REPORT: Widnes 2-1 AFC Darwen
Widnes come from behind to progress in the Macron Cup
George Lomax and Kev Towey both scored second half goals as Widnes came from behind to beat AFC Darwen 2-1 to book their place in the last eight of the Macron Cup.
Joint bosses Towey and Steve Akrigg made four changes to the side that beat Runcorn Linnets last time out. Skipper Kev Pollard, Michael Grogan and Jack Banister all dropped to the bench as Mike Burke, Chris Lomax and Danny Laverty came into the side.
Meanwhile, Sean Myler was rested with Jay Roberts returning from an ankle injury at right-back.
The two sides came into the game in contrasting form. Widnes had won 17 of their previous 19 games stretching back to late November - a run that includes a 15 game unbeaten league run.
AFC Darwen, currently sitting second bottom of the Hallmark Security League Premier Division, had won once in 12 games in all competitions over the same period of time.
While the form guide may have suggested only one possible outcome, Darwen welcomed their break from league action and led at the break as Sidi Fofana struck four minutes before half-time to give the visitors a narrow advantage.
Staring down the barrel of only their second defeat of 2018, Widnes rallied and quickly levelled the scoreline four minutes into the second half, as George Lomax marked his 50th Widnes appearance with a well-taken goal.
Widnes piled on the pressure, which eventually produced the goods as Towey notched his 16th goal of the season to secure his side's safe passage through to the last eight.
Joining Widnes in the hat thus far are Burscough, Stockport Town and Winsford United, with four more third round contests still to be played.
Widnes will become quite familiar with Darwen over the next four weeks, with both league meetings still to be played. The two sides go head-to-head in the first of those fixtures this coming Saturday at the Halton Stadium. Kick-off 3pm.