Widnes were made to work to secure progression in the Challenge Cup, beating Swinton 32-16.
The game was finely poised at 10-all in the second half when Jack Hansen’s 40/20 attempt sailed out on the full, and from the resulting field position, Widnes broke the stalemate through Kenny Baker.
Errors were to prove Swinton’s downfall, and when a suicidal offload by Mike Butt in front of his own posts was pounced upon by Callum Wood, Widnes took advantage of the gift of possession to score through Macgraff Leuluai.
That looked to have made the game all but safe, until Mike Butt’s long-range effort off a Rhodri Lloyd break threatened a comeback.
But Deon Cross’ sixth try in as many Widnes outings made the game safe on 75 minutes.
Tim Sheens handed a debut to Lewis Hulme at hooker in the absence of Logan Tomkins, whose partner has just had a baby, while there was a surprise inclusion for Shane Grady, who had been forced off against Whitehaven last week with a head knock.
Widnes had taken the lead on five minutes when Jake Spedding burst down the right hand side and made use of winger Cross coming on the inside to dummy and then go himself.
Just like Whitehaven the week before though, Swinton got to grips with the game and provided a real test for Widnes.
Props Lewis Hatton and Gavin Bennion were a thorn in the Vikings armoury and after Butt had got Swinton on the board, Hatton crashed over under the posts to put them 10-6 in front.
That’s how it stayed until Johnson picked up an offload from Joe Edge close to the left touchline and finished well to level things up at 10-10 at half time.
It was an even opening to the second half, and for a spell, it looked like Swinton were in the ascendancy.
But when Hansen’s loose kick gifted Widnes territory, they earned a penalty to compound the Lions’ woe, and Jack Owens created enough space for Baker to get over.
Baker would have a hand in Cross’ try too, his one-on-one steal enabling Lyons and Lloyd Roby to link up to send Cross away.
And then in the last minute, with the game in the bag, Widnes chanced their arm on the left hand side, quick hands through Owens and Edge sending Johnson away close to the touchline, his inside ball sending Lyons in unopposed for a sixth try.
Widnes: Lyons, Johnson, Edge, Spedding, Cross, Owens, Smith, T Chapelhow, Hulme, Moran, Wilde, Grady, Baker. Subs: Wood, J Chapelhow, Leuluai, Roby.
Swinton: Butt, Lepori, Grant, Cox, Wood, Hansen, Fairclough, Bennion, Waterworth, Hatton, Lloyd, Halton, Hope. Subs: Brickhill, Brogan, Thomas, Morris.