GUTTED Danny Addy missed a crucial late penalty as Bradford Bulls’ hopes of promotion were ended in dramatic circumstances today - and elated Wakefield Trinity survive in Super League yet again.
Trailing 18-16 in the inaugural Million Pound Game, the Bulls loose forward faced a difficult 76th kick to level after Reece Lyne was deemed not square at marker.
Addy was wide with his effort, though, and soon after Scott Moore - the former England hooker on loan from Wakefield’s fierce rivals Castleford Tigers - raced clear to seal a memorable and vital win for the West Yorkshire club’s future.
Relegation could have been perilous for Trinity but, having finished bottom of Super League with just three wins, they repeated the heroics of 2006 when they defeated Castleford on the last day to stay-up.
Bulls head coach Jimmy Lowes was furious at the end arguing that Trinity’s Pita Godinet stole the ball off Dale Ferguson in a two-man tackle to deny them one last chance before Moore crossed.
Trinity were marginally the better side and, having gone 12-0 up early in the second period, should have pushed on.
However, Bradford, relegated from Super League last year and desperate to return from the Championship, rallied to scare them with captain Adrian Purtell particularly influential.
Wakefield led just 6-0 at the break after Danny Kirmond’s 15th minute try, one of the few passages of slick play in a scrappy opening period.
Joe Arundel converted and he thought he was over for their second try in the next set when Tom Johnstone claimed a high kick and fed the centre but the pass was deemed forward.
Bulls - who initially dropped too much ball when in good positions - had few chances, limited to Matty Blythe’s unsuccessful dive for a corner after Paul Clough was help up burrowing close and then an unusual effort from Danny Addy.
He dropped Harry Siejka’s pass but it came off his chest and he followed up to touch down, Richard Silverwood awarding a try.
The video officials ruled otherwise but, when Arundel missed a simple penalty in front of the posts, Bradford were very much still in it at half-time despite their general laxness.
However, Moore crabbed out of dummy-half to send Leeds Rhinos-bound prop Anthony Mullally over untouched for Jordan Tansey to make it 12-0 on 44 minutes.
Mullally then made another strong carry which should have seen Miller score but the half-back could not hold on to the offload with the line begging.
Clearly, it was obvious Bradford needed something quickly and they got it courtesy of a piece of magic from captain Purtell.
The Australian found a brilliant flick pass that sent winger Danny Williams over in the 49th minute and, after Addy converted from wide out, they scored again just five minute later.
Gaskell’s cure inside pass sent full-back Jake Mullaney racing clear and, though Lyne brought the full-back down, they moved the ball wide to the right on the last tackle and Dane Nielsen’s squeezed offload ricocheted back off Godinet over the line where Blythe touched down.
Addy could not convert from wide out and Trinity eased pressure on themselves when Tansey’s excellent kick return set up position for Miller to usher Danny Washbrook - the second-row who now returns to Hull FC - over for a try on the hour.
Tansey improved but Purtell latched onto Adam O’Brien’s sniping run to score and see Addy bring it back to 18-16 in the 64th minute.
Bradford were thankful to Mullaney when he halted Chris Annakin in his tracks - the young Trinity loose forward who was a storming presence throughout - and Moore was then held up over the goalline as he tried burrowing over on the last.
Lyne then fouled O’Brien scoots but Addy could not equalise.
A crowd of 7,236 witnessed the intoxicating game which saw Ali Lauitiiti, Wakefield’s veteran former Leeds Rhinos second-row, sign off for retirement in style.
Heartbroken Bradford will have to spend another year in the Championship and fight yet again in the second-tier in 2016.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Tansey; Lyne, Tupou, Arundel, Johnstone; Miller, Godinet; Scruton, Sio, Simon, Kirmond, Washbrook, Annakin. Substitutes: Yates, Mullally, Moore, Lauitiiti.
Bradford Bulls: Mullaney; Williams, Purtell, Nielsen, Blythe; Gaskell, Siejka; Clough, O’Brien, Sidlow, Olbison, Ferguson, Addy. Substitutes: Pitts, Baile, Crossley, Lauaki.
Referee: Richard Silverwood (Mirfield)