Super League: Castleford Tigers 25-24 St Helens
|First Utility Super League|
|Castleford (10) 25|
|Tries: Carney, Solomona, Webster, Cook Goals: Gale 4 Drop goal: Roberts|
|St Helens (18) 24|
|Tries: Walsh, Walmsley, Greenwood, McDonnell Goals: Percival 4|
Ben Roberts scored a dramatic last-minute drop goal as Castleford beat St Helens to go fourth in Super League.
After Justin Carney put the hosts ahead, Luke Walsh and Alex Walmsley hit back for St Helens in quick succession.
Denny Solomona's 90-metre try closed the gap, but Joe Greenwood nipped in as the leaders led 18-10 at half-time.
Shannon McDonnell looked to have won it for Saints after Jake Webster and Matt Cook briefly put Cas ahead, before Luke Gale's penalty and Roberts' drop goal.
The one-point success was Castleford's first victory over St Helens in seven years.
On a night when two players from each side scored on their comebacks from lengthy injuries, St Helens missed the chance to stretch their lead to three points at the top.
Carney, on his return from a dislocated elbow, powered through for his 10th try of the season as he finished off a well-worked move from right to left, although Gale missed the extras.
But St Helens hit back with another returnee on target. Walsh judged a Travis Burns grubber kick perfectly to pounce on his comeback after ankle surgery and Mark Percival's successful conversion gave the visitors a two-point lead.
Percival was accurate again seven minutes later after Walmsley's neat side-step saw him go under the posts.
Solomona's eighth try in four matches lit up The Jungle as Saints fumbled on the tryline and he ran 90 metres, neatly sidestepping the last man, before Gale added the extras.
But Greenwood, back for his first game since Good Friday when he broke his leg, nipped in to increase the visitors' lead and Percival ensured the advantage was eight points at the break.
Castleford roared back with two unanswered tries after half-time to take a four-point lead.
Roberts' diagonal grubber kick was met by a diving Webster, before Cook became the fourth man to score on a return to action when he pounced first to a loose ball and sneaked over, with Gale converting both.
But St Helens went ahead again when Percival converted after McDonnell sped in under the posts, a try which was deliberated over by the video referee for offside.
The game was held up for almost 10 minutes for St Helens' Adam Swift to receive attention after taking a bad knock to the head, before Percival was sin-binned for a professional foul.
Gale, on his 200th career appearance, successfully landed a 40-metre penalty to dramatically level the scores but also missed a drop-goal attempt to win it moments later - and Walsh missed an attempt at the other end.
The dramatic finale continued as St Helens then knocked-on with a drop-goal attempt being set up and Cas took full advantage, with Roberts keeping calm in front of the posts to secure his side a fourth successive win.
Castleford coach Daryl Powell:
"It was an incredible finish. Obviously we're pleased to be on the right end of that.
"For us, belief is just growing all the time. You've got to be so pleased for the boys and the way they're going about their business at the moment.
"We've got some confidence about us and we're pragmatic at the right times as well. We've got a good balance at the moment.
"We're hanging in battles and finding a way to win. We're delighted with the way we're going."
St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham:
"The game probably went away from us when we pulled a shirt on before we took the field. We did our best to lose that game from minute one.
"It's hard to be critical because they've been phenomenal over the last few weeks, but you've got to be good every week in this competition.
"In the second half Castleford decided to have a bit more want and a bit more vigour about them.
"I think mentally the boys came with a soft attitude. Cas are a very good side, a top four side for a reason."
Castleford: Roberts, Solomona, Webster, Shenton, Carney, Gale, Finn, Lynch, S. Moore, Millington, O. Holmes, McMeeken, Massey.
Replacements: Milner, Cook, Moors, Bailey.
St Helens: McDonnell, Dawson, Percival, Turner, Swift, Burns, Walsh, Amor, Roby, Walmsley, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Wilkin, Jones.
Replacements: Masoe, Richards, Flanagan, Greenwood.
Referee: Richard Silverwood (RFL).