Warrington 9-8 Castleford: Last minute Blake Austin drop goal earns Wire win

6th March 2020, Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, England; Betfred Super League, Warrington Wolves v Castleford Tigers : Blake Austin (6) of Warrington Wolves celebrates as his drop goal wins the game

A last minute drop goal by Australian stand off Blake Austin gave Warrington a dramatic 9-8 win and deny Castleford Tigers top spot in the Betfred Super League.

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.

The Wolves and their coach Steve Price went into the game under huge pressure following their indifferent start to the season and their 36-0 humbling by Leeds seven days previously but they responded excellently to snatch a thrilling win and get their season back on track.

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.

There were three changes to the Warrington side as Danny Walker, Jake Mamo and Sitaleki Akauola replaced Luther Burrell, Matt Davis and Luis Johnson.

Castleford made two changes from the side that won at Hull KR with Turner and Jesse Sene-Lefao coming into the side in place of the injured Liam Watts and James Clare.

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 with new England coach Shaun Wane an interested spectator.

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.

A run of five penalties in succession against the Wolves resulted in a team warning issued by referee Robert Hicks but the home side’s defence still managed to hold firm despite plenty of possession in favour of the Tigers.

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 winger 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.

A superb pass from Michael Shenton 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 twice missed drop goal attempts before Austin hit the winning one-pointer.

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