On a wet and windy night at the DW Stadium Hull lost in the most cruel fashion, as Harry Smith kicked a drop goal with less than two minutes remaining in Golden Point to snatch the spoils for the Warriors.
Tries from Adam Swift and Liam Sutcliffe weren’t enough for the Black & Whites, who played for 70 minutes with just two interchanges, as Wigan snatched the two points in the depths of Golden Point.
Tony Smith made just one change from the 17 men that comprehensively defeated Wakefield last time out, as Brad Fash served his one match suspension, replaced in the matchday squad by Liam Sutcliffe, returning from the compound fracture of the finger he suffered at Huddersfield Giants.
However, Smith reshuffled his deck, as Cam Scott, who scored against Trinity, moved from centre to back row, with Jordan Lane moving to the interchange bench alongside Chris Satae, Brad Dwyer and Joe Lovodua, who scored his first try of the season in the win over Wakefield.
Jack Brown took Fash’s place in the starting team, making just his third start of the season, and his first since March.
Wigan made two changes from the side that comprehensively beat Hull KR a fortnight ago at the DW Stadium.
Returning to the Warriors side was Liam Bryne to make is 100th appearance for the hosts in place of the suspended Kaide Ellis, whilst Sam Powell returned from a lengthy absence to take his place on the interchange bench, with Cade Cust dropping out of the Wigan side.
A low scoring, error strewn first half unfolded at the DW Stadium, with Liam Marshall’s try sending Wigan in two points in front at the break, after Jake Clifford’s penalty goal gave Hull an early lead.
The game was less than 90 seconds old when Wigan forced the first drop out of the evening, pinning Hull on their own goal line and a wild pass from Darnell McIntosh went over the dead ball line.
On the second play from the drop out Danny Houghton got his head in the wrong place and was knocked unconscious, ruling him out of the rest of the game, with Brad Dwyer taking his place.
Another drop out followed for the hosts after Carlos Tuimavave was pinned back in goal on the second tackle, with Hull yet to get beyond play two. Andre Savelio dealt well with the threat of Liam Marshall, and Jake Trueman carried the loose ball upfield to finally relieve the pressure on the Black & Whites line.
Hull’s first opportunity in Wigan territory came after Jake Clifford’s kick was knocked on by Liam Byrne in front of his own posts for a scrum on the 10 meter line, but on the third tackle Liam Sutcliffe was forced into touch when he could have maybe given the pass to Adam Swift.
However, on play two from the scrum, Liam Farrell knocked on for another scrum to Hull, this time 20 meters out. Scott Taylor was tackled high for a penalty in front of the posts and Hull kicked at goal, Liam Sutcliffe making no mistake to give the Black & Whites the lead.
Wigan finally made their pressure tell after an error strewn first half with less than 10 minutes before the break after another Hull error, Davy Litten unable to take a high ball which fell for Kai Pearce-Paul, and the England international found Liam Marshall in space to touchdown in the corner, though Harry Smith hit the post from the tee.
With less than two minutes remaining though, Hull forced another drop out as Jake Clifford’s kick in goal was forced behind by Jai Field.
Chris Satae’s carry brought a quick play the ball, and Clifford was on form with the boot again, chipping for Adam Swift in acres of space to ground the ball out wide to send Hull in front at the half-time hooter.
HALF TIME: Wigan Warriors 4 – 6 Hull FC
Wigan had the first chance of the half after less than two minutes after the restart, Harry Smith’s kick wide to King was gathered by the centre but Liam Sutcliffe’s challenge put him under enough pressure to force a knock on just shy of the tryline.
From the next time Wigan touched the ball Jai Field made a break with the kick return. There was perhaps obstruction on Adam Swift, but good defending from Litten forced a forward pass from Field to the supporting Bevan French.
Just a few moment later Wigan bombed another chance, Kai Pearce-Paul breaking through the line, offloaded to French whose pass was to nobody before hitting Clifford on the way out.
From the scrum Wigan forced yet more pressure, but Darnell McIntosh dealt well with Harry Smith’s crossfield kick.
After riding out all that pressure, Hull turned defence into attack. Jake Clifford kicked high on the last tackle, Liam Sutcliffe put Jai Field under enough pressure to force an error and Brad Dwyer grounded the loose ball in goal, with Sutcliffe’s conversion moving Hull 8 points to the good.
Wigan finally took advantage of all of their pressure to reduce the deficit. Bevan French put Toby King through a hole, and he just about had the power to hold off Clifford dragging his shirt before Cam Scott came across to try and prevent the try to no avail, but Harry Smith was off target from the tee.
Jake Clifford’s restart went over Liam Farrell and bounced into touch. Hull forced the pressure from the scrum, but Andre Savelio was pushed into touch just before the Wigan line
Wigan continued to bang on the Hull line, but Hull perhaps had the best chance of the following exchanges, as Davy Litten managed to sneak under the Wigan defence on the last tackle, but he lost the ball over the line in trying to ground it.
With less than four minutes on the clock Hull captain Carlos Tuimavave was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle on Jake Wardle, swinging the centre over the horizonal and onto his head.
Wigan worked over the Hull right side twice in the set, and with two and a half minutes remaining looked to have broken Hull hearts, as Wardle himself exploited the space vacated by Tuimavave to score, but Harry Smith was wide from the tee once again.
Wigan had the only possession of the remainder of normal time, but huge pressure from Brad Dwyer forced a poor effort, and it came to nothing.
FULL TIME REGULAR TIME : Wigan Warriors 12 – 12 Hull FC
Golden Point followed a similar pattern to the rest of the match, with Wigan continuously banging on the Hull door, but Hull refusing to let them in, scrambling well twice to prevent certain looking Wigan tries from Bevan French and Liam Marshall.
With Wigan continuing to bang on the door Davy Litten put his body on the line to prevent Junior Nsemba and was Hull’s second head injury of the night.
Brad Dwyer was Hull’s hero for Wigan’s first two drop goal attempts, first charging down Harry Smith’s drop goal, before putting enough pressure on him to force the effort wide.
HALF TIME GOLDEN POINT: Wigan Warriors 12 – 12 Hull FC
Hull looked to done enough in the second half of Golden Point to prevent an attempt from Wigan, but from just over the half-way line Harry Smith finally connected sweetly and nailed the drop goal with less than two minutes remaining.
FULL TIME GOLDEN POINT: Wigan Warriors 13 – 12 Hull FC
Wigan: Jai Field, Abbas Miski, Toby King, Jake Wardle, Liam Marshall, Bevan French, Harry Smith, Tyler Dupree, Brad O’Neill, Liam Bryne, Kai Pearce-Paul, Liam Farrell, Morgan Smithies
Wigan Interchanges: Harvie Hill, Junior Nsemba, Patrick Mago, Sam Powell
18th Man: Joe Shorrocks
Hull: Davy Litten, Darnell McIntosh, Carlos Tuiamvave, Liam Sutcliffe, Adam Swift, Jake Trueman, Jake Clifford, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Jack Brown, Cam Scott, Andre Savelio, Joe Cator
Hull Interchanges: Brad Dwyer, Chris Satae, Joe Lovodua, Jordan Lane
18th Man: Will Gardiner
Wigan Tries: Liam Marshall (30), Toby King (50) Jake Wardle (78)
Wigan Goals: Harry Smith (0/3)
Wigan Drop Goal: Harry Smith 87
Hull Tries: Adam Swift (39), Adam Swift (55)
Hull Goals: Liam Sutcliffe (2/3)
Attendance, in association with Garbutts: 12107
Peregrine Property Man of the Match: Jake Clifford