Wakefield 24-20 St Helens: Trinity pull off fine win to end losing streak
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 16/04/18 2:04pm
Super League leaders St Helens suffered only a second defeat of the season as Wakefield halted their own five-match losing run in a nail-biting contest at the Mobile Rocket Stadium on Sunday.
England centre Mark Percival scored two tries, taking his tally for the season to 12, as Saints fought back from 22-6 down to close to within two points, but they could not maintain their composure in a dramatic finish as Wakefield clung on for a 24-20 victory, their first at home to St Helens for six years.
Both sides finished the game with 12 men after Percival and Wakefield hooker Tyler Randell were sin-binned but, after losing their last three matches by a combined total of eight points, Trinity coach Chris Chester will be thrilled by the way they held their nerve this time.
Saints, who had former England scrum-half Matty Smith starting at hooker in the absence of James Roby with a rib cartilage injury, made the perfect start as former captain Jon Wilkin broke clear to get Danny Richardson haring for the line inside the first minute.
Although Richardson was tackled just short of the line, Wakefield could not regroup in time to prevent full-back Ben Barba sending Percival over for his first try.
Richardson's goal made it 6-0 but Trinity, bolstered by the return of senior players Liam Finn, Scott Grix and Anthony England, quickly hit their straps to run in four tries in an 18-minute spell.
Right winger Ben Jones-Bishop took Finn's pass to score the first and came up with an opportunist break to create the position for his centre Reece Lyne to go over.
Loose forward Justin Horo dummied his way over for a solo try and Wakefield were on a roll when dangerous left winger Bill Tupou scooped up a loose pass to force his way over in the 22nd minute to extend his side's lead to 22-6.
Saints' right winger Tommy Makinson produced an acrobatic finish to stop the rot but Wakefield stepped up their defensive efforts, holding loose forward Morgan Knowles up over the line and bringing down Zeb Taia just short of it.
However, the visitors added a third try on the stroke of half-time with Barba getting Percival over for his second try, although Richardson was off target for the second time with the boot.
Trailing 22-14 at the break, St Helens made further inroads early in the second half when prop Luke Douglas charged over for their fourth try after Richardson had set up the position with a 40-20 kick.
Wakefield might have been down to 12 men after 53 minutes when stand-off Jacob Miller tackled centre Ryan Morgan before he could take a potential try-scoring pass from Richardson, but referee Gareth Hewer restricted his punishment to a penalty and they held onto their two-point lead.
The Yorkshire side then missed a glorious chance to extend their lead when Horo broke clear but failed to pass to the supporting Matty Ashurst and was brought down short of the line.
A penalty from Finn eight minutes from the end gave his side more breathing space, but Wakefield played the last six minutes with 12 men after Randell was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on Jonny Lomax as Saints went for the
However, the leaders lost their composure in the closing stages and Percival blotted his copybook by being sent to the sin bin for using abusive language to touch judge Chris Kendall.