WIGAN fell to an agonising 16-12 defeat against St Helens in what was a pulsating game at the DW Stadium.
Shaun Wane’s man fought until the very last second but missed out on a chance overtake their rivals at the top of the table.
The scores were level at the break with just a try-a-piece from Joe Burgess and Tom Makinson.
The game was still finely balanced at 8-8 with 20 minutes to go but the visitors kicked a penalty before Makinson doubled his tally to take the game away from the Warriors.
Josh Charnley pulled a try back for Wigan to give them hope but it wasn’t enough.
The home side were dominant in the opening proceedings, enjoying a number of sets on the Saints line.
They found the breakthrough after some good hands and a crafty Sam Powell kick eight minutes in found Burgess, who collected in the corner to touch down. Matty Smith’s conversion attempt was just pulled wide though.
Saints woke up and enjoyed some territory in the next 10 minutes or so and levelled when ex-Wigan man Mark Flanagan played a great ball for Makinson to go over on the right handside. The winger failed to convert though and the scoreline stayed at 4-4.
The rest of the half got much tastier with a number of big hits making the crowd wince. Saints were hindered though when lively half-back Luke Walsh went straight down the tunnel with a back injury.
The visitors almost took the lead five minutes before the break but Makinson was denied by Burgess who batted a loose ball away in the in-goal area.
They were ahead shortly after half-time though thanks to some poor Wigan defending to a kick.
The ball found its way out to veteran full-back Paul Wellens who had plenty of space to glide over the line with Mark Percival missing the conversion attempt.
Saints continued to press but couldn’t find a way over the Wigan line to extend their lead.
Teenager Jamie Doran made his debut for the Warriors after 57 minutes as he replaced George Williams at hooker and it wasn’t long before he was celebrating a Charnley try.
Some great passing on the last tackle saw the winger level the scores at 8-8.
The game stayed that way for some time but two silly errors gifted Saints what turned out to be an unassailable lead.
First a high shot from Ben Flower gave Percival the chance to kick the visitors 10-8 ahead from a penalty before Gil Dudson was penalised for lifting in the tackle and - after marchind down the field - Makinson crossed in the corner. Percival’s try was converted to make it 16-8.
Wigan attacked and attacked and thought they had got themselves back in it when Burgess crossed but he was denied by the video referee for double movement.
Charnley’s try two minutes from time gave the Warriors hope but the hooter came just too soon as Anthony Gelling pushed for the line in the corner.
Wigan: Bowen; Burgess, Sarginson, Gelling, Charnley; Powell, Smith; Flower, Williams, Dudson, Hughes, Bateman, O’Loughlin. Subs: James, Taylor, Crosby, Doran.
Saints: Wellens; Makinson, Turner, Percival, Swift; Hohaia, Walsh; Richards, Roby, Walmsley, Wilkin, Flanagan, Soliola
Subs: Manu, Masoe, Thompson, McCarthy-Scarsbrook