Charnley grabs late point for Wigan

Josh Charnley handed Wigan a dramatic share of the spoils

Josh Charnley handed Wigan a dramatic share of the spoils

First published in National Sport © by

Wigan's England winger Josh Charnley grabbed an injury-time try to deny Hull KR a victory and snatch a point from a dramatic finish to an error-strewn Super League match at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

The Robins, who led 14-4 after 72 minutes, will feel hard done by after dominating most of the match but Matty Smith's failure to convert Charnley's try from the touchline at least salvaged them a point from a 14-14 draw which keeps their play-off hopes alive.

Wigan missed the chance to go top of the table but will feel grateful to avoid a sixth defeat in seven trips into Yorkshire after producing a flat performance.

It was a largely unhappy return for former Hull KR favourite and playmaker Blake Green, who was back in the Wigan side after a three-month absence with a ruptured bicep but produced a moment of magic to create a try for skipper Sean O'Loughlin that sparked the late fightback.

It was one of their best performances of the season yet the Robins could hardly have made a worse start, with prop forward Adam Walker dropping the ball on his own 20-metre line inside the first set of tackles.

Wigan immediately took advantage, with Smith and Green combining with full-back Matty Bowen to get centre Dan Sarginson slithering his way over for the game's first try, with just 84 seconds on the clock.

But the home side's response was superb as their forwards took the game to their opponents and created a host of scoring opportunities.

Charnley conceded a goal-line drop-out to save one try and second-rower Joel Tomkins, making his first start since his return from rugby union, threw Neville Costigan back from the line when he looked a certain scorer.

The equalising try eventually came on 18 minutes when Charnley only managed to get one hand to the ball as it sailed over his head and KR centre Craig Hall, preferred to the out-of-touch Kris Welham, touched it down inches from the dead-ball line.

It was nothing more than the home side deserved as they began to dominate.

Right winger Ade Gardner could have had a hat-trick of tries with steadier finishing but his inability to take a poor pass from Liam Salter with a two-man overlap summed up the misfortune of the former St Helens man.

However, Gardner brought the crowd to its feet with a shuddering tackle on Sarginson that halted a rare dangerous Wigan attack and breathed fresh belief into his side.

The turning point came six minutes before half-time when Charnley had a try disallowed for offside and Rovers immediately took play upfield and took the lead for the first time.

Half-backs Keating and Travis Burns demonstrated quick hands to get second rower Jason Chan over for a try and Burns' conversion put his side 10-4 ahead.

That gave the Robins just the confidence they needed and they continued to make the champions look very ordinary in the second half.

Their spirit and determination was illustrated in Graeme Horne's tackle on Bowen which forced him to spill the ball.

Chan went 70 metres after swooping on it and although he was halted 20 metres out from the Wigan line, Rovers maintained their composure this time and left winger Ben Cockayne accepted full-back Greg Eden's pass to cross for a third try.

Burns was off target for the second time, leaving him with one success from three kicks at goal, and Wigan gave themselves hope when Green carved out a try for O'Loughlin eight minutes from the end.

Smith added the conversion to cut the gap to just four points and in the tense finish centre Anthony Gelling squeezed out a pass for Charney to produce a devastating finish and claim a point.

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