Castleford Tigers went down to a 26-12 defeat despite a battling effort and more injuries in their Super League game at Wigan Warriors.
The Tigers lost Jake Webster and Nathan Massey to injuries and were unhappy with the refereeing of Phil Bentham and his touch judges as a number of forward passes were missed and led to skipper Luke Gale spending 10 minutes in the sin-bin for talking out of turn to the official.
But they will feel they missed a great chance to beat a Wigan side that had been hammered by Wakefield the week before.
Admittedly the Warriors had a stronger side out, but so did Castleford as key forwards Grant Millington and Oliver Holmes returned from injury.
The Tigers started the better and went close early when Greg Minikin was bundled into touch just short of the line after taking a great offload from Joel Monaghan.
They did open the scoring when Wigan’s Nick Gregson spilled the ball and Gale scooped it up before taking the chance to kick through on the free play for flying winger Denny Solomona to win the chase to touch down.
Wigan quickly hit back, though, as Lewis Tierney kicked through for himself on the last tackle and won his chase to get the ball down over the line.
To make matters worse for Cas their skipper, Gale, was yellow carded after protesting a number of forward passes that led to the try.
The Tigers survived their 10 minutes with a man down and it was nip and tuck for the rest of the half before referee Bentham gave Wigan a controversial penalty just before half-time to allow Matty Smith to land a kick to nudge the host 8-6 up at the break.
Castleford came out strong for the second half and went back in front when Monaghan climbed to pat back a Gale high kick and Mike McMeeken got a great offload away near the line to send Millington over for a try goaled by Gale.
Penalties came to Wigan’s aid again later in the half as off the back of two, the ball was moved to centre John Bateman who shrugged off a couple of would-be tacklers for a try goaled by Smith to make it 14-12.
Only great defence by Oliver Holmes and Solomona kept Bateman out shortly after and it remained a two-point game until 10 minutes from time.
Wigan youngster Nick Gregson came up with the crucial score after a clever dummy opened up a gap that he raced through.
The Tigers’ hopes were then finally extinguished right on the final hooter when Bateman reached Smith’s grubber kick for his second try. Smith’s fifth goal put the seal on a victory by a flattering margin for the Warriors.
Scorers - Wigan: Tries Tierney, Bateman 2, Gregson; goals Smith 5. Castleford: Tries Solomona, Millington; goals Gale 2.
Wigan Warriors: Sarginson; Tierney, Bateman, Gildart, Charnley; Gregson, Smith; Mossop, Powell, Clubb, Tomkins, Isa, Sutton. Subs: Crosby, Tautai, Burke, Bretherton.
Castleford Tigers: Hampshire; Monaghan, Minikin, Webster, Solomona; T Holmes, Gale; Lynch, Milner, Jewitt, O Holmes, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: McShane, Millington, Maher, Cook.
Referee: Phil Bentham