After a week away from Super League for the International break, action returned on Thursday night as Hull FC looked for their second consecutive win as they faced the daunting task of a game against the league leaders, the Wigan Warriors.
Neither side could improve on their current league position but for the visitors it would give them a two-point lead at the top of the table, whereas for the Airlie Birds it would lift them four points clear of the Castleford Tigers and give them a comfortable cushion in tenth place.
The bookies thought it would be a closer game than most pundits, FC getting an eight-point start on the coupon, as most fans wearing both colours heading for the stadium forecast a sizable win for the Cherry and Whites.
It was the perfect start for the home side when they opened the scoring on four hand a half minutes when Darnall McIntosh collected a chip to the corner by Jake Clifford to outsmart the Wigan winger and score one-handed on the corner. Clifford added the conversion from the touchline for a 6-0 lead.
Clifford got the second Hull try himself, after providing the first, as he took the ball eight metres out and crashed between the Wigan defenders to reach for the line and ground. The stand-off added the extras for 12-0, as strains of Old Faithful rang around the stadium.
When Wigan out in a high shot on Chris Satae on the half hour mark, Clifford kicked the resulting penalty to extend the lead to three scores and the Airlie Birds were fully worthy of their lead.
Two minutes before the interval Wigan grabbed a lifeline when the created an extra man from the back of the scrum for Ian Thornley to cross in the corner off a Harry Smith pass. Smith kicked brilliantly from the touchline for 14-6 at the interval.
The second half started in driving rain and after good early Hull pressure it was Wigan who drew first blood after a drop out saw Wigan back on the attack, Liam Farrell putting in the final pass to Thorley for his second of the night, and second in six minutes of game time. This time Smith was wide with the conversion, but the lead was down to four points.
Twenty-two minutes passed with the sides at loggerheads but without the scorers being troubled before a ball steal in a loose carry presented Hull with a gilt-edged opportunity to score but after a kick to the corner was tapped back, it went into the hands of Bevan French who broke downfield, only to be hauled down by the retreating Hull defence.
As the clock progressed through to seventy-five minutes the nerves of both sides frayed as errors started to creep in. It looked like Wigan were going to go over with a big overlap, but Junior Nsemba put the ball to ground as he failed to take the pass.
Jake Trueman was sin-binned for a professional foul on seventy-nine as he held down in the tackle to buy time, probably saving the game for his side. Two plays into the set Wigan put the ball to ground themselves, and the twelve men held on for the win.
This was one of the more sensational results, in an already sensational season, as Hull FC overcame all the odds to beat the league leaders from tenth place in the table and record back-to-back wins. Clifford was the inspiration for the home side and registered ten out of his sides fourteen points in the four-point win in a tremendous game which went all the way to the final hooter with nails bitten to the quick. FC easing their way out of trouble and putting more breathing space between themselves and the pointless Wakefield Trinity in the relegation spot.
Hull FC: Litten, McIntosh (T), Sutcliffe, Tuimavave, Scott, Clifford (T, 3G), McNamara, Fash, Houghton, Sao, Griffin, Lane, Cator. Subs: Dwyer, Satae, Taylor, Trueman (SB on 79). 18th Man: Lovodua.
Wigan Warriors: French, Miski, King, Wardle, Thornley (2T), Shorrocks, Smith (G), Havard, Powell, Byrne, Pearce-Paul, Farrell, Smithies. Subs: Mago, O´Neill, Hill, Nsemba. 18th Man: Hampshire.
Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 10-0, 12-0, 14-0, 14-4, 14-6 : HT: 14-10, (SB) : FT.
Lead Exchanges: Hull.
Referee: Ben Thaler.