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3 days ago
Warrington Wolves captain Lee Briers kicked a 78th-minute penalty to give his side a memorable 22-20 derby win over Wigan Warriors.
The hosts were desperate for a win having claimed just one in seven, and Briers held his nerve at the death to give his side a crucial win as they aim to secure their place in the play-offs.
Early tries by Martin Gleeson and Toa Kohe-Love put the hosts in front but Wigan - themselves on a five-game winning streak as they aim to avoid relegation - fought back and drew level with second-half tries by Sean O?Loughlin and replacement Danny Tickle.
Warrington prop Paul Wood and Wigan full-back Chris Ashton then exchanged tries before Briers won the kicking battle with Wigan?s Michael Dobson, who moments earlier screwed a drop-goal attempt wide.
Dobson had put Wigan ahead with a first-minute penalty after a high tackle by Logan Swann, but the Warriors allowed Warrington into the game almost immediately, gifting the home side field position by conceding two successive penalties at the play-the-ball.
Hooker Michael Sullivan was then stopped just short in the left corner and, after play swept to the right, the effervescent Sullivan passed to Gleeson to stroll over in the sixth minute.
Wigan responded with Iafeta Paleaaesina?s half-break putting them in a good position, only for captain O?Loughlin to knock on 15 yards out.
Warrington took full advantage, with Kohe-Love scoring a fortuitous try from the following set.
Just inside the Wigan 20, Briers sent a cross-field kick towards Brent Grose, playing on the left wing.
It was just behind Grose, and the Australian could only knock the ball backwards, but with Wigan set to pounce on the loose ball, Kohe-Love nipped in to scoop the ball up and charge into the gap.
Briers added the extras to put Warrington 10-2 ahead, but Paul Cullen?s men were then pinned back in their own half for most of the first period.
Dobson twice forced the Wolves into goal-line drop-outs with kicks into the in-goal area, while Warrington threatened with a Briers kick that was just too long for Grose.
The introduction of second-rower Harrison Hansen just before the half-hour mark revived the Wigan attack, and he was forced to hand over just two yards short before Dobson forced another goal-line drop-out, but again the home defence stood firm.
Warrington eased the pressure six minutes into the second half with Briers kicking them 12-2 ahead after Wigan?s Nathan McAvoy, filling in for winger Brett Dallas after the Australian went off with a pulled muscle, spilled possession inside his own 20.
However, Wigan finally made a breakthrough in the 50th minute, with Dobson?s grubber kick causing confusion in the Wolves defence before bouncing off a post for Tickle to touch down.
Briers kicked another penalty in the 58th minute to put the hosts 14-8 up, but Wigan levelled matters on the hour mark when another Dobson kick bounced kindly for O?Loughlin to gather and score under the posts.
Warrington regained the lead in the 68th minute when prop Wood forced his way over after Grose gained the field position with a break down the left.
Wigan were back level just two minutes later, though, when Mark Calderwood broke the Warrington line in the centre before laying off for Ashton on halfway and the impressive full-back charged over for a deserved try.
Wigan pressed to extend their winning run but Dobson kicked wide left from 20 yards before Briers sent the majority of the sell-out crowd home happy.
Warrington Wolves (10) 22 Tries: Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Wood. Goals: Briers 5.
Wigan Warriors (2) 20 Tries: Tickle, O?Loughlin, Ashton. Goals: Dobson 4.
Warrington Wolves: Reardon, Fa?afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Grose, Bridge, Briers, Leikvoll, Sullivan, Wood, Swann, Wainwright, Westwood. Replacements: Barnett, Mark Gleeson, Bracek, Parker.
Wigan Warriors: Ashton, Calderwood, Radlinski, McAvoy, Dallas, Orr, Dobson, Paleaaesina, Higham, Fielden, Hock, Fletcher, O?Loughlin. Replacements: Logan, Tickle, Godwin, Hansen.
Referee: R Silverwood (Dewsbury)