WARRINGTON Wolves' Challenge Cup dreams remain alive after a narrow victory against Hull KR at the KC Lighstream Stadium.
The visitors found themselves two tries down after Ben Cockyane and Adam Walker scores and despite replies from Ryan Atkins and Joel Monaghan they went in behind at the break after Travis Burns’ penalty.
Rhys Evans scampered over immediately after the interval and a second try for Atkins as well as one for Roy Asotasi proved enough to claim the win despite Ade Gardner’s try and a late Omari Caro score.
Wolves started brightly and good carries from Matty Russell and Rhys Evans took the visitors deep into Hull KR territory, before Richie Myler’s high bomb swirled in the wind and the hosts reclaimed possession.
Josh Hodgson was held out in the ninth minute and the visitors again made good ground through Russell and Ben Westwood that riled the home crowd.
The hosts opened the scoring 14 minutes in, however, when Cockyane managed to ground despite close attention from Wolves’ defence.
Kevin Larroyer had hit a gap and Cockyane picked up from dummy half to force his way over, Travis Burns added the extras.
Tony Smith immediately introduced stalwart Paul Wood for his first outing of the 2014 campaign and he earned Wolves a penalty. Simon Grix collected 10 metres from the Robins’ try line, but lost the ball in the tackle.
With 18 minutes played replacement James Green managed to offload and take three would-be Wolves tacklers out of the game as Jordan Cox broke forward to win a penalty.
Hull KR spread the ball through hands eventually finding Walker on the right wing and he crashed through Russell’s tackle with a short range charge to increase the hosts’ lead, Burns converted.
It took only two minutes for Wolves to respond, Myler timed his grubber to perfection for the returning Atkins to gather over the try line and ground his third score of the season.
Chris Bridge, following three from three conversions at Huddersfield Giants last week, added the extras.
A frantic half of rugby continued with Hull’s Gardner being held up over the line by Rhys Evans, but once Warrington turned over possession a loose ball found the winger scampering back over his own try line and he was unable to make it out.
The resulting drop kick from Stefan Ratchford found its way straight into touch and Burns was given the chance to add two simple points with the boot from in front of the posts on 27 minutes.
James Laithwaite thought he had pulled a try back for Wolves two minutes later, but after he was forced into the post-guard by three Hull tacklers referee Richard Silverwood blew for a double movement.
Young full back Russell was thankful when, having misjudged a high Kris Keating kick into the wind, the ball went dead and Rhys Lovegrove was unable to touch down.
Wolves did get their try in the 33rd minute when Chris Hill sent Ratchford through a gap, the stand off found Russell to burst through in support.
After not being held in the covering tackle, the 20-year-old regained his footing to spin a pass out right to Westwood, who fed Joel Monaghan to cross wide out. Bridge was unable to convert from a difficult position.
Wolves enjoyed their first period of prolonged pressure in the Robins’ 22 before the interval and again crossed the line only to see possession awarded to the hosts.
Ben Evans this time reaching out an arm to place the ball over the line, but referee Silverwood, for the second occasion, ruling it was a result of a double movement after Evans was grounded in the tackle and Wolves headed into the break 14-10 down.
The conditions continued to cause problems as the second half began and Cockayne spilt a high Ratchford kick to give Wolves possession inside the Hull KR 22.
Tony Smith’s side kept the pressure on and as the ball moved left Trent Waterhouse slipped a clever offload to Myler, who floated a pass wide to Rhys Evans and the winger’s trademark sidestep took him over for the try. Bridge curled the conversion over.
Wolves’ defence was forced to switch on immediately and Russell stood strong to stop Burns crossing when in full flight.
On 52 minutes Gardner grabbed yet another try against Warrington. The on-loan St Helens winger, prolific against the Wolves during his time with Saints, collected Burns’ pass and had the pace the find the corner to put Hull KR back into the lead. Burns failed to convert.
With 19 minutes remaining Roy Asotasi offloaded to Chris Hill at speed and he took Cockyane out of the game with a neat pass to Joel Monaghan.
Monaghan was stopped narrowly short of the line, but Myler found space to deliver a clever grubber kick that looked like going dead only for Atkins to reach out and ground. Bridge converted.
Four minutes later Green broke through the Warrington line and galloped forward. Drawing the attention of Russell he passed to Burns, but Wolves’ winger Atkins recovered to make the tackle.
Atkins’ pace was proving difficult for the Hull KR defence to handle and it was Wolves’ two-try man who again broke the gain line, but the visitors’ move was cut short when Russell fumbled the pass.
With five minutes left Wolves put the game seemingly out of reach. Russell darted in from close range and when the Scotland international was held upright in the tackle he was able to find Asotasi at close quarters for his third try of the season. Bridge converted.
However, within one minute of Wolves’ score Hull KR had brought the game back to within a converted try of a win. Former London Broncos winger Caro stretched his legs to go round the outside and get close enough to the posts for Burns to add the extras.
But Wolves hung on to go into the hat for the fifth round.