Catalans 24-28 St Helens: Saints leave it late to avoid another defeat
Last Updated: 18/03/17 9:14pm
St Helens eased the pressure on coach Keiron Cunningham and avoided a fourth defeat in a row as they conjured up a try eight minutes from time to secure a 28-24 win at Catalans Dragons.
Saints looked set to suffer another deflating loss until a piece of magic from Perpignan-born Theo Fages sent Jack Owens over for the match-winning score.
Both sides headed into the game on the back of losses last weekend, and a free-flowing first half saw 40 points scored, as the sides traded tries.
Saints opened the scoring in the second minute, Adam Swift racing over in the left corner after a flowing move involving Fages, Jon Wilkin, Tommy Makinson and Mark Percival, who added the conversion from the touchline.
Then Richie Myler and Luke Walsh combined to send the ball to the Catalans right, and Thomas Bosc raced over to score, Walsh's conversion levelling the scores at 6-6.
St Helens were soon back in front, the combination of Fages, Wilkin and Makinson down the Saints left again paying dividends as they sent Percival away to score in the left corner, but he missed the conversion of his own try.
And on the quarter hour Myler and Walsh again combined to send Julian Bouquet away to score to the left of the posts, and Walsh added the conversion to give the hosts a 12-10 lead.
But four minutes later, St Helens had the lead again when James Roby's wide ball from the acting half close to the Catalans line allowed Fages to draw the cover Catalans defence and send Ryan Morgan over to score his second try of the season. Percival added the conversion from the right hand side to see Saints lead 16-12.
St Helens thought they had extended their lead through Adam Swift directly from the restart but the video referee ruled out his effort and Catalans also had a try ruled out by the video official, Myler's solo effort on the half hour chalked off for an earlier obstruction.
From the resulting penalty, St Helens marched up field and a short ball from Roby saw Adam Walker charge over under the posts for his first try for St Helens, Percival adding the simple conversion to extend the Saints' lead to 10 points.
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With five minutes remaining in the half, Iain Thornley latched onto another flowing move involving Myler and Walsh as Catalans responded once more.
Walsh's wide pass to Thornley saw the former Hull KR centre score his first try for the club in the left corner and Walsh added the touchline conversion to take the score to 22-18.
Thornley thought he had scored a second try in the last play of the first half, his acrobatic effort ruled out for putting his foot on the sideline.
Tries were a lot more scarce after the break but Catalans edged themselves in front seven minutes into the second half as a Wilkin error gifted them field position and Paul Aiton dummied his way over the line to score to the left of the posts, Walsh adding the conversion to give the home-side a two-point lead.
However, with eight minutes remaining St Helens scored what proved to be the match-winning try.
Fages attacked down the right hand side, collecting Morgan's pass then producing a superb offload to send Owens over to score, and Percival kicked the conversion to give the visitors a 28-24 win.