Widnes Vikings fell to their first defeat of the Betfred Championship season, after Danny Ward’s London Broncos took a comprehensive 38-12 victory back to the capital.

Dual-registration players Dec Patton and Leilani Latu were unable to inspire the Vikings as London ran over five unanswered first-half tries put the Broncos in the ascendency early on.

Deon Cross and Jack Owens managed to reduce the arrears early in the second period, but the hosts failed to build up enough steam to mount any sort of comeback, with Corey Aston completing the Broncos’ victory late on.

“It was a very disappointing first-half. I know we chose to run into the wind and we chose to do that last week as well, but it was a different standard of side today,” Sheens told the press.

“They played extremely well down the short sides, made good yardage and were miles too strong for us down the middle.

“We have a pretty good back-line at this club, but we just didn’t do enough in the middle.”

Two wins in two games and sat third in the league standings, Sheens’ tenure as Vikings head coach couldn’t have got off to a better start. However, they were coming up against a resilient Broncos pack, who took their fight for 2019 Super League survival right to the wire.

And it was Ward’s side who started the brighter. A free-flowing move over to the right eventually found James Meadows, who would have made the breakthrough, only to be held-up in the Vikings’ try area.

Despite spending much of the opening stages defending on their own try-line, it was the hosts who opened the scoring. The Broncos were penalised for holding down after great link-up play between Dec Patton and Owens, and the latter was able to slot over the two points and give the Widnes an 11th-minute lead.

The home side’s lead did not last long, though, as the visitors hit back in convincing style. Owens fumbled a high kick and coughed up possession, gifting Josh Walters the chance to muscle on over the right-hand side.

After their opening try, London really started to assert their dominance onto the contest. With Widnes pushing forward, Patton’s pass out wide fell nicely into the hands of rapid winger Kieran Dixon, who completed a full length-of-the-field try to hand the visitors a two-score advantage.

With a side inundated with Super League professionals, London and Matty Fozard didn’t waste any time in adding to their already well-established lead. The Broncos cut through their opponents with ease, with the stand-off completing their second try in five minutes.

Dennis was providing the conditions, but it was the visitors who were cooking up a first-half storm, as Ward’s side added a double in the final 10 minutes to extend their already healthy advantage.

Eddie Battye was the first to touch down after the loose-forward latched onto the end of Eloi Pelissier’s reverse pass before the Frenchman added one of his own, powering over from dummy-half.

Dixon maintained a good average with the boot to give visitors a controlling 26-point advantage at the interval.

If any hope of mounting a serious comeback, the hosts would have to race out of the traps and Widnes looked lively from the off. Jake Spedding broke the line to push the Vikings forward and just moments later, a fluid move across the line found its way over to Cross, who dived over in the corner to reduce the deficit to 20.

However, just as the hosts were picking up steam, London wasted no time in reinstating their 26-point advantage. Spedding’s pass was picked from the air by Tuoyo Egodo, who was able to run through unchallenged to score.

The second-half pendulum was swinging back and forth, with the hosts adding another just after the hour mark. Patton’s towering kick forced a knock-on at the Broncos’ back and from the next set, Owens was able to ghost through the London pack to touch down under the posts.

With the game knowingly out of sight, both sides played out a scrappy final 10 minutes, however, there was time for one final try. Aston burst through to race over, sending London back home two points better off.

Despite the defeat, Sheens was pleased with the arrangement Widnes have with the Wolves and was pleased with both Patton and Latu.

“I am happy with the arrangement we have with Warrington,” Sheens explained.

“The big thing will be bringing people in and them adapting to our game. They both put in an effort, though, and I am not pointing any fingers at those two.

“The majority of our play felt reasonably comfortable the last two weeks and we went out there and got a bit of a shock early.”