Scott Cullen halted the move on half way. Again Salford wasted no time in responding and an excellent break by prop forward Adam Walne created the position for centre Jon Ford to score and after 16 minutes the scores were level again.
Widnes then had sustained pressure in the Salford 20 for 6/7 minutes but a keen defence plus an overeager attack ensured that Widnes didn't cross the line. Crowley thought he had added another four points but the referee decided he had been held up over the line and the next play saw a knock on as Widnes just couldn't convert possession and position into points. Salford's Will Hope was the next to see a try ruled out when the touch judge ruled that he had received a pass which had drifted forward and the scoreboard wasn't being troubled as both sides wasted their opportunities.
On 27 minutes play was held up as Scott Cullen sustained a leg injury and he was eventually helped from the field. When play resumed Salford attacked down the Widnes right and Ford looked to have put Massey in but he was also held up over the line as the Widnes defence worked overtime. With only six minutes to the break it seemed as though the teams would leave the field all square but two quick tries to the visitors gave Salford a lead that they were not going to relinquish.
Firstly, Salford made good yards into the Widnes half then created an overlap for Pendlebury to score his second of the afternoon. Widnes then spilt the ball within their own 30 and with players waiting for the whistle, Ford wasted no time in picking the ball up and also scoring his second try. Sneyd kicked the touchline conversion and Salford led 20-10 at half time.
Widnes needed an early score in the second half and Crowley made a great break which was carried on by Livesey and Simons but a great tackle by full back Holmes prevented a try. The home side continued to stay in the Salford half but handling errors let them down as the ball was continually put to ground or unnecessary forward passes delayed their progress. After 50 minutes Salford showed how it should be done when they ripped open the home defence on half way and Sneyd scored near the posts, converted his own try and Salford had a commanding 26-10 advantage.
Although there was still half an hour to go it didn't look as though Widnes could get back into the game but on the back of six penalties they were able to establish a platform which brought them two touchdowns. Keith Holden opened up the Salford backline and his pass put Dec Hulme over to reduce the deficit to 12 points. Further pressure put Salford on the back foot but again it was handling errors which let them down and just when it looked as though the pressure wouldn't count, Salford handed the ball back to Widnes and Tom Kelly scooted away to score under the posts. Owens converted and with the momentum well and truly with the home side Salford's lead was now only 26-20 with 18 minutes to go.
Widnes then conceded a penalty 40 metres from their own line and from this Salford produced an excellent handling move. Having reduced the deficit to six points, Widnes were in no mood to concede again and Pendlebury was bundled into touch by excellent scrambling defence. Salford then attempted a one pointer with 10 minutes left but it drifted wide much to the relief of the Vikings. Widnes forced a drop out when a high Owens kick caused problems in the Salford defence but after a good Crowley drive another dropped ball ended a promising attack. Crowley was then involved again but his pass to Owen Livesey saw the centre bundled into touch and the chance of levelling the scores had gone. With five minutes left Salford sealed the game when Pendlebury powered over to complete his hat trick and Sneyd's 4th goal completed the scoring.
Widnes will be disappointed with their overall display which saw them fail to complete a set of six in the second half. Whilst Salford deserved to win, Widnes know that at 20-26 they had ample chances to at least take a point from the game.
Jack Owens, Kieran Butterworth, Declan Hulme, Owen Livesey, Evan Simons, Danny Wakefield, Chris Atkin, Josh Crowley, Keith Holden, Brad Davies, Tom Kelly, Scott Cullen, Liam Thompson.
SUBS: Matty Norton, Jack Smith, Luke Willings, Lewis Whitty.
Tries: Crowley, Livesey, Hulme, Kelly.
Goals: Owens 2.
Salford City Reds
Jack Holmes, Ross Pendlebury, Andy Morris, Jon Ford, Ben Massey, Niall Evalds, Marc Sneyd, Adam Walne, Tom Whitehead, Callum Marriot, Jordan Walne, AN Other, Will Hope.
SUBS: Theo Fages, David Stephenson, George Tyson, Adam Dybdall.
Tries: Pendlebury 3, Ford 2, Sneyd
Goals: Sneyd 4
Half time: 10-20
Full Time: 20-32
Referee: A Sweet