Catalans Dragons continued their recent resurgence as they handed early-season pacesetters Widnes their third defeat in nine days at Stade Gilbert Brutus.
Pat Richards’ early try for the Dragons was all that separated the sides at half-time and although the hosts extended their lead after the interval when Vincent Duport touched down, Corey Thompson’s converted score and Rhys Hanbury’s penalty levelled matters at 8-8 after an hour.
But Dave Taylor and Eloi Pelissier’s converted tries in the final quarter of an hour, plus Thomas Bosc’s drop goal, gave Catalans a 21-8 victory, their fourth success in a row, as they moved level on points with the third-placed Vikings in the Super League table.
Widnes had topped the standings ahead of the Easter schedule but suffered back-to-back defeats, and they were once again without inspirational captain Kevin Brown in Perpignan.
Dave Taylor was named man of the match.
The home side started brightly and had swift reward when Richards crossed in the fourth minute for the opening try.
Duport made the initial break and a smart short side play from Pelissier saw Taylor send Richards over in the left corner. Richards missed the conversion.
Catalans continued to have the better of the first half, but unforced errors prevented Taylor and then Tony Gigot from extending the home side’s lead.
Gigot then had a video referee decision go against him, determining that Gigot had not returned to the field after putting his foot on the touchline in the build-up to touching down the loose ball.
On the stroke of half-time Hanbury missed a penalty attempt from 40 metres out for Widnes.
The Dragons were also on top at the start of the second half, and again scored early. Taylor was the provider down the left, this time sending Duport over to score. Again Richards missed with the conversion and the score remained 8-0.
Widnes roared back into the game, building pressure on the Catalans line with a string of penalties and forcing a goal-line drop-out. From that field position a superb wide ball from Joe Mellor sent Thompson in down the right for his 11th try of the season. Hanbury converted to narrow the Catalans lead to two points.
A Hanbury penalty goal on the hour mark levelled the score, but Widnes failed to build on their fightback.
Taylor scored his try from close range following a fortunate ricochet from Duport’s kick through. Richards converted from the left to give the hosts a 14-8 lead.
With six minutes remaining Bosc added a drop goal from 15 metres before Pelissier wrestled his way over the line to the left of the posts from short range to give the hosts a comfortable last few minutes. Richards converted and Catalans were home and dry.