Warrington edge past Wigan to reach Challenge Cup quarter-finals

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Coral Challenge Cup
Warrington Wolves (18) 26
Tries: Goodwin, Hughes, Clark, Atkins Goals: Ratchford 5
Wigan Warriors (12) 24
Tries: Powell, Leuluai, Sarginson, Hardaker Goals: Hardaker 4

Warrington narrowly beat Wigan in a thrilling Challenge Cup tie to book a quarter-final meeting with Hull KR.

The Wire led 18-12 at the break after their opponents controversially had a Dan Sarginson effort disallowed.

They stretched their lead to 10 points in the second period but Wigan roared back and would have led if Zak Hardaker had managed to convert his own try.

After a rare calm spell Warrington’s Stefan Ratchford responded with the crucial goal before his side held on.

Nineteen-time winners Wigan have a right to feel aggrieved by the first-half decision to rule out Sarginson’s length-of-the-field score. He was sent clear by Tommy Leuluai, who the video referee decided had knocked the ball on when he thundered into Blake Austin.

That marginal call was perhaps evened up after the break when Sarginson touched down again, this time with a hint of a double-movement, and the try was given.

Despite defeat, this was possibly one of the Cherry and Whites’ best performances under Adrian Lam during a season in which they have struggled to eighth place in Super League.

But Warrington, who lost to Catalans at Wembley and Wigan in the Grand Final last season, are pushing St Helens at the top of the table for a reason.

Tries from Bryson Goodwin, Jack Hughes and Daryl Clark in response to Sam Powell and Tommy Leuluai scores for Wigan gave Steve Price’s side a half-time lead they perhaps did not deserve.

Then, after Ryan Atkins went over in the corner, the match looked dead before the Warriors’ fightback. It was then that the home side showed their ability to grind out victory as a relentless spell of pressure culminated in the match-winning moment.

Ben Flower succumbed to the incessant Warrington attacks by failing to clear the play-the-ball area quickly enough, which allowed Ratchford to kick the crucial goal from bang in front of the posts.

They then penned Wigan in for the majority of the final 10 minutes to see the match out.

Warrington head coach Steve Price told BBC Sport:

“We know what sort of team Wigan are and I thought they were fantastic today. That was one of their best performances of the season. They showed a lot of heart.

“I’m both proud and relieved. I was really proud of the guys especially in those last 15 minutes when we raised the bar and went again – they dug deep today.

On last season’s final disappoints acting as motivation: “Time will tell, I hope it does but there’s an awful lot of football still to be played.”

Wigan head coach Adrian Lam told BBC Sport:

“I couldn’t really see exactly what they ruled on but they had a look at it 10 times then said no try so that was disappointing.

“There was plenty of effort there but a couple of things cost us. We missed touch towards the end, then didn’t have the ball for 13 minutes and they got the two points to win.

“We’re a completely different team to the one we were six weeks ago when we last came here – we’re heading in the right direction and are getting better.

“It was really close today and I thought we were the better team but we’ll cop for that and move on.”

Warrington: Ratchford, Goodwin, Atkins, King, Charnley, Austin, Patton, Hill, D Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Davis.

Interchanges: Murdoch-Masila, J Clark, Philbin, Akauola.

Wigan: Hardaker, Marshall, Sarginson, Gildart, Burgess, Williams, Leuluai, Flower, Powell, Navarrete, Isa, Greenwood, Clubb.

Interchanges: O’Loughlin, Hankinson, Tautai, Bullock.

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BBC Sport – Rugby League

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