Wigan survive scare

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Published: Friday 19th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Wigan scored two controversial tries in the second half as they recovered from 12-0 down to snatch a 19-12 victory over Salford in the First Utility Super League.

Liam Farrell and Dan Sarginson were both adjudged to have touched down in tight circumstances as a re-energised Salford side attempted to repel a Warriors fightback at the DW Stadium.

Salford had led 6-0 at half-time after a Cory Paterson score and Josh Griffin added another before Joe Burgess’ 13th try of the season began lacklustre Wigan’s revival.

With Matty Smith contributing seven points, Wigan’s victory took them within a point of league leaders St Helens.

Defeat was a blow to Salford’s hopes of reaching the top eight but, ahead of next week’s promised big announcement by owner Dr Marwan Koukash, their resilience will have encouraged coach Iestyn Harris.

Harris fielded a side with plenty of attacking intent with fit-again Michael Dobson and Theo Fages in the halves with playmaker Rangi Chase at full-back.

But with on-loan Wigan hooker Logan Tomkins in the line-up and two other returning players in Weller Hauraki and Lama Tasi, their defence was also worthy of plaudits.

Dobson immediately slotted back in and within 10 minutes had set up the opening score for Paterson, who crashed over by the posts and Griffin converted.

That proved the only try of the first half as defences dominated.

Wigan full-back Matty Bowen, impressing after last week’s horror show against St Helens, confidently took a high kick from Fages but a promising move broke down.

Dom Manfredi almost found the space to squeeze over on the right for Wigan but was pushed into touch by Mason Caton-Brown before Ben Flower was stopped short after a quick break by Liam Farrell.

A kick for the corner by Bowen proved just too strong for Burgess and the frustration of home fans became apparent when Sarginson squandered a good opening with a heavy kick.

Wigan left the field to boos at half-time, having been unable to break Salford’s powerful defence, and the hosts were caught napping immediately after the restart.

This time Fages was the creator, turning inside for Griffin to dive over under the posts for a self-converted try.

Wigan started to show greater urgency and clawed themselves back into the game as Burgess plucked a high kick from Smith out of the air to score for a ninth game in succession.

The Warriors lost Flower after an apparent blow to the head but continued to apply the pressure. Salford held out for a prolonged period but eventually cracked just after the hour as Burgess managed to kick before being bundled into touch and Farrell pounced.

The Wigan forward looked perilously close to the dead ball line but, with no recourse to a video official, referee Joe Cobb awarded the try.

But if that one was a tight call, the next was even more controversial. Bowen drove close to the line and Michael McIlorum dabbed a kick in-goal. A scramble ensued and Salford thought they had defused the situation but Sarginson claimed a vital touch and, after consulting his officials, Cobb eventually agreed.

Smith’s third conversion gave the Warriors a six-point lead and a drop goal from the scrum-half gave the hosts a decisive edge.

Published: Friday 19th June 2015 by The News Editor

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