Super League: Wigan Warriors 19-12 Salford Red Devils
|Wigan (0) 19|
|Tries: Burgess, Farrell, Sarginson Goals: Smith 3 Drop goal: Smith|
|Salford (6) 12|
|Tries: Paterson, G. Griffin Goals: J. Griffin 2|
Wigan picked up two Super League points despite facing a tough examination in victory against a Salford side plagued by off-the-field concerns.
Dan Sarginson's try and Matty Smith's field goal completed Wigan's second-half fightback, on the back of Joe Burgess and Liam Farrell scores.
Salford, who saw Kevin Locke quit amid claims of unpaid wages this week, led 12-0 early in the second half.
Cory Paterson and George Griffin grabbed the Red Devils' tries.
Shaun Wane's Warriors lost their derby date with Saints last weekend but moved to within a point of their rivals at the top with this success, particularly important as Keiron Cunningham's side lost at Castleford on Thursday.
Defeat was harsh on Salford, who ended their eight-game losing streak with a win at Wakefield last week, but have equally been in the news for Locke's exit and a legal action from prop Tony Puletua.
Smart work from Wigan loanee Logan Tomkins and Theo Fages set up Paterson to crash through on a fine line for the only points of the first half.
Fages teed up George Griffin for a similar second, again added to by Josh Griffin's kick, but Wigan roared back to steal the points.
Smith hoisted up a kick to the left that Burgess gathered before he stepped through the cover, and the winger showed his own kicking prowess to poke through a grubber that Farrell touched down.
Michael McIlorum continued the kicking theme when his tap-through was tracked by Sarginson, who got there ahead of the Red Devils defence, although there was controversy about who got the crucial touch.
The points were sealed when Smith clipped a drop goal through the sticks to finish.
Salford head coach Iestyn Harris:
"The in-goal touch judge gave a drop-out. He is right there on the spot and he (the referee) goes with a touch judge that is 20 metres away.
"That was frustrating for us and disappointing but it's Wigan away. I've been in that dressing room and you tend to get those decisions when you are in that dressing room.
"Wigan threw a lot at us and we defended reasonably well. We repelled a lot of what they threw at us and a couple of ricochets got us.
"We certainly have to do a lot of improvement with ball in hand but the attitude of the players was spot on."
Wigan head coach Shaun Wane in response:
"That sounds to me like an absolute cop-out, but I wouldn't expect anything else. That was a dead-set try. If he is moaning about one try - just worry about other things.
"I am amazed at that comment. He doesn't need to worry about things like that.
"Half-time was really simple - very loud. That is the most I have ever freaked out, probably. I think I have lost a year of my life there.
"That was a must-win game. I wasn't bothered about playing well or bad. I wanted to win the game. I didn't want to be in a great game, play well and get pipped by a point by them.
"Bad or good I wanted two points. That was a non-negotiable, life-or-death win. We had to win. That is why I was so animated at half-time."
Wigan: Bowen; Manfredi, Tomkins, Sarginson, Burgess; Williams, Smith; Crosby, McIlorum, Flower, Bateman, L. Farrell, O'Loughlin.
Replacements: Hampshire, Mossop, Tautai, Patrick.
Salford: Chase; Caton-Brown, J. Griffin, Sa'u, Johnson; Fages, Dobson; Morley, Tomkins, Taylor, Paterson, Hauraki, Hansen.
Replacements: Tasi, Evalds, G. Griffin, J. Walne.
Referee: Joe Cobb (RFL).