Warrington Wolves 9 Castleford Tigers 8 - Blake Austin strikes late to keep Tigers off top spot
The scores were locked at 8-8 in a hard-fought contest at the Halliwell Jones stadium and in a frantic finale five drop goal attempts were missed in a pulsating final seven minutes before Austin nailed the winning one-pointer in the dying seconds from 30 metres out.
Warrington claimed their only try through Tom Lineham and Stefan Ratchford landed two goals, while Castleford replied with a penalty try awarded to Calum Turner and two Danny Richardson goals.
The opening 40 minutes were a real arm wrestle of a contest with defences very much on top and scoring opportunities at a real premium.
It was no surprise that the deadlock was broken with a penalty when Richardson booted over a simple effort after Keanan Brand was penalised for a high tackle.
The one moment of real quality in the half brought the only try of the opening 40 minutes when a superb pass from Ben Currie allowed Toby King to send Lineham clear and he finished with a spectacular dive in the corner.
Ratchford’s touchline conversion attempt hit the post which meant Warrington took a 4-2 lead into the half-time break.
An early second-half penalty from Ratchford edged his side a further two points ahead but when Lineham spilled a high kick close to his own line soon after it gave the Tigers excellent position which they took full advantage of.
Michael Shenton’s pass gave Turner the space to go for the corner but he was denied by a high tackle from Brand which saw the winger put a foot in touch. After review by the video referee Liam Moore Turner was awarded a penalty try. It also gave Richardson an easy conversion from in front of the posts to give his side an 8-6 lead but a further Ratchford penalty on the hour mark tied things up at 8-8.
Daryl Clark came off the bench to add some zip to the Wolves and he had a try ruled out for a double movement and then in a frantic finale Austin, Gareth Widdop, Jake Trueman and Richardson all missed drop goal attempts before Austin’s one-pointer.
Warrington: Ratchford, Lineham, King, Brand, Charnley, Austin, Widdop, Hill, Walker, Cooper, Currie, Murdoch-Masila, J. Clark. Substitutes: D. Clark, Philbin, Mamo, Akauola.
Castleford: Rankin, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Turner, Trueman, Richardson, Smith, McShane, Griffin, Blair, McMeeken, Massey. Substitutes: Millington, Holmes, Milner, Sene-Lefao.
Referee: Robert Hicks (RFL)