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Betts praise for battling Widnes
Widnes coach Denis Betts was delighted with his side's resilience as they twice came from behind to beat Salford 32-18 and maintain their perfect start to the 2014 First Utility Super League.
Stand-off Kevin Brown made a successful return from injury, scoring two crucial tries in the last 15 minutes to help the Vikings to a third successive home win that enables them to draw level with Leeds, Castleford and St Helens at the top.
"Salford came and put up a fight," Betts said. "They were very physical. They got off their line quick and were intimidating at times.
"But what you see from us is a side that has got a lot of resilience now. It's built up over a period of time.
"I thought we were scrappy from an attacking point of view but we are going to be rusty until we get our key players playing regularly.
"I thought Joe Mellor and Kevin Brown were two impressive half-backs."
Salford led 18-14 thanks to a spectacular solo try from winger Greg Johnson and others from Theo Fages and Tommy Lee, but coach Brian Noble felt the game turned on their failure to deal with Brown's high kick that produced a try for Widnes half-back Joe Mellor.
However, it was a marked improvement on their 38-0 drubbing by St Helens a week earlier and provided encouragement for Noble.
"I thought 45 or 50 minutes into the game we were in control but we didn't handle the bomb," said Noble. "It changed the course of the game.
"It's a tough place to come. They got a bit of momentum in the middle part of the second half and we didn't quite manage the game properly but I've no doubt we'll get better."
Already without England internationals Rangi Chase and Gareth Hock, the Red Devils lost centre Junior Sa'u and forward Steve Rapira with shoulder injuries while full-back Jake Mullaney finished with an ankle problem.
"We're a bit busted in there and we're a bit sorry for ourselves but we're two from two," Noble said.
"I thought we were massively improved on last week in certain areas. It's coming. We made some big strides tonight."
Meanwhile, Noble is expecting big things from Johnson, who was playing part-time rugby with Batley last season.
"I think he's really exciting for the game," Noble said. "He'll get better and better as we get him more ball in the right areas."