Bradford 16 Wigan Warriors 8

Wigans Dom Manfredi scores first half try
Wigans Dom Manfredi scores first half try

Relegated Bradford stunned reigning Super League champions Wigan 16-8 at the Provident Stadium to pick up their first win under head coach James Lowes.

Tries from Danny Williams, Joe Arundel and Matty Blythe ensured Bradford claimed their first victory since the beginning of June, with a brace from Dom Manfredi only scant consolation for Shaun Wane’s visitors.

The two points are almost academic for the Bulls, who were relegated after defeat at Huddersfield last time out, but Wigan’s fifth defeat in West Yorkshire this season could prove costly in the race for top spot, as they now trail leaders St Helens by four points with five rounds remaining.

That Wigan led after 10 minutes and were in complete control of the contest made the result even more surprising, but that was about as good as it got for the Warriors all afternoon in terms of performance.

A smart pass from Matty Bowen put winger Manfredi away and he was simply too quick for the scrambling Bulls defence as he went over in the corner to break the deadlock.

From then on though, the rest of the first 40 minutes was dominated by the Bulls, who battled back to lead at the break.

Despite losing full-back Brett Kearney to injury - in an incident that saw Wigan skipper Sean O’Loughlin placed on report - they nudged in front when a slick passing move freed winger Williams, who scored his first try in Bradford colours. Luke Gale’s conversion edged Bradford into the lead and, against the odds, they would extend it further still before half-time.

From a routine scrum, Adam O’Brien out-thought and outpaced the Warriors defence, before providing an outstanding offload for Arundel, who flew in under the posts. Bradford’s best half of rugby in 2014 - combined with perhaps Wigan’s worst - saw them hold the advantage 12-4 at the interval.

Wigan fans could have been forgiven for starting to think this would not be their day. After Bradford coughed up possession in their own half early in the second period, Charnley found himself in acres of space, with a try seeming like a certainty. However, Lee Gaskell produced an incredible tackle that not only denied the score, but forced the England international to lose possession, too.

Bradford were starting to look like a side hanging on for dear life, but that all changed 20 minutes from time. Another penalty conceded by Wigan - the ninth of their horrendous afternoon - gave the Bulls a chance to strike, and they obliged when Blythe finished excellently in the corner.

With time rapidly running out, the Warriors needed a quick response and six minutes later, all their pressure finally told when Manfredi squeezed in for his second try.

Smith was unable to add the extras, though, to leave Wigan eight points behind the Bulls, and that is the way if finished as the Bulls hung on for an impressive win.