Super League: Warrington Wolves 6-16 Widnes Vikings
Warrington 6 (6)
- Tries: Grix
- Goals: Ratchford
Widnes (4) 16
- Tries: Owens 2, Ah Van
- Goals: Owens 2
Widnes Vikings' 12 men stunned high-flying Warrington Wolves in a gripping Super League derby.
Simon Grix crossed in the corner for the Wire and the visitors hit back through Jack Owens.
But the game looked to have swung Wolves' way when Hep Cahill clattered into Brett Hodgson, who was taken off on a stretcher with a bloodied face.
Widnes were superb in the second half though, as Patrick Ah Van and Owens scored to deny Wolves from going top.
And it was a victory that will undoubtedly be the most satisfying for Widnes supporters since they regained their Super League status last year.
It was as far back as four months ago that the Vikings inflicted a surprise defeat on Warrington, but that setback seemed fresh in Wolves minds as they threw bodies forward from the start at a soggy Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Huddersfield Giants (38 points, 24 games):
London (a), Wakefield (h), Bradford (a)
Warrington Wolves (37 points, 25 games):
St Helens (a), Catalans (a)
Wigan Warriors (35 points, 24 games):
Catalans (a), Hull FC (h), Leeds (h)
But Vikings, maligned for their defensive work this season, particularly after conceding 110 points in their two previous games, showed a firmness at the back against the competition's top scorers.
The Wire found a way through though, Hodgson's quick pass giving Grix the space to land the 50th try of his career, before Stefan Ratchford kicked the extras.
Widnes endured a further blow shortly afterwards, youngster Grant Gore being stretchered off, only to later find out he had fractured a knee cap.
Despite Hodgson coming close to adding a second Warrington score, the visitors finally found a footing in the game late in the first half and landed a try in the corner when Owens scurried onto Kevin Brown's delightful chipped kick, although the full-back missed the touchline conversion attempt.
That good work looked to have been undone before the break when Hodgson, falling to his knees while taking a high ball, was caught in the face by the onrushing Cahill, who justifiably was shown a red card.
Cahill could argue that his tackle would have been around the chest area had Hodgson not been dropping to the ground, but the contact with the head was unquestionable and the Australian full-back looked in bad shape as he was treated by medics before being carried away.
As expected, Warrington dominated possession after the restart, but failed to convert a series of chances, and were shell shocked when Widnes, defying their one-man disadvantage, were rewarded for choosing to keep the ball in hand from a penalty, as Rhys Hanbury looped over a pass for Ah Van to cross and Owens picked up the extras.
And 19-year-old Owens touched down his second of the night, benefitting from a deft kick by the superb Joe Mellor, before sending over his own conversion to register 12 of his side's 16 points.
While Widnes completed a historic double over their local rivals, Warrington could fall further adrift of top side Huddersfield, who face bottom team London Broncos on Saturday.
Warrington: Hodgson, Riley, Bridge, Grix, J Monaghan, Ratchford, M Monaghan, Wood, Higham, Hill, Waterhouse, Westwood, McCarthy
Replacements: Harrison, Cooper, Dwyer, Laithwaite
Widnes: Hanbury, Owens, Phelps, Winterstein, Ah Van, Brown, Mellor, O'Carroll, Gore, Kavanagh, Allen, Leuluai, Cahill
Replacements: Joseph, Lawton, Isa, Craven
Referee: P Bentham (RFL)