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Saints close the gap
St Helens launch late comeback to move within two points of Leeds
St Helens left it late before coming back to defeat Wakefield Wildcats 34-30 on Sunday afternoon.
Daniel Anderson's side move joint second with arch-rivals Wigan Warriors in the Super League table as a result, but this was no routine victory at Knowsley Road.
The Wildcats scored five tries to lead 30-18 with a quarter of an hour left on the clock before the Challenge Cup holders stepped up a gear.
Ade Gardner scored his fourth and fifth tries of the campaign to get Saints back to within two points of their West Yorkshire opponents and Paul Wellens' second try of the match secured the points with just three minutes remaining.
To and fro
Saints, with two 18-year-olds in their side, had made a dream start to the game with two tries in the first 10 minutes as Leon Pryce finished the first following a strong break by Keiron Cunningham.
Matt Gidley and Gardner then combined to send Wellens over the line and Saints had a 12-0 lead courtesy of Sean Long's pair of conversions.
But Wakefield prop Adam Watene powered over for a solo score and hooker Sam Obst nipped in from dummy half to level the scores with Danny Brough kicking the extras 25 minutes in.
James Graham showed real strength to go over and restore Saints' lead to six following Long's third conversion, but Wakefield struck back again on the stroke of half-time as Jamie Rooney sent back rower Brett Ferres over for the game's sixth converted try as the teams went in level at 18-18.
Rooney then latched on to Brough's grubber kick to put the Wildcats ahead for the first time in the match after the restart and the scrum-half then repeated the feat to send Sean Gleeson over for the half's second converted try.
Wakefield had looked on course for a repeat of their shock opening day win against the Bradford Bulls at that stage, but Wellens' switch to loose forward in the absence of injured captain Paul Sculthorpe - who had to leave the field after making his first start for nine months - proved decisive.
Wellens first broke through to send Gardner over after 64 minutes and Long's fourth goal cut the gap to six points. Gidley's superb offload then allowed Gardner to touch down again with eight minutes left.
Long had failed to level the scores following a difficult conversion chance, but with time running out his speculative kick up field was hacked on by Francis Meli who re-gathered to send Wellens over for his second and all-important try.
Long kicked the conversion and Saints had their third win in three since losing at Hull Kingston Rovers in the opening round.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||27||23|
|10||Salford Red Devils||27||23|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||27||10|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 5th February|
|20:00||Widnes vs Wigan|
|Friday 6th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Catalans Dragons|
|Sunday 8th February|
|15:00||Huddersfield vs Hull|
|15:00||Warrington vs Salford|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Leeds|
|15:30||Castleford vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|20:00||Salford vs St Helens|
|Friday 13th February|
|20:00||Hull vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Widnes|
|20:00||Wigan vs Huddersfield|
|First Utility Super League|
|Saturday 11th October|
|St Helens 14 - 6 Wigan|
|Friday 3rd October|
|Wigan 16 - 12 Warrington|
|Thursday 2nd October|
|St Helens 30 - 12 Catalans Dragons|
|Friday 26th September|
|Huddersfield 16 - 18 Catalans Dragons|
|Thursday 25th September|
|Castleford 14 - 30 Warrington|
|Saturday 20th September|
|Leeds 20 - 24 Catalans Dragons|
|Warrington 22 - 19 Widnes|
|Friday 19th September|
|St Helens 41 - 0 Castleford|
|Thursday 18th September|
|Wigan 57 - 4 Huddersfield|
|Sunday 14th September|
|Wakefield 18 - 42 Hull K R|
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