Widnes 10-18 Warrington: Ryan Atkins and Stefan Ratchford ensure Wolves win
By Sky Sports Rugby League
Last Updated: 17/02/18 7:17am
Warrington secured their opening victory of the 2018 Super League season as they won 18-10 at Widnes, extending the Vikings' rotten run against the Wolves.
A Ryan Atkins double, in addition to a Stefan Ratchford score and Bryson Goodwin penalty, was enough to confirm Steve Price's maiden victory in charge.
Two Krisnan Inu tries had kept Widnes in touch, but they failed to make late pressure - in addition to a late Mike Cooper sin-binning - count come the end.
Warrington have now won 11 games in a row against Denis Betts' side, and five in a row at the Select Security Stadium.
After defeats to Leeds and Huddersfield, Price needed a win and he got it, though the game may well be remembered for a thunderous accidental collision between referee Phil Bentham and Widnes captain Chris Houston.
Bentham had to leave the field after Houston - chasing a kick - inadvertently clattered him from behind - with the 'ref cam' showing the full effect of Bentham's tumble. The incident has also gone on report.
Away from that, Atkins was in sparkling form. His two tries, one either side of half-time, were crucial as the Cheshire derby went the way of the Wolves.
Warrington edged their noses in front at the break with a six-point advantage after early tries from Atkins and the outstanding Ratchford.
The Wolves' first came after they had absorbed some significant Vikings pressure, and when they finally got themselves into some attacking positions, Dec Patton hit the button with a precision kick that was caught by Atkins for a well-worked try.
The next came courtesy of a solo effort from man-of-the-match Ratchford who danced his way over from close range after the Vikings were caught short on the right edge.
Bryson Goodwin knocked over the conversion to push Warrington to a 10-0 lead that had come from nowhere.
The Vikings were never out of it and they had some promising spells with the ball, but on too many occasions they could not find the killer pass.
Greg Burke came closest for the Black and Whites with an attempted barge over, but Warrington's goal-line defence was up to the task.
Widnes got the try they were searching for on 23 minutes as Joe Mellor came up with a classy play to kick into space for his centre Inu to claim his first try.
The conversion was missed by Tom Gilmore but Widnes were within touching distance again.
After Atkins had collected his second, thanks to an excellent cross-field kick from Ratchford, the game was halted after Houston collided with referee Bentham.
Bentham was knocked to the ground heavily and had to leave the field of play, with reserve referee Scott Mikalauskas taking over the whistle duties.
The break seemed to unhinge the Vikings and they temporarily lost some composure that resulted in Goodwin landing a further two points with a penalty to inch Warrington closer to the finishing line.
Tempers began to fray and Inu clashed with Ben Currie, but when Widnes found their feet again Gilmore laid on another kick-try for Inu to give Betts' side a flicker of hope.
Jay Chapelow thought he had got another Vikings score as he broke through Warrington's tired defence but he fumbled the ball over the line, extinguishing Widnes' hopes.
The Wolves made things harder for themselves in the closing stages as Cooper completed a professional foul on Danny Craven which saw him sin-binned, but they ultimately managed to hold on.
After the match, Sky Sports caught up with man of the match Stefan Ratchford, Widnes head coach Denis Betts and Warrington head coach Steve Price.
Catch their thoughts below...