Super League: Hull FC 19-12 St Helens

Hull FC (12) 19

Tries: Horne, Lineham, Paea Goals: Westerman 3 Drop-goal: Westerman

St Helens (6) 12

Tries: Makinson, Wellens Goals: Percival 2

St Helens remain two points clear at the top of Super League despite slipping to defeat at Hull FC.

Tommy Makinson gave Saints an early lead but Hull hit back to lead 12-6 at the break through tries from Richard Horne and Tom Lineham.

Paul Wellens brought St Helens level only for Mickey Paea's try and a penalty and drop-goal from Joe Westerman to win it for the hosts.

But Saints retain top spot after third-placed Leeds lost at home to Bradford.

Hull's victory, their first in seven Super League games, lifted the Black and Whites up to 11th in the table and kept their slim play-off hopes alive as they cut the gap to eighth-placed Widnes to three points.

Saints unhappy in Hull

Nathan Brown's St Helens have not enjoyed their trips to East Yorkshire this season, having also been beaten on their visit to Hull KR last month.

Saints, missing injured scrum-half Luke Walsh and second-rower Jon Wilkin, went ahead in only the fourth minute, taking advantage of a third repeat set to pass the ball quickly out to the right for Makinson to cut inside some lacklustre tackling to score, Mark Percival adding the extras.

But they were otherwise unable to make their early dominance count as Hull drew level when half-back Horne, who has been told his playing contract will not be renewed next season, shimmied his way over and Westerman converted.

Post-match: Hull FC coach Radford

And it was the Black and Whites who went into half-time in front as Lineham dived over from dummy-half and Westerman again made no mistake with the boot.

Saints were level within eight minutes of the restart when former Hull forward Willie Manu drew in defenders before slipping a pass to Wellens, who scampered over to score his 1,000th point for the club and Percival converted.

After Westerman pulled a penalty chance wide, Hull regained the lead when Horne created the position for Paea to crash over from 10 metres out.

Westerman missed with the conversion attempt but landed a late penalty, awarded for a push on Dean Hadley, and a drop-goal to put the game beyond St Helens.

However, Saints did do enough to win the inaugural Steve Prescott Cup, set up in tribute to the late full-back who played for both clubs, after winning the two league meetings between the sides 46-41 on aggregate.

Hull FC coach Lee Radford:

"It's a long shot but there are four games left and we have to turn up like that every week.

"We took off where we left off from last week, with some fantastic contacts in there. We said after Cas if we play with that energy you get chances to beat most sides in the competition and we've done that tonight.

"That's two weeks on the bounce we've been really physical and played with good energy.

"It's round 23 and we've learned how to kill a game off, which is really pleasing for me as a coach looking forward. The difference to winning those types of games and losing them is huge."

St Helens coach Nathan Brown:

"I didn't think we were as good through the middle as we've been in the last five or six weeks.

"Hull have got some good forwards but I'd like to think we could have done better. I thought they rolled down the field very easily.

"We've got some things that we need to work on. We all know the people that have unfortunately fallen over in the past six weeks in key positions and the biggest thing for us to make it easier for the people who play in those positions now."

Friday's line-up

Hull: Shaul, Lineham, Whiting, Yeaman, Talanoa, Abdull, Horne, Paea, Houghton, Watts, Ellis, Hadley, Westerman.

Replacements: Green, Paleaaesina, Heremaia, Sa.

St Helens: Wellens, Makinson, Jones, Percival, Dawson, Wheeler, Turner, Amor, Roby, Walmsley, Flanagan, Manu, Soliola.

Replacements: Masoe, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Laffranchi, Thompson.

Attendance: 10,214

Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL)