Both sides cancelled each other out in terms of tries, but it was the kicking of Gareth Widdop that proved the difference as he converted six times to gain valuable points.
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After a scoreless 20 minutes, it was England who took the lead through Michael Shenton, only for Isaac Liu to score himself five minutes later.
The see-saw encounter then turned in the favour of the Islanders as Daniel Vidot scored on the half-hour mark.
Kallum Watkins levelled the scores once again, with brothers Sam and Joel Watkins adding tries in the second half.
Wakefield half-back Pita Godinet embarrassed the England twice in the space of seven minutes, after a couple of dummies confused the defence.
Kyle Stanley scored a 72nd-minute try to produce a nervy finish but England held on to win 32-26.
England come up against world champions Australia in their next encounter in the Four Nations next week.