Super League: Wigan Warriors 6-8 Widnes Vikings
Last Updated: 02/09/16 8:43am
Two tries from Corey Thompson gave Widnes an 8-6 win over the Warriors at the DW Stadium on Thursday night.
Both of the winger's scores came in the first half, and though they were unconverted it was enough to see off Wigan who managed one converted try through Liam Farrell.
The result will disappoint Shaun Wane's side, who saw their opponents shown two yellow cards during the second half, but they were ultimately unable to breach a sturdy Vikings defence after Farrell crossed.
The Vikings' 18-12 win in March took them to the top of the First Utility Super League and this tense triumph was enough to prevent Wigan drawing level with Hull at the summit.
The Vikings at times looked determined to press the self-destruct button as referee Phil Bentham placed them on three team warnings and sent two players, Jack Buchanan and Connor Farrell, to the sin bin.
Even down to 11 men, however, Widnes' determination never wavered as they somehow hung on for a memorable victory.
Wigan could have shared the points had they gone for a goal from a penalty awarded in front of the posts two minutes from the end but they went for glory and came up short.
Wane handed 20-year-old Jake Shorrocks only his second start in the absence of England scrum-half Matty Smith and for a time they also lost his half-back partner George Williams with a head injury on 28 minutes, although he was able to return for the start of the second half.
Widnes were much the livelier side from the start with former Wigan half-backs Kevin Brown and Joe Mellor combining superbly alongside clever hooker Lloyd White.
Prop Greg Burke, another member of the Wigan old boys brigade, was tackled just short of the line and his old Warriors team-mate Stefan Marsh went close to touching down Brown's kick to the corner.
It was no surprise when the visitors opened the scoring, Brown's kick finding Thompson unmarked on the right flank after a break by full-back Rhys Hanbury pulled the Wigan defence out of position.
Thompson easily wrong-footed Lewis Tierney to touch down and on 29 minutes produced a spectacular dive to claim his second following Mellor's cut-out pass and an initial midfield burst by substitute forward Jay Chapelhow.
White was wide with both conversion attempts as Widnes led 8-0 at the break but their advantage was cut to two points 10 minutes into the second half.
Wigan made the most of back-to-back penalties to pile on the pressure and it paid off when Williams got second rower Farrell through a gap in the visitors defence for their first try and Shorrocks added the conversion.
As more penalties followed, the Vikings were placed on their first team warning but they were unable to curb their indiscipline and Buchanan was despatched to the sin bin on 56 minutes as the next culprit.
A second team warning quickly followed and Connor Farrell, young brother of Liam who is on a season-long loan from his home-town club, was shown a yellow card seven minutes after entering the action as Widnes looked set to throw the game away.
Wigan ought to have gone in front against 11 men when prop Ryan Sutton charged for the line, only to lose his grip on the ball as he attempted to touch down - and second rower John Bateman also went close after breaking through the middle.
It was heart-stopping fare as Wigan pounded away but to no avail as the battling Vikings clung to the spoils.