Trys: Danny Craven, Patrick Ah Van, Hep Cahill,
Goals: Patrick Ah Van,
Trys: Ali Lauitiiti, Andy Raleigh, Richie Mathers, Tim Smith, Peter Fox 2,
Goals: Isaac John 4,
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats scored five second-half tries to deny Widnes Vikings a winning return to the Stobart Super League.
Peter Fox capped a strong Wakefield finish by touching down twice in the closing minutes after earlier tries from Andy Raleigh, Richie Mathers and Tim Smith had changed the game.
Widnes were competitive for an hour on their new artificial pitch at the Stobart Stadium, with tries from Danny Craven, Patrick Ah Van and Hep Cahill putting them in control.
Yet the Wildcats, who also scored through Ali Lauitiiti in the first half, were always in contention and powered home impressively in coach Richard Agar’s first game in charge.
Few had known what to expect from the game with both sides having undergone huge reconstruction in the off-season, while Widnes’ synthetic playing surface added to the uncertainty.
Both sides produced scrappy spells of play but there was plenty of positive action to keep the crowd enthralled and offer encouragement for the campaign ahead.
Wakefield, with 12 new faces in their starting 13, began in determined fashion as Ben Cockayne was twice denied out wide.
Widnes showed little of their attacking ability until pressing forward to take the lead in the eighth minute.
Craven, one of only three debutants in their starting line-up, created room for himself and then beat Mathers to his own kick to touch down.
Former Bradford Bulls winger Ah Van, sporting a thick beard, knocked over the conversion to get the Vikings off to a promising start.
Wakefield responded as Isaac John put Lauitiiti over with a fine flat pass but Widnes retained the lead as John missed a straightforward conversion.
Lauitiiti then ripped through Widnes to set up Mathers but momentum was lost as the ball came back for Ben Cockayne and Vince Mellars could not force his way over.
Widnes thought they had extended their lead after Ah Van leapt above Fox for a Craven kick and the ball bobbled free for former Wakefield man Frank Winterstein.
Yet after Ah Van’s involvement was ruled legal following lengthy deliberation by the video referee, Winterstein was then adjudged to have failed to ground correctly.
Widnes did not dwell on the disappointment and claimed their second try when a Winterstein offload allowed Willie Isa to send Ah Van over with a long pass.
That gave the Vikings a 10-4 interval lead but their advantage was wiped out within three minutes of the restart as Raleigh slid on to a Smith kick to score by the posts and John converted.
Widnes went close to reclaiming the lead when a Rhys Hanbury kick aimed for Ah Van caught out the winger and two defenders and Isa slid in, but the video referee spotted a pull by Ah Van on Fox.
Wakefield applied pressure and won a series of penalties in dangerous territory but failed to capitalise and Widnes went back ahead when Cahill charged down a kick on halfway and sprinted away to the corner.
The lead did not last and Wakefield went ahead for the first time when Smith found a gap for Mathers to score and John added the extras.
Agar’s men maintained the pressure as penalties again hurt Widnes and Smith eventually found a way through to score with a fine piece of individual skill.
Widnes were reduced to 12 men for the closing minutes after Ben Cross was sinbinned for dissent and Fox went over for Wakefield’s fifth try in the corner just seconds later.
Fox then had the final word when he claimed his second try moments later to leave Widnes well beaten.