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Saturday 17th May 2014, 14:45 - Round:13
Salford Red Devils
|Paddy Flynn 2, Jack Owens, Chris Dean, Lloyd White, Rhys Hanbury,||T||Junior Sa'u, Rangi Chase, Matty Ashurst, Danny Williams, Francis Meli,|
Danny Tickle 3,
Jake Mullaney 2,
Attendance: 36,339 Official: T Roby Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Widnes Vikings gained their first Magic Weekend win at the third attempt after edging an 11-try thriller in the Manchester sunshine to leave Salford Red Devils without a win in their past six matches.
The Red Devils twice held the lead and had a chance to draw level with seven minutes left but Vikings winger Paddy Flynn grabbed his second try in the closing moments to clinch a 30-24 triumph.
The Vikings were indebted to Kevin Brown, who shaded his stand-off duel with Rangi Chase, who made a full contribution to a wonderful free-flowing encounter.
Salford had Jake Mullaney as a makeshift scrum-half in the absence of Tim Smith and Theo Fages while Widnes also had to manufacture a half-back partner for Brown after losing Danny Craven inside the first minute when he knocked himself out trying to tackle Gareth Hock.
Brown's floated pass got right winger Flynn over for the first try after five minutes and his grubber kick looked to have created another for Lloyd White, only for Salford forward Darrell Griffin to pinch the ball on the line.
The Red Devils were forced to soak up incessant pressure, but they struck on the counter-attack to level the scores in the 18th minute.
Hooker Logan Tomkins combined with his half-backs to get the strong-running Junior Sa'u into space and he proved unstoppable from 10 metres out.
Mullaney's conversion gave his side the lead, which they extended courtesy of Chase's magic touch midway through the first half.
He took Tomkins' pass to go through the first line of defence and, using Tony Puletua as a foil, wrong-footed full-back Rhys Hanbury to grab a solo try.
Mullaney's second goal made it 12-4 but Salford's defence always looked vulnerable and the Vikings drew level by half-time.
Another of Brown's cut-out passes gave left winger Jack Owens a clear run to the corner and the stand-off then combined with White and Hanbury to get centre Chris Dean over on the other flank.
The normally reliable Danny Tickle failed with all three, admittedly difficult, goalkicks to leave the scores tied at the break, but the Red Devils regained the lead within 90 seconds of the re-start.
Second rower Harrison Hansen was put clear after good work from Chase and Mullaney and, although he was hauled down just short of the line, Widnes were unable to regroup in time to prevent substitute Matty Ashurst forcing his way over.
Mullaney was off target for the first time and the lead changed hands three times in the space of eight frantic minutes as the game opened up.
White touched down for Widnes after the ball bounced kindly from Hanbury's kick and Tickle landed his first conversion at the fourth attempt.
Hanbury then lost possession 30 metres out from his own line to gift an opportunist try to Salford winger Danny Williams but quickly made amends by sprinting 95 minutes after Red Devils prop Lama Tasi spilled Tomkins' pass near the line.
With Tickle finding his goalkicking range, the Vikings suddenly found themselves leading 24-20 and they missed a glorious chance to extend their advantage when second rower Dave Allen dropped Owens' pass with the line at his mercy.
Centre Stefan Marsh also spilled a decent chance and Widnes had to settle for a penalty from Tickle for all their efforts in the second quarter before the Red Devils rallied.
Salford centre Martin Gleeson had a try disallowed by the video referee, but they set up a nail-biting finish when left winger Francis Meli took Greg Eden's pass to score his side's fifth try three minutes from the end.
Mullaney failed with the kick that would have tied the scores and Widnes had the final say when Hanbury's long pass got Flynn over for his second try.