PICTURES EDDIE WHITHAM
IT may be too little too late but Warrington Wolves dug deep to record a memorable 10-16 victory over Wigan Warriors at the DW Stadium.
The victory kept their slim hopes of making the top eight alive but they will need bottom of the table Leigh Centurions to pull off a shock at Huddersfield Giants tomorrow evening, to keep their dream alive.
The Wolves got off to the worst possible start as they were put under pressure from the kick off as Stefan Ratchford fumbled.
From the resulting set Wigan were over the whitewash with little more than one minute on the clock as Thomas Leuluai kicked to the corner with Oliver Gildart winning the race to the ball to touchdown. George Williams was wide with the conversion.
Warrington settled from their shaky start and eventually drew level on 13 minutes when young frenchman Benjamin Jullien forced his way over from close range after being fed by Ratchford who was unable to convert from out wide.
Wigan took the lead again on 20 minutes from a penalty for holding down. Leuluai broke dowen the middle to send the supporting John Bateman over near the sticks, making the conversion a formality for Williams opening up a 10-4 lead.
But back came Warrington as a kick from Dec Patton was palmed back by Tom Lineham allowing Ryan Atkins to score. Ratchford was unable to convert from out wide as the half finished 10-8.
Warrington started the second half well but then put themselves under needless pressure giving away back to back penalties.
But they defended well on their own try line holding out three consecutive sets and a drop out.
Their defensive efforts were eventually rewarded on 57 minutes when Ben Currie marked his comeback with a try following good work by man of the match Atkins and a precision kick by Patton. Currie, who celebrates his 23rd birthday on Saturday won the race to the ball to touchdown, much to the rejoice of the travelling barmy army.
The kicking boots were handed to Patton who nervously missed the kick leaving the scoreline at 10-12.
On 59 minutes, following the three previous conversion misses, Ratchford took back the kicking duties to slot over a penalty to make it 10-14.
Then on 75 minutes after Hiku was harsgly ruled to have knocked on, he took a punch to the head which was seen by the officials and Ratchford banged over another penalty to make it 10-16 with the clock ticking down.
Wigan launched one more attack but the Wolves held out for only their second away victory of the campaign.
After the match Head of Coaching Tony Smith praised the defensive effort.
“Defensively we were outstanding. We needed to step up after last week and we did. We need to step up again next week.”
All eyes now turn to Hudersfield v Leigh tomorrow evening. If the Giants avoid defeat Warrington will be facing a possible relegation battle in the middle 8s.
Wigan: S. Tomkins, Marshall, Gelling, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Leuluai, Nuuausala, McIlorum, Sutton, Isa, Bateman, O’Loughlin.
Replacements: Clubb, Powell, Tautai, Wells.
Warrington: Ratchford, Hiku, Pomeroy, Atkins, Lineham, Patton, Gidley, Hill, Clark, Sims, Jullien, Hughes, Cooper.
Replacements: Currie, Savelio, Philbin, Smith.
Referee: James Child