Super League: Warrington Wolves edge out Wakefield Wildcats
Warrington Wolves held off a Wakefield Wildcats fightback for a 41-34 victory at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
Last Updated: 14/04/13 6:24pm
Tony Smith's Wolves had led 24-6 and 40-22 at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium, but the home side came back to within six points as the clock showed five minutes left.
A catalogue of errors then let them down, though, with two-try Paul Sykes not finding touch with a penalty and then Kyle Amor giving away a penalty, setting up Brett Hodgson for a clinching drop goal.
It was perhaps rough justice on Wakefield, but Warrington reaped the benefit of outscoring their hosts seven tries to six, with Ryan Atkins, Joel Monaghan and Stefan Ratchford all getting braces.
After shipping nine tries at Wigan and with some senior names missing, Wakefield needed a watertight start but got the opposite, going behind inside 70 seconds. Atkins found room on the left and kicked ahead, chasing his own grubber down and scoring, with Wakefield's chasing defence questionable. Brett Hodgson converted from the touchline.
Paul Aiton could have got Wakefield an instant response had he clung on to a ricocheted Tim Smith kick, and the fine margins between success and failure were soon highlighted again as Warrington got a second when Ratchford ran in Richie Myler's slipstream and went under the posts after a clean break.
Warrington had a strong wind behind them and the home side were making heavy weather of going into the elements, although an uncharacteristic Mick Higham error gave them a 15th-minute hand. The hooker's knock-on gave them some rare possession and after a penalty and a strong run from Amor, Sykes saw a gap and went for it, adding his own conversion.
Relief would be temporary, though, with a third Warrington try soon coming as Atkins took a Myler pass - although a knock-on from Ben Westwood appeared to go unpunished. The home fans were unhappy and were even more upset in the 23rd minute, claiming a Scott Grix assist to Joel Monaghan as forward. Hodgson converted both.
It was Monaghan's 12th score of another prolific year but Wakefield have a lethal winger of their own and a quickfire double from Peter Fox brought them back to life before the break. The England international stumbled in for a ninth of the season and three minutes before the break burst through onto a Tim Smith pass to make it to double figures, with Sykes topping one of them up to get Wakefield back to 24-16.
That gap would have been smaller after the restart had Sykes' pass to Ben Cockayne not got in touch and wasted a two-on-one overlap, but Reece Lyne made sure pressure was turned into points in the 53rd minute as he dragged Grix over the line with him after an Aiton run and Ali Lauitiiti pass.
Thoughts of a comeback had to be put on ice, however, as Warrington showed their mettle to move from one end of the field to the other and score in the corner, Monaghan again showing his class with a smart finish.
Ratchford then joined the two-try party - taking a ball at head-height to bounce over - and Hodgson converted, before the full-back flicked an inside ball up to Myler to jogged in for a seventh touchdown.
Another kick from Hodgson made the score 22-40 which was harsh on Wakefield, and they quickly set about redressing the balance. First Kyle Wood ducked under a tackle off a Tim Smith pass, before Sykes - who goaled - cashed in on good work from Lee and Tim Smith to score under the posts.
Another conversion from Sykes left the difference at six, but his failure to find touch with a penalty and Amor's subsequent offence allowed Hodgson to put them to bed for good.