Skipper Darren Wilson was making his 100th appearance against Widnes in a top of the table clash, but like his first game for the Vale of Lune it ended in defeat.
Widnes not only inflicted the first league defeat on the season on the Vale but they pushed the visitors down to sixth place in North One West.
Widnes made the more enterprising start and the Widnes pressure brought its reward with an unconverted try from winger Gareth Riley in the eighteenth minute, but this score galvanised the Vale because within three minutes they drew level.
Wilson darted from the base of a scrum in the Widnes twenty two in a slick move that ended with winger Sam Moorby touching down in the sight corner; James Curran’s powerful kick hit an upright but bounced back infield.
Fraser Spavin made a rangy break out of defence that had Widnes retreating, Adam Macluskie spotted a gap which he shot through with a forceful run but as the game moved into injury time Widnes broke the deadlock with an orthodox threequarter movement.
The ball was zipped across the line with deadly accuracy, winger Kevin Leadbetter touched down for an unconverted try.
A disorganised Vale made heavy weather in the opening minutes and before they had stabilised they found themselves eight points adrift when full back Matty Smith clipped over a penalty goal.
Not an ideal opening and with Lee Acton in the sin bin, Widnes sniffed another score but the Vale’s defence held firm.
A run from Nick Royle with support from Curran helped to turn the side in the visitor’s favour.
David Haigh was held up short, the Vale’s rolling maul began to trouble the home side, while the set scrums put Widnes on the back foot.
Curran was held up with a brave tackle from Smith and as the game moved into its second quarter it was characterised by one way traffic towards the Widnes line.
To their credit Widnes dug deep, they defended courageously, meanwhile Vale’s coaches and their supporters were in grave danger of blowing a gasket as they perceived an imbalance surrounding the awarding of penalties without the ultimate sanction being applied.
In the seventy fifth minute the Vale’s efforts were rewarded when a phalanx of forwards swarmed across the whitewash and the predatory Olly Cowey claimed an unconverted try.
Suddenly the home side sensed the danger lights were flashing, the Vale were on full beam but Widnes were alert and kept the Vale at arm’s length to successfully ride out three minutes of stoppage time.