Wigan Warriors battled to a bruising 7-0 victory at Widnes Vikings on Thursday to move level on points with Super League leaders Hull FC.
An error-strewn, penalty-ridden game appeared in danger of finishing scoreless before Josh Charnley finally claimed the only try eight minutes into the second half.
Matty Smith added a conversion and a drop goal to extend Wigan's lead and Widnes were left to rue a host of near-misses in opposition territory.
The first match of round 19 was preceded by a minute's applause for Ronan Costello, the Huddersfield Giants academy player who died at the age of 17 earlier this week after being seriously injured in an Under-19s fixture.
Wigan, who were missing suspended England international John Bateman, handed a debut to Jake Shorrocks and the young half-back made a key intervention in the first period as he and Lewis Tierney bundled Corey Thompson into touch with a Widnes try appearing certain.
The Vikings' other winger, Patrick Ah Van, also saw a great opportunity go begging as he dropped a pass from dummy half in the left corner, while Rhys Hanbury lost the ball agonisingly short of the try line following a last-ditch tackle from Ben Flower.
Moments after England coach Wayne Bennett had been spotted yawning in the crowd, Charnley broke the deadlock, stepping inside off the right flank to score.
Widnes' evening was summed up when Chris Dean surged clear late on, only to drop the ball over the line as he was tackled by Charnley.