Harlequins paid the price for failing to kill off the Wildcats as a Wakefield side sparked by their inventive half-backs, Jamie Rooney and Danny Brough, came back to win a thriller.
"We were pretty abysmal in the first half," said the Wakefield coach, John Kear, "we went from amateurs to internationals in the half-time break. Our more experienced players had to go out there and lead and that's what they did."
Down by 14 points at half-time, Wakefield's frailties had been exposed as Quins scored four tries in 10 minutes. The match started well enough for the hosts, with Danny Brough's 40-20 kick and Sam Obst's run setting the stage for Jamie Rooney to take a pass from Ryan Atkins and score. That, however, produced a devastating response. First Chad Randall sent Danny Orr over and then Scott Hill did the same for Matt Gafa. Karl Temata's pass to Orr set up Quins' third try, Orr sending Michael Worrincy over.
There was some magnificent ball handling to set up their fourth try, which was scored by Rikki Sheriffe from Gafa's pass. It could have been even worse for the Wildcats, with Jo Mbu and Gafa having tries disallowed and Hill losing possession when in a threatening position.
In the second half, Quins continued to squander chances, notably when Julien Rinaldi kicked with men free outside. That left the door open for Brough and Rooney, a disguised kick by the former producing a second try for the latter. Another kick from Brough, carried on by Rooney, allowed Tony Martin to cut the margin to four points.
That was wiped out when Sam Obst dummied over, Brough's conversion giving Wakefield the lead for the first time since the opening minutes of the match.
The London side's task became even harder when David Howell was sent to the sin-bin for a late challenge on Rooney that produced two points from the boot of Brough. Even then Quins could have snatched at least a draw, but for a tackle from Tevita Leo-Latu that forced Tony Clubb into touch.
It was the missed chances earlier, however, that really cost Harlequins dear in the final analysis.
"We had [enough] opportunities to kill off three games," said the Harlequins coach, Brian McDermott. "We just didn't play in the second half."
Dwain Chambers will make his debut for Castleford today. The disgraced sprinter's one-month trial reaches its conclusion in a reserve-team friendly against the York City Knights.
Wakefield: Blaymire; Gleeson, Martin, Atkins, Grix; Rooney, Brough; Bibey, Obst, Moore, MacGillivray, Golden, Phipps. Substitutes used: Blanch, Leo-Latu, Wilkes, Bibb.
Harlequins: Wells; Clubb, Gafa, Howell, Sheriffe; Hill, Orr, Temata; Randall, Ward, Worrincy, Purdham, Paul. Substitutes used: Rinaldi, Melling, Haggerty, Mbu.
Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).