The league leaders opened at breakneck speed and they took the lead at 2.57 when Thomas Soar was put clear of the defence. After Filip Supa broke clear and saw his shot saved, Wild equalised at 5.04, Dunford and Ratcliffe combining to allow Ben Brown to fire low to the left past Hewitt. Wild took at 2-1 lead at 7.04 when Lee Pollitt and Filip Supa combined well down the left to feed Joe Greaves who fired into the net from close range. The Barons equaliser came with the visitors down to three skaters following two minor penalties. With Wild pressing, Josh Bruce was sent clear to slot past Greg Ruxton. The visitors took the lead at 11.57 when following a breakaway on the right ,Otterson scored from close in on the right.
After Wild shocked the crowd with an equaliser by Tom Ratcliffe at 21.50, the visitors gradually took control and were 4-3 ahead by 26.15 when following a quick breakout, outstanding forward Joe Henry shot high into the right corner . Within minutes they had taken full control, with further goals from Henry and Perry Doyle, to lead 6 -3. After Slater had scored a seventh at 30.03, Joe Henry completed his hat trick with an unstoppable shot which found the top corner. The speed of the visitor counter attack was proving a major problem for a tiring Wild defence.
Despite a disappointing second period, It was a rejuvenated Wild which came out for the third period. The fans rose to their feet when young George Crawshaw, making his debut for Widnes scored his first senior goal at 45.19. Straight from the restart, Lee Pollitt and Bez Hughes combined down the left for Filip Supa to fire home a fifth Wild goal. Despite long spells of Widnes pressure no more goals were forthcoming and the Barons wrapped up the game with goal number nine at 56.42 - Thomas Soar being the scorer.
A terrific battling performance in the final period, sent Widnes fans home happy. A disastrous six minute spell in the second period was the home sides undoing, but for periods of the game they matched their illustrious opponents. Young George Crawshaw took the Wild MVP for an energetic, skilled and fearless performance.
Report by Dick GillinghamPhoto by Geoff White - www.gw-images.co.uk