Hull FC 10 Wigan 14
Liam Marshall pounced for a dramatic match-winning try as Wigan snapped their three-game losing run.
The Warriors were trailing 10-8 when Sam Tomkins struck a penalty to lock the scores and set-up a tense finish.
Tomkins then saw a drop-goal attempt ricochet off the woodwork, but Wigan were alert enough to react and Marshall collected a looping pass from Sean O’Loughlin and zipped over.
They had the desire and defensive mettle to repel Hull’s attempts to salvage the result, and claim a gutsy victory which will lift some of the gloom which had been hanging over the club in recent weeks.
The game marked a personal milestone for Tomkins. In his 200th appearance for Wigan over two spells, he became only the 10th player to score both 100 tries and 100 goals (or drop-goals) for the club.
This was Wigan’s third match in Hull in little more than a month - following two trips to KR - but the first against FC on English soil this year. The Cherry and Whites won 24-10 in the ‘home’ game they moved to Wollongong, Australia. They headed to the KCom knowing it was not a venue to fear; they had won nine of 10 visits there since Shaun Wane joined the first-team set-up in 2010.
As expected, Marshall and Ben Flower returned to the side which lost 32-16 at Wakefield, with Liam Farrell (ankle) and debutant Craig Mullen dropping out. Hull FC welcomed back key players Albert Kelly and Danny Houghton.
Wigan took a slender 8-6 lead into the break and while there was only a try apiece in the opening half, it was a lot of fun.
They started like two veteran boxers, jabbing through the early stages as they tested each other out, before the game broke open with thrills and spills, half-chances and missed-chances.
Tom Davies was denied a try in the corner and a raking 40-20 from Sam Powell allowed them to pressure the FC line. For the hosts, Bureta Faraimo pinballed down field and Jake Connor also broke, without troubling the scoreboard.
Wigan broke the deadock in the 24th minute. Dan Sarginson’s touchdown would have certainly gone to the video referee, had this been a televised match - to see whether he grounded before tumbling over the deadball line - there was no question over how impressive the build-up was.
It started on Wigan’s line when Williams defused a kick, broke, and passed to the supporting Marshall. He blazed into FC territory and after being dragged down, George Williams floated a kick over the retreating defence for Sarginson to collect. Tomkins converted and minutes later, booted a penalty to put them 8-0 ahead.
In between his two strikes, Marshall and Oliver Gildart were both denied tries. But it wasn’t all going their way and before half-time, Faraimo punished a fragile defence just before the break and, with Connor tagging on the extras, it cut the visitors’ lead to just two points.
The hosts made the brighter start to the second-half, influential halfback Kelly going close to grounding his own stabbed kick-through. The error-count crept up as the rain fell down, and after a lull in activity, Faraimo dived over - from a sweet Connor pass - to make it 10-8 and put FC ahead for the first time. The latter couldn’t add the extras.
Wigan continued to gift easy territory and had a let-off when ex-Warrior Scott Taylor lost the ball as he went for a try. The visitors recovered and, with talisman O’Loughlin pulling the strings and Tomkins probing, began to press the hosts’ line.
Marshall again crossed and was again called back for a forward pass in the build-up. Just as the clock passed the 70th minute mark, Tomkins struch a penalty to lock the scores and set-up a nerve-shredding finish. And the tension was ratcheted up after Kelly received treatment following a late tackle by Tony Clubb, which went unpunished - referee Hicks ruling the prop had been committed to the challenge.
Wigan powered down field and retook the lead in dramatic circumstances.
After Williams went close, Tomkins’ drop-goal attempt ricocheted off the post. Flower regathered, passed to O’Loughlin, who launched a looping ball to his left for Marshall to blaze away and score.
Tomkins couldn’t convert but it put Wigan into a 14-10 lead, which they held onto in a frantic finish.
This was their sixth game on the road - there is a seventh, against Castleford, before they return home later this month.
Hull FC: Shaul; Faraimo, Connor, Tuimavave, Miloudi; Kelly, Harris; Taylor, Houghton, Green, Downs, Minichiello, Washbrook. Subs: Fash, Paea, Logan, Matongo.
Wigan: Tomkins; Davies, Sarginson, Gildart, Marshall; Williams, Powell; Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, Bateman, Isa, O’Loughlin. Subs: Escare, Hamlin, Navarrete, Field.
Referee: Robert Hicks