Super League: Widnes Vikings battle back to deny Bradford Bulls
Widnes produced a stunning comeback to earn a 22-22 draw with Bradford despite playing the second half with 12 men.
Last Updated: 08/03/13 11:07pm
The Vikings looked dead and buried at half-time as they trailed 20-4 after Gareth Hock had been sent off for dissent.
But a combination of some stirring rugby from the hosts and some poor handling and discipline from the Bulls allowed Widnes back into the game and a Patrick Ah Van penalty five minutes from time earned them a share of the points.
The Bulls were quickest out of the blocks and Jamie Langley and Brett Kearney both went over inside the first five minutes, the first try from a slick passing move and Lulia teeing up the second.
Ah Van sneaked in at the corner on 20 minutes to get the hosts on the scoreboard but it was little respite from the Bradford onslaught and a repeat set on the Widnes line saw Matt Diskin Burrow over.
Referee Robert Hicks awarded the try after referring to his assistants and that decision incensed Hock and his remonstrations earned him a red card.
The Bulls quickly made the most of the extra man as Jarrod Sammut fed Lulia on the diagonal for a simple score, although another missed conversion from Sammut meant the lead was only 20-6 at the interval.
That would prove costly as Widnes came out fired up for the second half and Hep Cahill put in Rhys Handbury with only two minutes gone.
With the Bulls conceding penalties, the Vikings were in again on 48, Ah Van sneaking in for his second. This time he was accurate with the extras to cut the gap to six points although a Sammut penalty on 55 gave the Bulls a bit of breathing space again.
But Widnes were not to be denied and after Handbury was harshly judged to have been held up on the line, Lloyd White cut the gap to two points when he broke the Bulls line after they coughed up possession in their own half.
Ah Van nailed the extras then levelled the scores with a penalty five minutes from time after the Bulls were caught offside.
And they could have grabbed an unlikely victory had Handbury's 35-metre drop-goal attempt not drifted just wide with the clock running down.