O'Connor inspires Widnes as Trinity slip into trouble

Wakefield 34 - Widnes 47
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The Independent Online

Widnes climbed off the foot of Super League last night with a performance that gave them fresh hope for survival and which threatened to pull Wakefield into the relegation dogfight.

Widnes climbed off the foot of Super League last night with a performance that gave them fresh hope for survival and which threatened to pull Wakefield into the relegation dogfight.

Although the immaculate kicking of Stephen Myler, with nine goals from nine attempts, accounted for much of the gap between the sides, this was a game won by the forwards. Widnes, led from the front by the inspirational Terry O'Connor, were too vigorous and physical for their opposition.

O'Connor was so committed to the cause that he clearly objected to being substituted in the second half. "We had a few words," admitted his coach, Frank Endecott. "But that's good. It comes from the passion of wanting to stay out there and do the job for us."

Widnes suffered an early setback when John Stankevitch was sent to the sin bin after a dust-up with Michael Korkidas. But far from being affected by his absence, the visitors raced into a 12-point lead. O'Connor began it by taking Owen Craigie's pass to power over and Shane Millard regathered the ball after losing it to send Simon Finnigan in.

Colum Halpenny was largely responsible for Wakefield's first riposte, finishing off a scrum-based move for their first try and then taking Ben Jeffries' high kick for his and Wakefield's second.

But Widnes were finding it far too easy to break tackles and offload the ball. This gave them the momentum for their next try, scored when Sala Fa'alogo's backhanded pass released Adam Hughes. Then when Sid Domic failed to clean up Craigie's kick between his sticks Myler pounced.

There was a brief response from Trinity when Jeffries and Steve Snitch gave Olivier Elima the chance to go over, but Widnes hit back with Aaron Moule going through two tackles for their fifth try.

Myler's seventh goal took Widnes further ahead at the start of the second half, but Jeffries linked with Jamie Rooney to create a try to give Wakefield some hope.

But again the home side lost the impetus they had gained, with Julian O'Neill allowed to find a path out of the tackle for Mark Smith to score. After Korkidas had been sent to the sin bin for holding down in the tackle, Smith went over again to make the points safe.

Tries from Jason Demetriou and Jeffries stopped Widnes being able to relax completely but Craigie's drop goal put the issue beyond doubt and Wakefield's Sean McNally admitted that his side had been second best. "We were just too soft in defence. The desire wasn't there," he said.

Wakefield: M Field; Halpenny, Demetriou, Domic, Taduala; Rooney, Jeffries; Griffin, March, Korkidas, Wrench, Elima, Spicer Substitutes used: J Field, Snitch, Kirk, Feather.

Widnes: Connolly; Emilio, Moule, Hughes, Viane; Craigie, Myler; O'Connor, Millard, Stankevitch, Fa'Aloga, Frame, Finnigan. Substitutes used: O'Neill, Hulse, Whitaker, Smith.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).

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