|Betfred Super League|
|Widnes Vikings (6) 6|
|Try: Albert Goal: Gilmore|
|St Helens (16) 28|
|Tries: Morgan, Percival 2, Barba, Makinson 2 Goals: Richardson 2|
St Helens maintained their four-point lead at the top of Super League with a six-try win at neighbours Widnes.
Ryan Morgan and Mark Percival put the visitors 10-0 up but injury-hit Vikings were rewarded for a spell of pressure when Wellington Albert crashed over.
Percival’s second restored Saints’ 10-point lead before the interval.
Ben Barba’s controversial score and a double from Tommy Makinson, the second his 100th try for St Helens, sealed a comfortable victory.
Leaders St Helens looked on course for a convincing victory when they raced ahead early on, but the introduction of Papua New Guinea prop Albert from the bench inspired Widnes into a response.
Luke Douglas’ yellow card early in the second period offered the hosts further hope, which was quickly snuffed out when full-back Barba stepped through the Vikings’ back line to score his 10th Super League try of the season.
However, it should not have stood as slow-motion replays showed the Australian had lost control of the ball in the act of grounding it over the line.
A young Widnes side emerged from the defeat with credit, despite winger Makinson twice finishing acrobatically in the corner to reach his personal milestone and increase the margin of victory.
Widnes head coach Denis Betts:
“We just got beaten by a very good side. We made silly errors that has given them 18 points.
“They played with confidence and they are running well. They picked their strongest side and it looked like they had plenty of energy – you do get that from confidence and they have plenty of it.
“I can’t knock the players for energy, effort and fight but there’s stupidity in our game which is killing us.”
St Helens head coach Justin Holbrook:
“I’m really happy to come away with the win. It was tough conditions out there and I’m really pleased to get the points.
“I’m really proud of the playing group as 16 players of the 17 that played against Wigan on Good Friday have backed that up today and played here at Widnes. It’s a credit to the players.
“Our handling was very, very good and there was some good skill levels shown out there. It was a good test for us and to come away with the victory is exactly what we wanted.”
Widnes: Craven; Marsh, Chamberlain, Runciman, Ince; Heremaia, Gilmore; Gerrard, Johnstone, Chapelhow, Olbison, Wilde, B Walker.
Replacements: Burke, Leuluai, D Walker, Albert.
St Helens: Barba; Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Grace; Fages, Richardson; Amor, Roby, Thompson, Peyroux, Taia, Wilkin.
Replacements: Smith, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles.
Referee: Chris Kendall