Super League: Castleford Tigers 19-18 Wigan Warriors
|Betfred Super League|
|Castleford (4) 19|
|Tries: Laulu-Togagae, Shenton, Cook Goals: Ellis 3 Drop-goal: Ellis|
|Wigan (12) 18|
|Tries: Tomkins, Marshall, Davies Goals: Tomkins 3|
Jamie Ellis' late drop goal lifted Castleford to third in Super League, within a point of second-placed Wigan.
After Sam Tomkins' opening try was cancelled out by Quentin Laulu-Togagae, Wigan led 12-4 at half-time thanks to Liam Marshall's 75-yard breakaway try.
But Cas hit back with tries from Michael Shenton and Matt Cook, either side of an Ellis penalty.
Wigan crossed again through Tom Davies after Cook's late yellow card but Ellis finally won it with that one-pointer.
It was also a relief for Cas who, just before Cook powered over from close range to put them ahead for the first time, had contrived one of the misses of the season when, from seven yards out, James Green's poor pass was dropped by Junior Moors with the line begging.
The Cherry and Whites looked favourites to add to last Saturday's win at Hull when Cook's sinbinning for a dangerous tackle on Romain Navarrete left Cas to play the last 10 minutes with only 12 men - and Wigan immediately cashed in when Tomkins set up winger Davies to score under the posts.
But the final nine minutes became a private drop kick contest with both sides trying to engineer the perfect platform for a one-pointer.
In the end, after several failed attempts at both ends and just when Cas looked set to draw for the second game running, Ellis was successful with his third attempt.
His scruffy kick took a deflection on its way over the bar - but it signalled Wigan's fourth defeat in five games - and earned Cas their first win in four.
Wigan's enforced changes
Wigan had Liam Paisley making his debut in their pack against a Cas side still depleted by injuries, while Josh Woods took over from George Williams at stand-off.
Williams, John Bateman and skipper Sean O'Loughlin were all included in Wayne Bennett's 19-man squad to take on New Zealand in Saturday's mid-season Test in Denver, Colorado.
But Williams has since been ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury - and Wigan, already missing Joe Burgess, were further hampered by the early loss of Dan Sarginson.
Castleford match-winner Jamie Ellis told BBC Radio Five Live:
"It was third time lucky for me. You've just got to keep your head down and keep going for it.
"It was a great effort from the boys, especially over that last 10 minutes when we were a man down.
"It's a massive win. A great effort from the young boys we had out there.
"We kept turning the ball over too easily in the first half but we knew that, if we competed, we had them."
Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane told BBC Radio Manchester:
"We're really disappointed but I'm happy with the effort. I thought we had a dig with the young kids as well as some of the senior players and we did some good things.
"I thought we did enough to get something out of the game but it wasn't to be.
"The effort was great. Just a bit of smarts and we could have won the game quite easily but I don't want to take anything away from Cas, they were quite rightly the winners."
Castleford: Laulu-Togagae; Clare, Webster, Shenton, Hitchcox; Ellis, Trueman; Cook, McShane, Massey, Moors, Millington, Maher.
Interchanges: Springer, Green, Clark, Egodo.
Sin bin: Cook (70)
Wigan: Tomkins; Davies, Sarginson, Gildart, Marshall; Woods, Powell; Navarrete, Leuluai, Flower, Paisley, Isa, Hamlin.
Interchanges: Clubb, Tautai, Escare, Field.
Referee: James Child (RFL).