Super League: St Helens defeat Leeds after Joel Moon red card
By Rob Lancaster
Last Updated: 01/09/14 10:55am
St Helens fought back to defeat the 12 men of Leeds 13-12 at Headingley and take a major step towards claiming the League Leaders' Shield.
Tries from Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and James Roby helped Saints recover from 12-2 down in the second half after the Rhinos had Moon red carded in the 22nd minute for a shoulder charge on Mark Percival.
Still, the hosts looked set to carry on from their Tetley's Challenge Cup triumph at Wembley six days ago when they opened up a 12-2 interval lead thanks to a try from Liam Sutcliffe and four goals from skipper Kevin Sinfield.
However the numerical advantage eventually worked in Saints' favour, Lance Hohaia's drop goal in the closing minutes completing their comeback. With arch rivals Wigan losing at Widnes, Nathan Brown's side now lead at the summit by five points and can only be caught by Castleford, who host already relegated Bradford Bulls on Sunday.
Leeds now know their hopes of winning all three domestic trophies this season are over, though the parading of the Challenge Cup after the final hooter seemed a little hollow as the dust settled on a tough defeat.
For an hour it had seemed they would overcome the loss of Moon, punished for not using his arms in a tackle on Percival when his opponent had no chance to defend himself, and beat the table-toppers.
Having fallen behind to an early penalty from Percival, the Rhinos responded with 12 unanswered points that included a lovely try from Sutcliffe, the teenager bringing out a dummy to create enough room for him to slide over.
Sinfield was on target with the conversion and also added a third penalty right before the half-time hooter awarded for a ball steal, making it a double-digit lead for the home team.
In the end, though, their advantage wasn't quite enough to cling onto. They defended manfully but were undone by repeat sets of six.
After Zak Hardaker had to give away a dropout McCarthy-Scarsbrook crashed through a gap to touch down in the 62nd minute, albeit that the gap remained at six points due to Jordan Turner fluffing the conversion.
The centre, actually filling in at loose forward for the match, made amends somewhat by drilling a 40-20 that put St Helens in prime position to strike again. They duly did so, this time Roby the man to score.
Tommy Makinson added the extras to level the scores before Hohaia provided the match-winning moment, his one-pointer just looping over the crossbar as Leeds had neither enough time or energy left to offer a riposte.