Super League: Widnes Vikings 12-25 Hull FC
|First Utility Super League|
|Widnes (12) 12|
|Tries: Owens, Whitley Goals: Owens 2|
|Hull FC (14) 25|
|Tries: Lineham 3, Pryce, Sneyd Goals: Sneyd 2 Drop-goal: Sneyd|
Tom Lineham grabbed his third hat-trick of the season as Hull FC came from behind to record a vital win against Widnes in the race for the top eight.
Widnes totally dominated early on, taking a 12-0 lead through tries from Jack Owens and Matt Whitley.
But Lineham sparked a comeback with two tries before the break, either side of Leon Pryce's score, to edge Hull ahead.
Hull took the momentum into the second half as Marc Sneyd and Lineham sealed a win that takes them to eighth place.
Widnes head coach Denis Betts was apparently greeted by a dead pigeon when he took his place on the sidelines for kick-off, but his side were - initially at least - in full flight in attack.
|Super League top tryscorers|
|Joe Burgess (Wigan)||16|
|Tom Lineham (Hull FC)||15|
|Dom Manfredi (Wigan)||13|
|Kevin Brown (Widnes)||11|
|Tommy Makinson (St Helens)||11|
|Zeb Taia (Catalans Dragons)||11|
|Jordan Turner (St Helens)||11|
Rhys Hanbury's quick hands on the short side released Owens down the touchline, and the winger showed great finishing skills to touch down.
The second try came after stand-off Kevin Brown spotted a chink in the Hull defence, running at the line before giving the ball to Hanbury who beat his man and passed back inside to give Whiting an easy score.
The 12-0 scoreline was arguably flattering to Hull, but a Widnes lapse in concentration saw former Test forward Gareth Ellis power through a string of tackles and slip an outrageous offload to Lineham, who burst through two tackles of his own to score out wide.
A needless penalty gave Pryce the chance to show all his experience, offering a hint of a dummy before burrowing over from close range.
And Widnes allowed Hull to take an unlikely lead into the break, conceding another silly penalty before getting drawn infield to allow Sneyd sufficient time to dab a pinpoint kick into the arms of Lineham to dive over next to the touchline.
It was more of the same after half-time as Widnes's discipline let them down to give Hull the chance to establish field position, and Sneyd collected his own beautifully-weighted grubber kick to score under the posts.
Lineham sealed his hat-trick after Pryce and full-back Jamie Shaul combined in attack, but the winger still had to fend off Hanbury's tackle and perfectly judge his dive to the corner.
A Sneyd drop goal made the game all but safe with nearly 20 minutes left on the clock and Widnes seldom threatened - except for a Patrick Ah Van effort on the last play which was ruled out for a foot in touch - as Hull FC held on for an important win over one of their main rivals for a top-eight place.
Widnes coach Denis Betts:
"We got off to a great start and I think we just failed to capitalise on that. We spoke about the short turnaround that both sides had and we said that we wanted to have plenty of energy and go at them.
"We did that early on and we built some good field position but we didn't put any more points on the board and we went sloppy and let them in.
"They started to fight and we lost our focus. There were some massive efforts in there and there are some positives but our focus drives our detail and it just wasn't there."
Hull FC coach Lee Radford told BBC Radio Humberside:
"To come in at half-time with the lead was really, really pleasing. We were turning the ball over and making bad decisions but we rolled our sleeves up and got the balance right.
"We want to be in the top eight and we have to keep picking up wins. I keep saying it but next week is must win.
"I was talking to Gareth Ellis and we were saying it's getting like the NRL where you have to pick up results, so for that it's credit to the organisers.
"We coped a lot of flak earlier in the season and it was difficult but the players continued to work and got through it. We scraped some ugly wins and now we look a lot more of a threat."
Widnes: Hanbury, Owens, Marsh, Whitley, Ah Van, Brown, Mellor, Dudson, White, Gerrard, Clarkson, Galea, Isa.
Replacements: Leuluai, Manuokafoa, Joseph, Heremaia.
Hull FC: Shaul, Lineham, Whiting, Yeaman, Michaels, Pryce, Sneyd, Paea, Houghton, Watts, Ellis, Minichiello, Westerman.
Replacements: Paleaaesina, Green, Thompson, Abdull.
Referee: Phil Bentham (RFL)