Rugby League

Josh Charnley's late try helped Wigan to victory.

Wigan battle back to maintain perfect start to Super League season

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Wigan made it four wins from four in Super League this year as they came out of a tough-looking clash at Hull FC with a 26-25 victory.

The Warriors have yet to hit to form in spite of that run, but with a well-stocked treatment room, coach Shaun Wane will have little regard for how the points are coming.

These two came on a night when the Warriors squandered a 14-point lead and trailed by four going into the final eight minutes, with a flying finish from Josh Charnley and two Matty Smith drop goals doing the trick bailing them out.

Smith's second drop goal came with 105 seconds left and just after Marc Sneyd had cancelled out his first.

Wane will doubtless be pleased with his side's mettle - if not their game management - but had Hull attacked throughout as they did for 10 second-half minutes, they would have won themselves.

FC came into the game averaging six tries a game this season and looked set to get one inside the opening 60 seconds before a length-of-the-field move was pulled back for a forward pass.

And in fact, it was Wigan who would score early, Ben Flower being pushed over for his first of the year as the clock struck a minute.

The try did little to hamper Hull's attacking intent and captain Gareth Ellis - making a first start of the season - had a try scrubbed off for a forward pass from Danny Houghton.

Hooker Houghton was on the money 20 minutes in, though, sending the ball right to Steve Michaels who went in for a second in as many games.

But Wigan decided 20 minutes with limited ball was enough. On the back of some aggressive running from Taulima Tautai, George Williams went through a gap to score while some indiscipline from Jamie Shaul allowed Smith to add a penalty to his two conversions.

Wigan then fell foul of the forward pass, Smith's ball to the scoring Liam Farrell deemed illegal, but they still went into the sheds eight points ahead.

The forward passes continued into the second period, Wigan's Charnley missing out on a try because of one, but Hull handed them a try in the 55th minute.

Smith's last-tackle kick was hardly a tester, low and slow, but Sneyd inexplicably allowed it through his legs and John Bateman pounced.

Hull were not ready to yield, though, and Leon Pryce got them back in the game with a rangy sidestep through an unsuspecting Wigan defence.

And that try was the platform for a rousing comeback. Charnley held on to Shaul's boot too long in the tackle and in the subsequent set there was no stopping Sika Manu who bounced over.

A third goal from Sneyd got them back to within two points at 20-18 and the scrum-half's brilliant kicking from the touchline was required again after Michaels snagged a second at the corner after Shaul put him in.

Wigan were now the side with something to chase and that they did. A penalty gave them some bonus territory and Charnley amended his earlier indiscretion with a smart finish.

Smith failed with the conversion but landed a drop goal with five minutes left. Sneyd replied with one of his own but a handling error from Liam Watts gave Wigan the ground for Smith to win it.

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