Vikings come up short; series of missed opportunities proves costly as wigan need just one try to clinch the win.
WIDNES VIKINGS 0 WIGAN WARRIORS 7 WIDNES wasted their chance to all but clinch a Top 8 spot with a series of missed opportunities that left them scoreless in defeat to Wigan.
Josh Charnley took his try tally to six in four games to move Wigan joint top of the Super League alongside Hull with a 7-0 win.
The Sale-bound winger broke the deadlock after a scoreless first half as the depleted Warriors made it five wins in a row.
Wigan, without nine regulars, were held until Charnley went over in the 48th minute for his 16th try of the campaign - and the only touchdown of a hard-fought clash.
Charnley also saved a try with a desperate tackle on Chris Dean, who seemed certain to score as Widnes attempted to hit back.
Matty Smith converted Charnley's try and added a trademark drop goal to extend the lead to 7-0. Widnes made a lively start with Joe Mellor almost touching down from a Kevin Brown kick.
Dom Crosby was lucky not to be sin-binned for a late and high challenge on skipper Brown and it needed a double tackle to prevent Corey Thompson going over in the corner when he looked a certain scorer.
Then it was Wigan's turn to apply pressure after being awarded back-toback penalties, the first for a late challenge on Jake Shorrocks by Macgraff Leuluai, but the Vikings held out.
Patrick Ah Van brought the Widnes fans to their feet with a dashing 50-metre burst from his own line and the Vikings would have gone ahead had Whitley not fumbled Mellor's kick after Anthony Gelling's misfield.
The try was disallowed by video referee Joe Cobb who then ruled out a Charnley touchdown when the Wigan winger was held up over the line by Chris Bridge. Ah Van should have scored in the corner from a Mellor pass with the Warriors' cause not helped when sub Nick Gregson was carried off injured after Wigan lost Crosby with an elbow problem.
Ben Flower came to Wigan's rescue just before the break with a superb tackle on Rhys Hanbury who looked set to score near the posts.
Flower's impact forced Hanbury to lose possession and Widnes went in at the interval regretting four missed chances in the first half.
Brown almost squeezed over for Widnes early in the second half from dummy half but lost the ball in a three-man tackle.
Charnley finally broke the deadlock after 48 minutes with Smith, Shorrocks and Oliver Gildart combining smartly for the winger to cross in the corner and Smith booted the conversion and then dropped a goal to make it 7-0. Dean blew another chance for Widnes with Charnley just doing enough to force the second-rower to drop the ball over the line after a scintillating run.
Wigan lost Gelling with a chest injury as their injury problems mounted but it was an impressive backs-to-the-wall performance by Shaun Wane's men, who are second despite the fact that they are Super League's third lowest points scorers.
Rhys Hanbury just can't reach out and get the ball down while Chris Dean (inset) races away - but ends up dropping the ball over the line CRAIG GALLOWAY
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|Publication:||Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)|
|Date:||Jun 17, 2016|
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