Rugby League: Paul exposes Wigan's anxieties: Tuigamala makes his debut at Central Park

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The Independent Online
Wigan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

Wakefield Trinity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

WIGAN discovered that they cannot always get away with flirting with disaster when their single-point escape in the Challenge Cup at Hull was followed last night by their first home defeat in the league for more than 13 months. It was a defeat that gives Warrington and Bradford new hope at the top of the division as well as continuing Wakefield's climb away from the foot.

Wigan, with a high proportion of reserves, took the lead when Sam Panapa ran on to Ian Gildart's pass to touch down, but Trinity hit back back. Lee Hanlan and the former Wigan player, Mike Forshaw, combining to send in Gary Spencer.

Wigan regained the lead after a spell of pressure that saw David Hobbs dispatched to the sin bin for pulling back Martin Offiah. Va'aiga Tuigamala, in his first home game, played a part in the fightback, being stopped just short of the try- line for Paul Atcheson to sneak in and finish the job.

Wakefield's reply exposed some very ragged edges in Wigan's game, Henry Paul continuing to add goals as the lead changed. His superlative tackle on Offiah was a key moment as Trinity clung on to a lead going into the final quarter.

Wigan's anxiety showed in Wright's decision to narrow the gap with a drop goal and an attempt by Mick Cassidy that went wide. Wigan's increasingly frenetic attempts to cross the tryline were all repulsed until Wakefield clinched the match with an elegant solo try by Paul in the last minute.

Wigan: Atcheson; Tuigamala, Mather, Connolly, Offiah; Wright, Edwards; Gildart, Dermott (Haughton, 31; Dermott 67), Cassidy, Farrell, McGinty, Panapa.

Wakefield Trinity: Paul; Christie (Knighton, 70), Mason, Flynn, Wilson; Spencer, Hanlan; Hobbs, Fuller, Marlow, Durham (Goddard, 57), Bell, Forshaw.

Referee: R Whitfield (Widnes).

Wigan assurances, page 42