Castleford Tigers' second half revival comes too late as they slip down table with Warrington loss

Cory Aston. opened the scoring for Castleford Tigers against Warrington Wolves.
Cory Aston. opened the scoring for Castleford Tigers against Warrington Wolves.

Castleford Tigers dropped out of the top five in the Betfred Super League as their spirited second half fightback came too late for them to beat Warrington Wolves.

In front of their lowest crowd of the season Daryl Powell's men were in the game for the whole of the first half, but a penalty on the interval hooter and two tries in the first five minutes of the second period left them with a mountain to climb,

From 20 points down they made a big effort, but fell short in losing 26-14.

With Salford and Catalans winning on the night they have now dropped down to seventh place, their lowest position for some time.

It did not help their cause that with 11 players already out injured before the game they lost the influential Paul McShane after just six minutes, although their spirited last 20 minutes did see them save face somewhat and they appear to have found a much stronger right edge.

It was a quiet night for new signing Cheyse Blair on the left hand side, however, although it is early days for him after only training with his new teammates once.

Cas made a bright start as Jake Trueman's brilliant 40-20 kick earned them good field position.

The attack came to nothing and the Tigers suffered a big blow with McShane going off injured. But while they were reorganising they came up with their first try.

It did not look promising as they let a high kick bounce, but although Warrington's Mike Cooper collected the ball his pass was intercepted by Mike McMeeken, who charged forward before passing to the supporting Cory Aston who raced in for a try converted by Peter Mata'utia.

Warrington hit back to level six minutes later as Cooper drove over on a solo barge from 10 metres out. Referee Chris Kendall signalled no try, but the video referee decided the ball had just touched the line and Stefan Ratchford's goal made it 6-6.

Tuoyo Egodo went close for the hosts soon after while Ryan Atkins was held up over the line on the last tackle for the visitors with Kendall not referring this decision to the video referee.

Frustrations were showing when Blake Austin was deemed to have made a high tackle and there was a small flare-up involving players of both sides. No actions were taken other than a Cas penalty.

When the Wolves were given a penalty in the 26th minute Ratchford sent the ball between the posts to put the visitors ahead.

Cas came close to regaining the lead when Egodo collected a high kick by Trueman and tried to force his way over the line, but he was unable to ground the ball with the video referee deeming no try.

Within a minute Warrington had stretched the lead as Greg Eden was unable to deal with an Austin kick and Tony King was on hand to collect and dive over for a try.

Ratchford was unable to convert, but right on half-time he kicked a penalty controversially awarded for a supposed shoulder charge by McMeeken on kicker Dec Patton.

The second half could not started any worse for the Tigers as their opponents stretched the lead within two minutes, King spinning to get free and score from close range.

Mata'utia's restart went out on the full to hand the ball straight back to Warrington on the halfway line and they took advantage with Ben Currie going over from close range. Ratchford's conversion made it 26-6 and suddenly Cas had a mountain to climb.

It looked bigger soon after when Atkins dived onto a grubber over the line, but the video referee ruled no try.

The Tigers had a brief flurry with Trueman's kick forcing a goalline drop-out, but they were soon defending again and the video referee was involved with Jack Hughes racing over. But this was an easy decision for no try as Cheyse Blair was taken out in the air trying to catch a high kick to the corner.

Hopes were revived just past the hour mark when Aston, McMeeken and Greg Minikin combined well to send Egodo over in the corner.

A good chase then helped to earn a goalline drop-out and from the next set the Tigers were over again as the right edge came up with another swift move and Minikin charged over. With Calum Turner unable to add the conversion they remained 12 points behind.

They continued to show renewed confidence with another drop-out earned by Aston's grubber kick, but noting came of further pressure on the next set as any hopes of an amazing revival were ended.

They kept their spirited effort up as another Aston kicked earned yet another goalline drop-out and the next set ended with McMeeken almost scoring as he appeared to knock-on on the line trying to follow-up his own kick in a crowded area. But with that chance gone it was all over and Cas were staring at another defeat.

Scorers - Castleford: Tries Aston, Egodo, Minikin; goal Matau'utia. Warrington: Tries Cooper, King 2, Currie; goals Ratchford 5.

Castleford Tigers: Mata'utia; Egodo, Minikin, Blair, Eden; Trueman, Aston; Watts, McShane, Maher, Clarkson, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: Milner, Clark, Turner, Smith.

Warrington Wolves: Ratchford; Johnson, King, Atkins, Charnley; Austin, Patton; Hill, D Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Davis. Subs: Philbin, Akauola, J Clark, Livett.

Referee: Chris Kendall.

Half-time: 6-14.

Attendance: 5,323.