MICKEY Higham pinched a 75th-minute try for Warrington Wolves to snatch back the lead and steal away Wigan’s unbeaten run of 13 games.
The Warriors had been unbeaten since an 18-14 loss to Leeds at Headingley in March and were so close to extending the run and tightening their grip on Super League’s top spot.
Wigan led from 10 minutes into the second half when Anthony Gelling strode over but two late Wolves tries - the other going to Wiganer Chris Hill - left Shaun Wane still looking for his first win over the Wolves as Wigan coach.
After a dominant start from the Warriors, Warrington capitalised on a penalty in the eighth minute when Dom Crosby held down Hill.
On the next set Higham flung a pass to Ben Westwood and the second rower crashed over the line.
The try was awarded once the video referee had checked for obstruction.
Wigan responded with the much-missed Matty Smith putting Harrison Hansen through a gap on half way but Hansen couldn’t get a pass to the supporting Sam Tomkins.
In the 15th minute Crosby was again the culprit as he held down Hill allowing the Wolves to make good ground form the penalty.
And again the home side found the try line but this time the video referee decided Brett Hodgson was short of the mark as he stretched out one handed.
Warrington stood up to a period of Wigan pressure which included dealing with a Josh Charnley break and holding Pat Richards over the line.
The pressure was quashed when Lee Briers flung himself at a Wigan pass close to his own line and caught the ball before it hit the deck.
From here the Wolves had little trouble negotiating their way up field for Monaghan to again go hurtling towards the line.
The Warriors survived with a three man tackle initiated by Anthony Gelling bundling the Aussie winger into touch.
But he would have time to crack the cherry and white defence before the half was over when he latched onto a Briers kick which Richards failed to bat dead.
A second opinion was called in again and despite a claim of lack of downward pressure on the grounding once the play had come through scrutiny for obstruction, the try was given.
Warrington threatened to put the match beyond Wigan as early as the first minute of the second half when Richie Myler launched through but the pass from Ben Currie was forward.
The Warriors recovered to get the start they desperately needed when Sam Tomkins slipped through from 10 metres out to plonk the ball on the line after two minutes in.
Bentham called the video referee yet again - this time to see if Hansen had obstructed the defence when Wigan’s captain for the night took Smith’s pass.
With the Wigan following reaching crescendo, Cook Islands international Gelling had the away stand bouncing when he dummied Hodgson to bring Wigan level.
Richards, steady as ever, landed his second goal of the night to suddenly put Wane’s charges, with nine first team players missing through injury, in front.
In typical fashion of games between the sides Warrington’s collective adrenaline dictated Wigan were by far from able to dominate.
Charnley in particular cooked on gas as he tackled and caught everything the Warrington attack threw at his wing and he was nearly rewarded when Wigan next charged upfield.
Crosby broke through with no support and from the next play, Sam Tomkins, desperate to extend the lead, dabbed a kick for Charnley but instead found Atkins.
With five minutes to go, Chris Riley broke and kicked under pressure from Sam Tomkins.
A three-horse race ensued between Riley, Tomkins and Charnley and when the ball stood up in goal after none managed to ground it - Higham, seemingly from nowhere, pounced to score.
Two minutes later, Hill crashed over to put the home side out of sight.
Tries: Westwood, J Monaghan, Higham, Hill
Goals: Hodgson 3
Tries: S Tomkins, Gelling
Goals: Richards 2
Referee: Phil Bentham
Warrington Wolves: Brett Hodgson, Chris Riley, Ryan Atkins, Stefan Ratchford, Joel Monaghan, Lee Briers, Richie Myler, Paul Wood, Micky Higham, Chris Hill, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Westwood, Simon Grix.
Replacements: Adrian Morley (c), Michael Monaghan, Garreth Carvell, Ben Currie.
Wigan Warriors: Sam Tomkins (c), Josh Charnley, Darrell Goulding, Anthony Gelling, Pat Richards, Sam Powell, Matty Smith, Lee Mossop, Logan Tomkins, Dom Crosby, Harrison Hansen, Liam Farrell, Greg Burke.
Replacements: Jack Hughes, Chris Tuson, Tom Spencer, George Williams.