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Warrington return to top with tough win over 12-man Wakefield

Warrington Wolves

Warrington returned to the top of the Super League table with a 32-18 win over bottom club Wakefield – but they were made to work for the victory.

The sides were locked 12-12 at half-time at the Halliwell Jones Stadium before a red card for Trinity’s Kevin Proctor 10 minutes after the break changed the game and allowed the home team to pull clear.

It was Warrington who took the lead just inside the first 10 minutes as Josh Thewlis weaved his way through the Wakefield defence to open the scoring.

Thewlis soon had his second as minutes later James Harrison powered through with a clean break and supplied the supporting Thewlis with his second four-pointer.

At this point you would have been forgiven for thinking Trinity would fold but that didn’t happen as five minutes later they were back in the game.

It came through Morgan Smith who took an offload from prop Jai Whitbread, with Smith racing away and superbly rounding Thewlis to score.

As the game approached the 25-minute mark the visitors were level as this time it was Smith’s halfback partner Mason Lino who produced a moment of magic, providing an excellent delayed pass to Kelepi Tanginoa who powered over.

Now at 12-12, the remainder of the first half remained tight with both sides going close but failing to score thanks to some super defence from both teams.

The second half started out much in the same vain until the game changed in the 52nd minute as Proctor was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle on Thewlis.

Stefan Ratchford kicked the resulting penalty to edge the Wolves ahead at 14-12, his third successful kick of the night having converted Thewlis’ two first half tries.

The game was then put to bed on the hour as Matty Ashton continued his superb form to dive in at the corner and extend the lead, leaving the 12 men of Wakefield with a mountain to climb at 20-12 following another Ratchford conversion.

Warrington took their lead out further with 10 minutes left as new England captain George Williams broke through to score, before Wakefield hit back through a consolation Matty Ashurst score.

But it was Wire who had the last laugh as Ashton crossed for his second of the night to make the final scoreline 32-18 – a slightly flattering margin of victory for the hosts in the end.

There were plenty of positives on the night for Trinity coach Mark Applegarth, with his side well in the game through before Proctor’s sending off.

For Warrington, it wasn’t their best performance of the season but it was an important win after back-to-back defeats as Daryl Powell’s men returned to the top of the table following Wigan’s shock defeat at Hull FC last night.

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