Hull FC 14-15 Wigan: Zak Hardaker's one pointer seals Warriors win
Last Updated: 02/08/19 7:10pm
Zak Hardaker upstaged drop-goal expert Marc Sneyd to earn Wigan a precious 15-14 win over Hull in the battle for third spot in Super League.
Sneyd kicked a one-pointer to earn his side a golden-point victory over the Warriors at the DW Stadium in February but was twice off target at the KCOM Stadium to leave the scores locked at 14-14.
Extra time beckoned once more but Hardaker stepped up with a 40-metre drop goal to clinch a seventh win in eight games for the reigning champions, who closed the gap on third-placed Hull to just two points.
Both Wigan tries came from winger Liam Marshall, a timely reminder of his scoring prowess as he bids to hang onto his jersey following the arrival of new signing from Australia Bevan French.
The Warriors were boosted by the return of internationals Sean O'Loughlin, Thomas Leuluai and Joe Burgess, although O'Loughlin's comeback from a calf injury was quickly curtailed by a chest injury.
Fresh from their Challenge Cup semi-final defeat, Hull were without front row forwards Mickey Paea and Josh Bowden because of injury but they made the brighter start.
They were unable to breach the Wigan defence, however, and they had to settle for a couple of Sneyd penalties to give them a 4-0 lead.
The Warriors' fortunes improved with the introduction of O'Loughlin on 24 minutes and within a minute they scored the only try of the first half when Marshall collected Leuluai's kick to the corner.
Video referee Robert Hicks ruled Marshall was impeded in the act of scoring by his opposite number Bureta Faraimo and Hardaker turned it into an eight-point try by adding a penalty to his successful conversion.
Hardaker then increased the lead to 10-4 with another penalty but Sneyd had the last say of the opening half, kicking a third penalty after being tackled late by Wigan second rower Willie Isa.
The half-time hooter came at an appropriate time because that incident inflamed tensions and both Sneyd and Isa had to be separated by their team-mates as they headed for the tunnel.
The break failed to halt Wigan's momentum, however, and they extended their lead seven minutes into the second half when creating an overlap that enabled centre Dan Sarginson to get his winger over for his second try.
Wigan substitute Liam Byrne had a try disallowed for a double movement but the abiding memory of the match came when Wigan prop Tony Clubb got back to pull off a cover tackle on Hull's pacy winger Ratu Naulago.
Hull coach Lee Radford took off stand-off Albert Kelly after an error-strewn first hour and that brought England utility back Jake Connor more into the game for the last quarter.
And, aided by a string of penalties, the home side piled on the pressure which told on 63 minutes when prop Scott Taylor forced his way over for their only try.
Sneyd's conversion cut the gap to just two points and it was all square eight minutes later when the half-back kicked his fourth penalty.
Sneyd had first chance to win it but his drop-goal attempt was charged down and he was off target with his second, leaving the stage clear for Hardaker to provide the heroics.