Workington Reds made their first ever trip to Widnes, and whilst not a particularly memorable experience, it brought them three more points.
The 1-0 victory was tighter than it should have been, but Reds were never really comfortable on the artificial surface which did little to enhance the quality of football.
Reds were by far the better side throughout but could not put away their hosts and it needed an excellent double save from Danny Eccles to ensure the win.
Eccles was deputising for Jim Atkinson and was never tested throughout the game apart from these vital stops not long after Reds had taken the lead.
A quick counter-attack by Widnes finally exposed the Reds defence and Kyle Sambor was presented with a great chance when collecting a low ball into the box.
His first effort was blocked by Eccles’ legs and when he got a second chance from the rebound saw his follow-up shot palmed away by the Reds keeper.
The goal that actually settled the game came a minute into the second-half and was created by debutant Conor Gaul.
Driving out of his own half down the left he did well to get past the first defender before playing a perfect pass for Ceiran Casson to collect.
He took the ball round keeper Owen Wheeler, forced wide in the process, but from a tight angle drilled his shot home.
Apart from the scare, dealt with by Eccles, Reds comfortably controlled what was left of the game over the second-half.
Steven Rigg had a chance but shot straight at Wheeler and there were a couple of goalmouth scrambles which couldn’t produce a finish.
Reds had actually started the game well. Sam Smith found the net from a header but was ruled offside and the Cumbrians looked dangerous from a series of corners and free kicks.
Kyle Harrison, who had started the season with Widnes, won a header in the box which seemed to be just sliding wide when Iyrwah Gooden arrived late, tried to scoop it home but lifted it onto the roof of the net.
The best chance fell to Rigg after persistent work from Brad Hubbold.
He had robbed a home defender near the by-line, pulled the ball back perfectly for Rigg who looked a certain scorer. But from close-in his shot was blocked by the keeper and the rebound was scrambled clear.
Manager Chris Willcock said: “We were off the pace in the first-half and it needed a few choice words at half-time to get us going.
“I thought after scoring a lovely goal we controlled the game, although we did need the double save from Danny (Eccles) to keep our clean sheet.
“I’m extra pleased that we actually got through a game without any more injuries.”