Warrington Wolves 14 Wigan Warriors 18: Liam Farrell's late try clinches victory
Liam Farrell crossed with four minutes to go to clinch an impressive victory - and move Wigan into second spot.
The gutsy win proved the perfect tonic for their Challenge Cup hangover as they exhibited their character and resilience in abundance.
The Wolves dropped out of the top-four with defeat, but they more than played their part in a full-bloodied encounter, dominating early on and offloading at will throughout.
Man of the match Farrell fittingly had the final say, but this was no one-man show for Wigan, with Ollie Partington, Zak Hardaker and debutant Brad Singleton strong, while Harry Smith had a classy influence from the bench.
These two sides hadn't met since Wigan's 16-10 win on the opening night back in January, and both knew before kick-off that defeat would see them drop out of the play-offs positions.
Joe Burgess joined Oliver Gildart in missing out, and his wing replacement Jake Bibby fumbled an early monstrous kick, but Wigan's goal-line defence held firm.
Joe Greenwood was given a rare start but a head clash with Thomas Leuluai forced him out for a spell, allowing Morgan Smithies an early reintroduction after a six week ban.
Warrington dominated the early exchanges. Wigan appeared jaded and their defensive effort - while tigerish - lacked the usual bite.
Toby King was denied a try but makeshift centre Willie Isa was sinbinned for tackling Jake Mamo in the air.
Stefan Ratchford pulled the strings of the Wolves attack, and he punished some slack defence and punted the ball on for Matty Ashton, who was awarded a penalty after being taken out by Manfredi. Ratchford's conversion made it 6-0.
Bevan French was safe under an aerial bombardment in swirling winds, but Bibby was less assured and another spill provided the position for Chris Hill to power over.
At 12-0 down edging past the first-quarter, some fans may have feared the worse. But Wigan got into the grind, and when Partington dislodged the ball from Blake Austin and broke away, it set the platform for Greenwood to angle over. Hardaker converted.
Wigan's attack was stifled by Wolves' intensity and while they didn't lack effort, their last-play options were poor.
Singleton and Joe Shorrocks were introduced from the bench, and the fact the latter's first involvement was kicking the ball into the ingoal underlined the muddled attacks close to Warrington's line.
That issue appeared to be addressed at the break, given their response from the restart, as a crisp move to the left led to Jackson Hastings poking a kick through for Hardaker, who converted his own try.
At the other end, good work from Bibby and Leuluai quelled threats on the edges, though Ratchford's penalty - after some confusion over the call - nudged Wire 14-12 in front.
Both sides had close chances midway through the second-half. Leuluai's kick evaded Ratchford and Greenwood was on the spot, only for his punt on to bobble over the ingoal before he could reach the ball. At the other end, ex-Warrior Anthony Gelling lost the ball over the line.
Smith came off the bench and tidied up their kicking game and as the contest edged into the final 10 minutes, the Warriors appeared to be the most dominant.
Attacking Wolves' line, Hastings and Smith linked-up to send Farrell over in the 76th minute, with Hardaker tagging on the extras.
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford; Charnley, Gelling, King, Mamo; Austin, Widdop; Hill, D Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, J Clark. Subs: Philbin, Davis, Ashton, Robson
Wigan Warriors: French; Manfredi, Isa, Hardaker, Bibby; Hastings, Leuluai; Bullock, Powell, Partington, Greenwood, Farrell, O'Loughlin. Subs: Smithies, Smith, Jo Shorrocks, Singleton.
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