Defence wins it. Owen Farrell kicked the goals that mattered and gave a lovely pass to Liam Williams that created space for Toby Faletau’s try, but his father Andy, as the Lions defence coach, should take a lot of the credit for this famous and long-awaited victory. The All Blacks dominated the middle period of the match but scarcely ever came close to scoring a try. The Lions admittedly gave away penalties in stemming the tide, but in these days when tries are usually worth 7 points, taking the risk of conceding a penalty at the breakdown to prevent the opposition from keeping their attack going often makes sense.

Much will be made doubtless of the three kicks at goal that the New Zealand fly-half Beaumont Barrett missed. One rugby writer has already remarked that the All Blacks left “nine points on the table”.  This is nonsense of course. If you kick a penalty goal, everything subsequently is different – if only because the game restarts from the half-way line, not the 22.

The red card given – correctly – to Sonny Bill Williams certainly had its influence on the match, even though Ngani Laumape, who came on at centre with the flanker Jerome Kaino leaving to accommodate him, was to be New Zealand’s most dangerous back. Popular though he is, I’ll be surprised if Williams is quickly forgiven; his no-arms smash into Anthony Watson’s face was as stupid as it was dangerous.

So the All Blacks were at a disadvantage for two-thirds of the game. The New Zealand press would be better not to dwell on that. The fact is that for all the possession and territory they enjoyed for most of the game, they ran out of ideas long before the Lions scored their first try. For all the talk of their flair and imagination, they played dull repetitive rugby, doing the same thing over and over again in the hope that the result would be different. I’ve watched Scotland play like that far too often – in the pre-Vern Cotter years.

In the run-up to this tour and during it, I’ve said – as have many others – that the All Blacks will always score tries, three at least, so that you have to score four to beat them. On the showing in Wellington this was yesterday’s wisdom. They played a narrow game, rarely even trying to move the ball wide; it was Western Front-style rugby; and to make matters worse their kicking in attack was generally poor. The Lions defence closed them down and they didn’t find a way to break free; astonishing.

In contrast, though the Lions made some handling errors themselves in attack, starting with Maro Itoje’s knock-on a couple of minutes into the game, they were more inventive and more ambitious. They found holes in the New Zealand defence, partly because it was less well-drilled, partly because it was missing a flanker, but principally because they looked for space, ran better lines and, on the whole, passed better. So they scored two good tries and deserved to win.

Still one can’t get away from the fact that it was a victory gained against fourteen men (though it was 14-a-side for the ten minutes Mako Vunipola was in the bin, also deservedly), and the missing All Black is one of their most dangerous and inventive attackers.

The match was played in vile wet conditions which would have had the Munster of Anthony Foley, Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara purring happily, but these  might not be repeated at Eden Park next week.

The series has continued to surprise, not only because many were expecting a 3-0 win for New Zealand. The Lions haven’t enjoyed the set-piece superiority some thought they might have and which they reckoned might give them their best, even only, chance of winning. Instead they have sought to play a running and passing game, and with Jonny Sexton and Owen Farrell at 10 and 12 are capable of doing this very well. “Warrenball”, inasmuch as there is such a thing, has been consigned to history. Indeed, in Wellington, the  All Blacks came closer to playing the narrow restricted game of “Warrenball” than the Lions.

Will the Lions pull off a series win next week? It’s possible. Confidence and self-belief must now be high, and they have a chance if they continue to pay with adventure and audacity. On the other hand the All Blacks surely can’t play as badly two weeks in succession, relying on penalty goals to keep the scoreboard moving. But if they are to win they must find a way of outwitting and outpacing the Lions’ aggressive defence. So they will have to be more ambitious – which gives opportunities for the counter-attack. Despite the result in Wellington they will start as favourites, but the Lions know that these All Blacks are not invincible. The New Zealand captain, Kieran Read, made no excuses for their defeat, admitting that the better side won. He left the words “on the day” unspoken, but I would wager they were in his mind along with the determination to make the next day very different.