St Helens 12-22 Warrington
ST HELENS (6) 12
- Shenton, Wellens
- Makinson 2
WARRINGTON (10) 22
- Hodgson, Hill, Waterhouse, Riley
- Hodgson 3
Warrington dominated St Helens to move within three points of Super League leaders Wigan with a 22-12 win.
Brett Hodgson and Chris Hill's scores helped Wolves race to an early 10-point lead before Michael Shenton's converted try put Saints in the reckoning.
Trent Waterhouse raced over as Warrington started the second half as convincingly as they had in the first.
Chris Riley's superb pick-up from Ryan Atkins produced the vital score before Paul Wellens grabbed a consolation.
The result not only consolidates Wolves' second place in the Super League standings but hands them revenge for their 28-16 defeat at home to Saints back in March.
It was also only their fourth win over their local rivals in 42 Super League meetings.
They took the game to Saints from the off when half-backs Richie Myler and Lee Briers worked the ball wide for Hodgson's early try.
With less than two minutes gone the Wolves full-back was brought down yards short, but a video review deemed momentum had carried him over the line.
The Australian could not make it the perfect start from the tee as his goal attempt rebounded off the upright.
Soon after Briers' pinpoint chip rebounded off Francis Meli's shoulder, under pressure from Ben Westwood, and fell to Hill who stormed over from five yards out and Hodgson duly converted to make it 10-0 with 10 minutes gone.
Joel Monaghan thought Briers had orchestrated a try for him five minutes later with a kick to the corner, but the Aussie was judged to have lost control of the ball in goal.
The hosts scored next after they had shifted their point of attack with devastating speed before Shenton span out of two tackles to go over.
Makinson converted and, after Wolves conceded a series of penalties, the hosts were firmly back in the game at 10-6 down.
Both sides felt hard done by referee Richard Silverwood as first Jonny Lomax and then Hodgson were called back for dubious forward pass calls when they were clear.
James Roby threw a unsympathetic pass to James McCarthy-Scarsbrook as he charged in under the posts to score and the ball was knocked on in the final chance of the first half.
The Wolves came out firing after the interval and, after a high tackle by Jon Wilkin, Waterhouse flew through the gap created by Hodgson's short pass.
Hodgson converted and within minutes Chris Riley went in in the corner, although the replay showed his trailing foot was just in touch.
Riley was then denied again minutes later with the tryline beckoning as Ryan Atkins' pass was forward.
But Atkins did provide the telling pass to his winger, although Riley need to scoop it up while going at full tilt, to make it - along with Hodgson's conversion - 22-6.
Warrington looked to be cruising to a convincing win before Saints passed an inside ball to Wellens who came back on the angle to score under the posts.
Makinson's goal made it 22-12 with four minutes to play and despite trying everything it was too late for Saints to fightback.
Warrington's win sets up a mouth-watering clash with leaders Wigan on Saturday that sees the top two go face to face at the Halliwell Jones.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
St Helens caretaker coach Mike Rush:
"I thought our effort was good. I couldn't fault the boys defensively. They really dug in in that first half when we had no possession.
"In the second half we were disappointing. We came up with errors and gave penalties away on tackle four. We can't keep giving penalties away against good teams on play four because you will get punished.
"They played the field position better and, when they got got ball sets they looked threatening, whereas when we got good ball sets we tended to lack composure."
Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith:
"I thought Lee Briers controlled the game brilliantly, particularly in the second half.
"He was very, very good. His kicking game was exceptional. He just picked out the right sort of kick at the right time.
"Brett Hodgson was very good at the back, he was terrific, and got the man of the match but I thought Benny Westwood was unbelievable.
"I had to take him off, I was getting tired of watching him, he was doing so much."
St Helens: Wellens, Makinson, Shenton, J Jones, Meli, Hohaia, Lomax, Perry, Roby, Laffranchi, Puletua, Flannery, Wilkin, Flanagan.
Replacements: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Clough, Flanagan, Dixon.
Warrington: Hodgson, Riley, Ratchford, Atkins, J Monaghan, Briers, Myler, Morley, Higham, Hill, Waterhouse, Westwood, McCarthy.
Replacements: Wood, M Monaghan, Cooper, Grix.
Ref: Richard Silverwood (Great Britain).