Super League: Wigan Warriors edge out Widnes Vikings
Last Updated: 07/06/13 10:39pm
Super League leaders Wigan Warriors held on for a 33-32 win in a 12-try Friday night thriller against Widnes Vikings at the Select Security Stadium.
A topsy-turvy contest remained in the balance right through to the final hooter with Widnes wing Patrick Ah Van completing his hat-trick in the 78th minute to bring his side within one point.
Despite getting the ball back, Widnes could not find a way through in a frantic finale and Wigan survived to claim their 13th consecutive victory in all competitions.
The Warriors, who were without Sam Tomkins and handed a debut to club legend Jason Robinson's son Lewis Tierney at full-back, scored six tries including two for Anthony Gelling.
Tierney, with his father watching on from the stands, marked his arrival in Super League with a first-half try and there were also scores from Logan Tomkins, Josh Charnley and Scott Taylor.
Taylor's effort in the 74th minute immediately followed a drop goal from Sam Powell to give Wigan breathing space at 33-26 in front - and they needed it as Ah Van crossed late on and Jack Owens landed the conversion.
The youthful Wigan side had led 16-4 but trailed 26-22 after a Rhys Hanbury-orchestrated Widnes fightback.
Wigan had nine first-teamers out but were still quickly into their stride as Tomkins' brother Logan drove over from dummy half after just three minutes.
Widnes produced a quick response as Ah Van charged over in the corner from a powerful flat pass by Hanbury.
Tierney, with his father watching on from the stands, showed some nimble footwork as he chased back to claim a high Hanbury kick under pressure and soon made a telling contribution in attack. The Warriors moved upfield expertly and the 18-year-old was on hand to take a Chris Tuson pass and cross in the corner.
Josh Charnley curled over the touchline conversion and Wigan looked in complete command after scrum-half George Williams showed great vision to pick out Gelling with a crossfield kick.
But Widnes stunned Wigan with two tries in the closing 13 minutes of the first half. Hanbury first burst through a small gap to send forward Adam Lawton over and further showed his creative abilities to set up another with a deft kick for Owens to pass inside to Frank Winterstein. With Owens converting both, the scores were level at the break.
Widnes carelessly allowed Charnley to break through a tackle and the winger seized an opening to race the length of the field and cross for the eighth consecutive match. He converted his own try and Wigan almost had another on their next attack but Gelling was denied by a forward pass.
Hanbury was not prepared to let Widnes lie down and he levelled the scores again with an individual effort after collecting Dave Allen's offload.
Wigan were frustrated when Harrison Hansen was denied by the video referee and Widnes countered quickly to take the lead as Hanbury picked out Ah Van with another fine pass. Ah Van then thought he had his hat-trick but was ruled to have just been pushed into touch by the video referee.
Wigan made the most of that reprieve with a break upfield that saw Gelling cross to level the scores. Charnley could not manage the conversion but Wigan did edge back ahead when Powell landed a drop goal with eight minutes remaining.
Powell made another impressive intervention moments later with a darting run and brilliant pass for Scott Taylor to claim what proved the decisive try, although there was still time for Ah Van to complete his treble.