Huddersfield 19 Wigan 20: Coley incites late recovery

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The Independent Online

Two converted tries in a dramatic final three minutes salvaged a dismal Wigan performance at Huddersfield and gave them an unlikely victory. Trailing 19-8, the Warriors put together their only incisive spell of the game, with their forward, Andy Coley, at the heart of it.

He supported Sean O'Laughlin's break to score the try that provided hope. Then, in the last minute, it was his run and pass to George Carmont that set up the crucial try, with Pat Richards putting over a conversion that would have been difficult for a lesser kicker. "The way we started the second half should have got us beaten, but it was a testament to people keeping going," the Wigan coach, Brian Noble, said.

Huddersfield found that equation harder to accept, with their forward, Darrell Griffin, getting himself sent off after the final hooter for foul and abusive language to the referee, Phil Bentham. "His red card epitomises the whole team's frustration," his coach, Jon Sharpe, said. "I believe an injustice has occured."

Sharp complained that the game had not been refereed consistently, but he had no complaints about two late tries that pinched it for Wigan. Up to then, Huddersfield had been the more convincing of the sides. After an early exchange of penalties – two of 23 awarded by Bentham – the former Wigan scrum-half Luke Robinson wriggled through some lazy defence for the first try.

Wigan equalised when Mark Calderwood knocked down Trent Barrett's kick for Darrell Goulding to touch down, but another ex-Wigan player seemed to have given Huddersfield the edge when Kevin Brown sold a dummy to go through and score. Leroy Cudjoe, taking over from the injured Chris Thorman as full-back and kicker, took his goal tally to five from five attempts and Brown put over a long-range drop goal that seemed to have clinched it with seven minutes to play.

Wigan had still produced little value but they were to have the final say, much to the anger of Huddersfield.

Huddersfield: Cudjoe, Elford, Whaturia, lolesi, Jensen, Brown, Robinson, Mason, Gatis, Skandalis, Jones, Raleigh, Wild. Substitutes: Crabtree, Jackson, Griffin, Hudson.

Wigan: Richards, Calderwood, Goulding, Carmont, Coleben, Barrett, Leuluai, Paleaaesina, Higham, Coley, Hock, Bailey, O'Loughlin. Substitutes: Fieldon, Hansen, McIlorum, O'Carrol.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).