WIDNES were put to the sword ay Heywood Road by an impressive Sale side out for revenge.
The hosts were clearly still smarting from defeat at Heath Road a month earlier.
Sale had a try on the board inside the first eight minutes from winger Dave Moore - the first of his four touchdowns - before Andy Riley reduced the arrears with a penalty.
But that was to be the only early Christmas cheer the visitors were to receive, as Sale rattled up a further three scores to lead 24-3 at half-time.
The second half brought no respite for Widnes, although Andy McIntosh made a welcome return to action from the bench.
He showed some invention and skill on his return. However, it was never going to be enough to turn the game around.
Unfortunately, despite a solid debut effort from new signing Steve Burke, Widnes coughed up far too much possession in the second half.
Sale took full advantage, rattling up a further 26 points.
Widnes now have a two-week break before they resume league action on January 6.
Coach Lee McDermott will be working hard with his squad to prepare them for a crucial second half of the season.
Widnes 2nd 10 Rochdale 2nd 15
WIDNES gave it everything but what would have been their first victory since the third week of the campaign just would not come.
Despite the very wet and heavy conditions, Widnes took the game to a side which had already thrashed them by 60 points.
Rochdale had an early lead with a penalty, before Gareth Riley equalised.
The visitors then added a scrappy try to send them in 8-3 to the good at half-time.
Despite the valiant efforts of the home side, Rochdale had some luck when they were awarded a penalty try which extended their lead to 15-3.
However, a Gareth Riley break created a move through the backs which saw winger Tony Fretwell go over.
In the last quarter, Widnes threw everything at Rochdale, but were unable to get the try that would have won them the game.
Captain Derek Dyer praised his charges and picked out veterans 'Crack' Riley and Jon Witter as outstanding.
'We are playing with no luck at all the moment and the efforts of Mark Loughnane, Gareth Riley and Mark Housley, coming back after injury, deserved better,' he said.
With a home game to come against Wilmslow this weekend, a victory could be the best Christmas present they could ask for.
Widnes 3rd 46 Bolton 3rd 5
WIDNES continued their run of good league form with an outstanding win in truly dreadful conditions.
It was sweet revenge for the hosts, whose November loss at Bolton had been their worst performance of the season.
This time, there was to be no repeat. They had two tries on the board inside the first quarter from John Maher and newcomer Steve Ellis.
When centre Geoff Owens, Rob Council and Mally Koo all added tries, there was no way back for the visitors.
Widnes rang the changes at half-time, but the second half was still dominated by the Heath Road pack.
Andy Rigby, Ainsley Wright and Clive Winstanley were all prominent.
Man of the match Mally Koo scored his second before Bolton responded with their only try.
Pack leader Si Bruce was in the right place at the right time to plunge over for his fifth try in three games before Geoff Owens scored his second.
With a festive break now beckoning, the thirds can have a rest and look forward to their annual challenge with the Under 19s on December 30 (ko 2pm).
The Colts' home game against Winnington Park was called off due to waterlogged pitches and will be played in the New Year.