Match Report: Hull FC vs Wigan Warriors
A late Zak Hardaker drop-goal sealed a tight victory for Wigan Warriors at the KCOM Stadium on Thursday night, running out 15-14 victors.
In a tight and nervy game, the Warriors led for the majority of the contest. But with Hull leveling the scores in the closing stages, a dramatic finale was set up.
But it would be the visitors who walked away with the points and closed the gap on Hull in third place with Hardaker’s late drop-goal.
Masi Matongo made his long-awaited return to action after spending time on compassionate leave, as well as nursing a calf injury.
He replaces Sika Manu, who remains sidelines with a calf injury that saw him miss Saturday’s clash in Bolton.
Meanwhile, the Warriors made two changes to their squad as Tommy Leuluai and Sean O’Loughlin return to action. Wigan were without first-team stars Ben Flower (back) and Joe Greenwood (head).
After some early pressure on the Wigan line in the opening minutes, Hull opened their account for the evening with Marc Sneyd slotting over a penalty conversion.
He doubled the lead shortly after with a second to make it 4-0 in favour of the hosts.
Wigan took the lead after 24 minutes, as Liam Marshall rose high in the corner to collect a Thomas Leuluai kick and score. The effort was awarded as a penalty try for Bureta Faraimo’s effort on the winger, and Hardaker slotted over both conversion attempts.
Wigan extended their lead to six with a further penalty goal with ten minutes left remaining in the half.
Hull would reduce the gap to four on the stroke of half-time. A late challenge on Marc Sneyd from Willie Isa saw tempers flair, but Sneyd slotted over the goal under pressure.
HALF-TIME: Hull FC 6-10 Wigan Warriors
It would be the Warriors who opened the scoring in the second-half, with Marshall going over in the corner having the strength to stay in the field of play despite the challenge of Faraimo. Hardaker couldn’t convert from the sidelines.
It looked as if the Warriors had their third score of the evening when Tony Clubb crashed over from close range, however video referee Robert Hicks deemed there had been a double-movement.
Hull picked up the tempo as they looked for their first score of the game after the hour mark, with consecutive sets on the Wigan line.
The Airlie Birds finally got their try with 15 minutes remaining on the clock to set up a tense finale. Scott Taylor crashed over from close range after prolonged pressure, bouncing off the post pad to touch down. Sneyd reduced the gap to two with the boot.
He leveled the scores moments later at 14-14 with a fourth penalty in front of the sticks.
But the contest went the way of the Warriors with Hardaker slotting over a drop-goal in the final minutes.
FULL-TIME: Hull FC 14-15 Wigan Warriors
Hull FC: Jamie Shaul, Bureta Faraimo, Josh Griffin, Carlos Tuimavave, Ratu Naulago, Albert Kelly, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Chris Green, Mark Minichiello, Jordan Lane, Joe Westerman.
Interchange: Masi Matongo, Gareth Ellis, Brad Fash, Jake Connor.
Wigan Warriors: Zak Hardaker, Liam Marshall, Dan Sarginson, Oliver Gildart, Joe Burgess, George Williams, Thomas Leuluai, Romain Navarrete, Sam Powell. Oliver Partington, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, Morgan Smithies.
Interchange: Tony Clubb, Sean O’Loughlin, Liam Byrne, Jarrod Sammut.
Hull FC Tries: Taylor (64)
Hull FC Goals: Sneyd (5/5)
Wigan Warriors Tries: Marshall (24, 57)
Wigan Warriors Goals: Hardaker (3/4)
Wigan Warriors Drop-Goals: Hardaker (75)