Widnes 4-38 Bradford

Ben Jeffries
Ben Jeffries

Bradford put aside their off-field financial battle to heap more misery on Super League bottom club Widnes.

Tries from Ben Jeffries and Michael Platt helped the visitors to a 12-point lead inside the first 10 minutes.

Rhys Hanbury scored the home side's only try, before Craig Kopczak went over as Bradford led 18-4 at half-time.

Bradford scored four tries after the break, Platt going over for a second, with Adrian Purtell, Manase Manuokafoa and Keith Lulia also on the scoresheet.

Widnes owner Steve O'Connor last week pledged £10,000 from his own back pocket to boost the survival hopes of Super League rivals Bradford, who need to raise £500,000 to pay a tax bill and avoid the threat of administration.

But the Bulls did not show his side any such generosity on the park.

Bottom club Widnes had won their last two home games, admittedly one of them against a half-strength Wigan, but they ended up suffered the heaviest of their four defeats on home soil.

The visitors were fastest out of the blocks, scoring a spectacular 70-metre try when Platt broke from deep inside his own half and Elliott Whitehead continued the move before Jeffries took the final pass to race clear.

The visitors increased their lead four minutes later when a crisp handling move across the line ended with Purtell sending Platt crashing over in the corner.

Bradford continued to dominate but, on a rare venture deep inside Bradford territory, Widnes finally came up with their first points.

Substitute Scott Moore's excellent ball out of the tackle allowed scrum-half Hanbury to race to the corner.

Two minutes before half-time Bradford extended their lead when Heath L'Estrange sent Kopczak over under the posts.

Platt claimed his second and Purtell also touched down to increase the advantage to 26-4.

And Bradford completed a convincing win when Manuokafoa carried three men over the line with him before Lulia's try three minutes from time.


Widnes head coach Denis Betts:

"I thought we made it pretty easy for them. Our enthusiasm and application was poor.

"We are working hard and doing plenty of stuff and that confidence that is so hard to find is creating problems for us.

"In professional sport confidence and focus are two key elements that are like gold dust, and at the moment we are lacking the confidence to put in a sustained effort week after week and game after game.

"The fans need to keep the faith. We knew where we would be at and everyone expects so much more but the reality is this time last year we were playing Dewsbury, Batley and Keighley."

Bradford coach Mick Potter:

"The part the players play in this adversity is that they need to play their best and they are certainly living up to that and trying their hardest and I can't ask any more of them at the moment.

"I thought early on we were good and, although it got a little scrappy at the end of the first half, it was a pleasing performance.

"The fans were very vocal and, with a pleasing performance in front of them, they had plenty to cheer about.

"Widnes showed some signs that they can do good things but overall our defence was good and they couldn't get as far forward as they would have wanted to as we held them in the middle pretty well."


Widnes: Owens; Flynn, Dean, Isa, Ah Van; Craven, Hanbury; Cross, Clarke, Kite, Winterstein, Finnigan, Cahill.

Replacements: White, Moore, Davies, Allen.

Bradford: Kearney; Platt, Purtell, Lulia, Ainscough; Jeffries, Sammut; Hargreaves, Diskin, Manuokafoa, Elima, Whitehead, Langley.

Replacements: L'Estrange, Kopczak, Addy, Olbison.

Attendance: 5,687.

Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).