Warrington 22 Wigan 20: Briers' boot keeps Wigan in the relegation picture

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The Independent Online

Lee Briers' late penalty ended Wigan's winning run at five and consolidated Warrington's play-off place.

The scores were tied with three minutes to play when Briers, so often the Wolves' saviour, made the break that took them to the Wigan end of the pitch. As Michael Sullivan was lining up a drop goal Danny Tickle, coming back from an offside position, ran into him and Richard Silverwood, on his touch judge's intervention, awarded a penalty Briers never looked like missing.

"We'll have to have a look at that penalty, because the referee changed his mind," said Wigan's coach, Brian Noble, mindful that Wakefield are two points behind at the bottom. "But we could have done more to help ourselves earlier on."

Wigan had taken an early lead with Michael Dobson's penalty, only to concede two quick tries. Martin Gleeson got the first from Sullivan's pass and Toa Kohe-Love a messy second from Briers' cross-kick.

Wigan had plenty of possession and position but lacked the wit to do much with it and fell further behind to Briers' penalty at the start of the second half.

A game played in front of a capacity crowd, with hundreds locked out, came to life when Tickle scored from Dobson's kick in the 49th minute. Briers got another penalty when he was obstructed chasing his own kick, but Wigan drew level when Dobson kicked through again and Sean O'Loughlin stole the ball out of Stuart Reardon's arms.

Paul Wood's close-range effort put the Wolves ahead again, but Mark Calderwood's break and Chris Ashton's pacy finish tied up the scores once more.

Chances to break the deadlock fell to Wigan, with Andy Bracek ankle-tapping Calderwood, Orr and Dobson failing with drop goal attempts - Orr's hitting the post - and Scott Logan being held up over the line.

"Lee Briers has held his nerve and led his troops," said the Warrington coach, Paul Cullen. "I was delighted with our defence and even more delighted with our mental toughness. We've earned ourselves a little breathing space."

Warrington: Reardon; Fa'afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Grose; Bridge, Briers; Leikvoll, Sullivan, Wood, Swann, Wainwright, Westwood. Substitutes used: Barnett, Mark Gleeson, Bracek, Parker.

Wigan: Ashton; Calderwood, Radlinski, McAvoy, Dallas; Orr, Dobson; Fielden, Higham, Paleaaesina, Hock, Fletcher, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Logan, Godwin, Tickle, Hansen.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).

* Huddersfield will go into their Challenge Cup semi-final against Leeds on Sunday buoyed by successive wins after their 34-10 victory over Castleford. Brad Drew, Kevin Brown, Andy Raleigh, Jim Gannon, Chris Nero and Martin Aspinwall all scored tries for the Giants. Castleford's Danny Brough was sent off.

* Great Britain and Warrington may have to wait before fielding the forward Adrian Morley, who was sent off for kneeing an opponent while playing for the Sydney Roosters. A ban of more than five games could put Morley out of November's Tri-Nations, after which he joins the Wolves.

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