INJURY-hit Warrington Wolves took Wigan Warriors all the way before just falling short in a 20-12 defeat in the Betfred Women’s Super League at Robin Park.

With half a dozen first-team regulars missing, it was mistakes at crucial times in the game that finally cost The Wire despite a battling performance.

Warrington had been leading with just minutes of the first half remaining but went into the break 10-8 down after a defensive lapse had allowed strong running loose forward Rachel Thompson to crash over by the posts.

The visitors had just shaded possession in the first half but Grace Banks took control of the game after the break and, supported by the guile of hooker Emma Dwyer and the strong breaks of centre Anna Davies, ran in two further tries to one to secure the points.

The visitors had started the brighter, with winger Abigail Johnston going over in the corner to give them a deserved lead on seven minutes. Michelle Davis landed just short with the conversion attempt from the touchline.

The home team then began to grow into the game with Warrington throwing everything at them defensively, but just as it seemed they had weathered the storm, a dropped ball from hooker Ellie Jelves gifted Wigan position and Davies powered over to level the scores. Molly Jones was on target with the conversion to give Wigan the lead.

The response from The Wire was impressive, particularly from Abi Latchford and Claire Mullaney, whose runs had the Wigan pack on the back foot, well supported by Johnston and Emily Downs.

But it was a mistake by Wigan that gifted Warrington the lead. Davis was penalised for a head shot but the resulting kick was caught by Wire winger Rebecca Nixon in the field of play and her strong run set up field position for Mullaney to crash over for a deserved try.

Going into the break in the lead seemed to galvanise the home side and they started much the brighter in the second half, with only some strong defence keeping them out.

The game was lost in the space a couple of minutes when the Warriors scored back-to back tries to assert full control.

First Davies went over for her second of the afternoon after Wires’ scrambling defence just fell short on 50 minutes.

Then, from the restart, Holly Speakman cashed in on a kick through that the Warrington defence failed to deal with to go over under the posts. Vicky Molyneux duly converted after taking over the kicking duties from Jones to make it 20-8.

Young full-back Shannon Stephens gave Warrington some hope after some clever acting-half play on the Wigan line on the hour mark, but despite the home side being reduced to 12 after Jones hit Stephens high on 68 minutes, the visitors just didn’t have enough to trouble the scorers further.

Warrington head coach Lee Westwood said: “We put in a really strong performance today given the number of players we had missing.

“We just made some errors in the wrong part of the field and they capitalised on that.

“Overall, I am pleased with what we showed out there. We’ve now got a couple of weeks to regroup and get some bodies back and then go from there against Huddersfield.”

Wolves: Shannon Stephens; Abigail Johnston, Chloe Kerrigan, Katie Williams, Rebecca Nixon; Michelle Davis, Charlize Magraw; Fern Davies, Ellie Jelves, Keira McCosh, Georgia Westwood, Kacy Hayley, Abigail Latchford. Subs: Dani Bound, Emily Downs, Claire Mullaney, Kimberley Seddon