Saints leave it late to beat Wakefield

Regan Grace scored his fourth brace of tries for St Helens this season

Betfred Super League
St Helens (20) 34
Tries: Grace 2, Lomax, Richardson, Roby, Taia Goals: Richardson 5
Wakefield (6) 30
Tries: Johnstone 2, Hampshire, Miller, Caton-Brown, Lyne Goals: Finn 3

St Helens scored three late tries to beat Wakefield and extend their lead at the top of Super League to six points.

Regan Grace and Jonny Lomax crossed for the hosts either side of Tom Johnstone touching down for Wakefield.

Danny Richardson scored just before half-time while Ryan Hampshire reduced Wakefield’s deficit after the break.

Jacob Miller, Mason Caton-Brown and Johnstone crossed to put Wakefield ahead before Grace, James Roby and Zeb Taia overturned the visitors’ lead.

Defeat means Wakefield remain sixth in the table, with Wigan in second.

When Miller and Caton-Brown touched down within four minutes of one another to put Trinity ahead after the break, a second home defeat of the season for Saints looked a possibility.

Johnstone then added another try to his tally for the evening to extend their lead against Saints to six points, but Liam Finn missed with successive conversion attempts.

Grace’s fine solo effort – and tries from Roby and Taia – then ensured the Super League leaders edged a highly entertaining encounter despite Reece Lyne’s late score setting up a tense finale.

Saints quartet Roby, Lomax, Mark Percival and Tommy Makinson featured for Saints six days after playing in England’s win over New Zealand in Denver.

The withdrawal of Man of Steel favourite Ben Barba with a knee problem may cause St Helens some concern.

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook:

“Ben Barba copped a knock on his knee but hopefully he’ll be OK.

“I’m really happy to win that game. We hung in there after giving Wakefield a lot of ball.

“We put ourselves under pressure with some uncharacteristic things. We dug really deep but to come back and win like that was fantastic.

“In the first half, we were in complete control and should have been even further in front. But full credit to Wakefield.

Wakefield coach Chris Chester:

“As the saying goes, ‘You never write off Saints’. You can’t switch off for one play against Saints. Once they get a roll on they are a hard team to stop.

“In some ways I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated. But on the flip side I’m proud of the team and the belief they showed against the best team in the competition.

“We had to change the way we played because you can’t get into a grind against Saints. It was fine margins.

“Our game management needed to be better when we got six points up. We came very close. And now we need more of the same next week.”

St Helens: Barba; Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Richardson; Douglas, Roby, Thompson, Peyroux, Taia, Wilkin.

Interchanges: Fages, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Knowles, Lees.

Wakefield: Hampshire, Caton-Brown, Tupou, Lyne, Johnstone, Miller, Finn, England, Randell, Fifita, Batchelor, Ashurst, Arona.

Interchanges:: Wood, Hirst, Pauli, Annakin.

Referee: James Child.

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BBC Sport – Rugby League

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