Steve Akrigg admitted that his Widnes side weren’t at their best but was pleased, nonetheless, as the Whites made it seven straight wins in all competitions with a 3-1 home win over Winsford United in the Hallmark Security League Premier Division on Monday.
Ben Hodkinson netted a hat-trick on only his second start in a Widnes shirt, netting twice from the spot in 2 second half minutes after opening the scoring with a near-post header in the first half.
Callum Gardner’s replied 20 minutes from time for Winsford, slotting home beyond stand-in Widnes goalkeeper Germano Mendes.
“I don’t think it was our best performance to be honest, but it’s a 3-1 victory to make it seven on the bounce so I’m very happy,” Akrigg told his club`s official Pitchero website. “The pitch was a bit hard, I’d rather have the game be on like that than off because it keeps that momentum going.
“We’re a footballing side and we like to get the ball down no matter the surface. I don’t think that Winsford look to play out from the back. They looked to hit us on the break and turn us which they did effectively against us in August.
“But credit to the lads, they’ve dealt with it well and come away with three points.
“If someone had offered me seven straight wins a couple of weeks or so ago, I’d have snapped their hand off, so I’m delighted.”
Akrigg singled out hat-trick hero Hodkinson for praise, crediting the Bootle man for taking his chance when given the nod.
He said: “I’m made up for him.
“Obviously, he played against Charnock and got injured. Since then, he hasn’t really had a chance to get back into the side with Kev Towey, Brad Smart and Sam Henry all scoring.
“He got a start tonight and I’m pleased with the way he won the penalty, and got back up to take it himself. He then stepped up and took the next one as well.
“To have the guts to do that shows how confident he is and to get a hat-trick on only his second start is great for him.”
Next up for Widnes is a trip to Charnock Richard on Saturday, the last side to beat Widnes.
Akrigg is fully aware of the task at-hand, believing that his side owe them one after last month’s 3-0 home defeat.
He said: “We owe them one, let`s be honest.
“They’re the only side to have come here and I’ve watched it thinking that we were second-best.
“On the day, they were better than us and we were off the pace. They used their strengths and won fair and square.
“It’s up to us now to go there and use our strengths to go and get three points.
“A win would put more pressure on them and the teams around us. A couple of weeks ago, we were 20 points off the top and now we’re only three points off.
“In four weeks, pulling seventeen points back is massive. Teams have got games in hand, but they’ve got to be won, and teams will take points off each other.
“I couldn’t be happier with the lads at the minutes and hopefully, that carries on to Saturday”.