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Bradford 28 Widnes 32

Two tries from former Bradford Bulls winger Patrick Ah Van capped a spirited fightback and helped give Widnes Vikings their first victory at Odsal for almost 23 years.
Bradford 28 Widnes 32
by rleague.com

Two tries from former Bradford Bulls winger Patrick Ah Van capped a spirited fightback and helped give Widnes Vikings their first victory at Odsal for almost 23 years.

Ah Van struck twice in less than three minutes near the end as Widnes won a game in which they had trailed 18-4 midway through the first half.

It was 13th time lucky as the Cheshire side had gained just a point - a 25-25 draw in 2005 - from their previous dozen visits to the West Yorkshire venue dating back to September 1990.

Rhys Hanbury and Stefan Marsh also claimed two tries apiece as Widnes wiped away the memories of a string of near-misses to claim their second away triumph of the season.

Bradford, who have now lost four matches in succession and won only one of their last eight, must have thought they had their play-off hopes back on track when they still led 28-16 with barely 20 minutes to play.

But three Widnes scores in the next 10 minutes gave the the Vikings their first success in six games.

The Bulls began well with prop Adam Sidlow charging diagonally through a tempting gap to open the scoring; Luke Gale, with the first of four conversions, added the extras.

Keith Lulia helped increase the home side's lead to 12-0 after 16 minutes when he carried over a superb offload from Danny Addy.

The tide briefly turned when a high shot on Dave Allen put the Vikings in the danger zone for the first time.

Livewire full-back Hanbury then scythed through the home defence to score, although Jack Owens surprisingly missed the conversion.

A Nick Scruton break quickly had the Bulls on the attack again and Gale's unexpected change of direction enabled James Donaldson to cross for his first try of the season.

Substitute Phil Joseph, a former Bradford player, barged over the whitewash with his first touch of the ball but lost control amid some desperate-yet-effective efforts to prevent him from grounding the ball.

However, Marsh gained reward for plenty of Widnes pressure late in the half by taking Kevin Brown's pass and going over just 14 seconds before the break, Owens this time kicking the goal to leave Bradford 18-10 ahead.

Within three minutes of the restart, Gareth Hock put Hanbury in for his second try with Owens' fine touchline conversion closing the gap to just two points.

Quick hands from Brett Kearney and Adrian Purtell enabled Elliot Kear to squeeze over in the corner for a Bulls try but Gale's first miss of the afternoon left the hosts still only six points clear.

Yet, two minutes later, Michael Platt broke down the other flank, a break and magnificent dummy leaving him free to race behind the posts to give Bradford much-needed breathing space.

Still the Vikings refused to lie down, however, and Hanbury created a second try for Marsh just before the hour mark - although again Owens could not conquer the blustery wind and angle.

Ah Van then came to the fore, first collecting a Gale kick deep in his own half and racing 80 metres for the game's most spectacular score, with Owen's third conversion narrowing the deficit to two points for the second time.

Barely three minutes later and Ah Van was in again at the corner and Owens completed the comeback with his fourth goal from six attempts - from the touchline.

Bradford Bulls 28
Tries: Adam Sidlow, Keith Lulia, James Donaldson, Elliot Kear, Michael Platt
Goals: Luke Gale 4

Widnes Vikings 32
Tries: Rhys Hanbury 2, Stefan Marsh 2, Patrick Ah Van 2
Goals: Jack Owens 4

Date: Sunday 23rd June 2013
Venue: Provident Stadium, Odsal
Crowd: 8,124
Referee: R Hicks
Half Time: Bradford 18-10


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