Smith's final flourish is hard on Warrington

Wigan 25 Warrington 12
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The Independent Online

Wigan stayed alive in the Super League play-offs but they were pushed all the way by a Warrington side full of enthusiasm and enterprise.

Warrington's intentions were clear from the start - to run Wigan off their feetwith frantic rugby. When Wigan's Quentin Pongia was sent to the sin-bin for holding down with his defence under pressure, the Wolves took the lead through Graham Appo's penalty. With Pongia still off the field, they extended that with another interception from Lam. Brent Grosse's pass to Appo looked forward and Radlinski got back to make the saving tackle, but Wigan could not regroup quickly enough to prevent Darren Burns from going over on the next tackle, with Appo adding the goal.

Warrington were then guilty of trying to force the pass in their own territory. That gave Wigan the opportunity which produced a try when Perry Newton manoeuvred into position for a beautifully judged kick for Lam to touch down. Andy Farrell's goal reduced the margin to two points.

Wigan had been so harassed that they would have gladly settled for that at half-time, but they were under pressure again when Sid Domic made another of Warrington's telling breaks and Paul Johnson was sent to the sin-bin for trying to slow down play. A minute before the break, Warrington again took advantage of the extra man, with Lam once more the culprit. His kick was picked up by Nat Wood, who went 80 metres to score the try.

Wigan got the crucial breakthrough at the start of the second half, Nick Fozzard losing the ball in the tackle and the home side then getting the benefit of the extra tackles when Lam's kick came off a defender. The pressure told when Danny Tickle went over and also added the goal.

Wigan took the lead for the first time before the hour when Luke Robinson's run wrong-footed Nat Wood and produced the penalty for a high tackle which Robinson himself put over.

Warrington were starting to tire, and a well-sustained attack from Wigan wore them down, with Radlinski's flick-pass inside giving Brett Dallas the chance to score. Robinson's drop goal edged them further in front and the Wolves were just too tired to stop Craig Smith going through for a converted try.

Wigan: Radlinski; Dallas, Aspinwall, Hodgson, Carney; O'Loughlin, Lam; Smith, Newton, Pongia, Cassidy, Tickle, Farrell. Substitutes used: Johnson, O'Connor, Robinson, Hock.

Warrington: Cardiss; Westwood, Grose, Domic, Gaskell; Appo, N Wood; Fozzard, Gleeson, P Wood, Noon, Wainewright, Burns. Substitutes used: Hulse, Sibbit, Guisset, Stevens.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).