Vikings on the rampage
Widnes Vikings twice came from behind in a thriller at the Select Security Stadium to maintain their perfect start to the new First Utility Super League season with a 32-18 win over Salford Red Devils.
The visitors awoke from their early slumbers, brought to life by a spectacular solo try from winger Greg Johnson, to play their part in a free-flowing encounter but were undone by Kevin Brown's late try double.
Stand-off Brown returned from injury, along with skipper Jon Clarke, to spearhead the Vikings' third consecutive victory, which enables them to draw level at the top of the table with Leeds Rhinos and St Helens.
Salford, without injured England pair Rangi Chase and Gareth Hock, were clinging to an 18-14 lead when Brown took a return pass from Magraff Leuluai to score the decisive try on 66 minutes and he made sure of the win with a second 10 minutes later.
Widnes, with forward Phil Joseph in impressive form, dominated for long periods of the first half, taking the lead when centre Chris Dean took Rhys Hanbury's pass to crash over out wide after being earlier denied by Jake Mullaney's last-ditch tackle on the line.
Brown had created the attacking position by regathering his own grubber kick and he and full-back Hanbury, who needed to pass a late fitness test, were at the heart of the Vikings' attacking moves.
Stand-off Theo Fages and centre Junior Sa'u went close for Salford but the Red Devils, who had failed to score in their previous game against St Helens, were unable to gain any momentum and they might have settled for a 6-0 deficit at half-time.
But they put a different complexion on the game with two quickfire tries that came out of the blue.
Johnson exploded out of a two-man tackle in his own half and rounded Hanbury to score the first before Mullaney got hooker Tommy Lee over two minutes later after Tim Smith's grubber kick ricocheted off a defender.
Mullaney added both conversions to put his side into a 12-6 lead but Danny Tickle cut the gap to four points on the stroke of half-time with a penalty awarded for obstruction and they were quickly back in front at the start of the second half.
Brown's high kick went uncontested and when the ball was fed back to Joe Mellor, the half-back scythed through a fragmented defence for the Vikings' second try.
That levelled the scores and Tickle's third goal edged his side in front but, as the game opened up, there were chances at both ends.
Johnson lost the ball attempting to score a second try but there was no stopping Fages on 55 minutes when he wriggled free from Mellor's tackle to finish off a break by Mullaney.
It needed a last-ditch challenge from Widnes winger Paddy Flynn to deny Fages a second try before Mullaney pulled off a tremendous tackle to haul Flynn down just short of the line.
The Salford defence was, however, unable to regroup in time to prevent Hanbury scoring from the next play-the-ball and Tickle's fourth goal meant the lead changed hands for the fourth time.
Widnes then made the game safe when Brown went over twice in 10 minutes and Tickle maintained his 100 per cent record with his sixth goal.