Super League: Warrington Wolves 10-21 St Helens - Leaders fight back to claim victory
|Betfred Super League|
|Warrington (4) 10|
|Tries: Mamo Goals: Patton 3|
|St Helens (0) 21|
|Tries: Percival, Thompson, Walmsley Goals: Coote 4 Drop-goal: Coote|
Leaders St Helens came from behind to beat closest rivals Warrington in an intense game to go eight points clear at the top of Super League.
Dec Patton's three penalties gave Warrington a 6-0 lead midway through the second half.
Mark Percival levelled for Saints before Luke Thompson capitalised on a Jake Mamo error to put them in front.
Mamo atoned by scoring from the restart following Lachlan Coote's drop-goal but Alex Walmsley settled it for Saints.
There was little sign of the late drama that was to ultimately decide this game after a cagey but compelling first hour.
Warrington, who left former England rugby union centre Luther Burrell out of their matchday 17 after naming him in their squad, had started the game at a blistering pace.
But there was a significant early delay as St Helens hooker Aaron Smith left the field on a stretcher wearing a neck brace and was taken to hospital as a precaution after receiving lengthy treatment when he was hurt trying to tackle Sitaleki Akauola.
Once play got back under way Wolves continued to dominate but it was Saints who went closest to scoring a try.
Regan Grace had an effort ruled out for a foot in touch before a diving finish in the corner, while Matty Lees was adjudged to have knocked on before going over.
However, it was Warrington who led 4-0 at the break through two Patton penalties and he extended their advantage with a third early in the second half.
The game then swung back towards St Helens when Warrington's Jack Hughes was sent to the sin-bin following an over-zealous shoulder charge on Tommy Makinson and Saints made use of their one-man advantage to level.
Jonny Lomax's break created the opening and, following a quick play-the-ball, Percival collected a suspiciously forward-looking Theo Fages pass to go over in the corner.
Saints then took the lead when Mamo fumbled Lomax's high kick and Thompson gathered to score, before Lachlan Coote's drop-goal seemed to put the visitors out of sight.
From a short restart Mamo collected the loose ball to scamper in to give Warrington hope.
But, after Patton missed the conversion, Walmsley burrowed over from close range and Coote's penalty on the final hooter confirmed victory.
'The toughest game I've been involved in' - post-match reaction
Warrington coach Steve Price: "It was a tough game, it was one v two and I thought it was a quality game of football.
"We had to be at our best to beat them and just came up short in a couple of areas.
"But I'm super proud of the boys, it was a big effort and in big games you get limited opportunities, and when you do get that chance you have to grab it and we didn't get those little moments.
"Overall I'm pleased where we are at, they are a quality football team and the scoreline didn't really reflect the game.
"It was one of those games where it was a matter of inches but there's a lot of positives to take."
St Helens coach Justin Holbrook: "It was as good as it can get for me. It was the toughest game I've been involved in that's for sure.
"Warrington didn't give an inch and I was extremely proud of my side to do the same.
"You are never going to get many opportunities in those kind of games and I'm extremely proud to finish the game like we did.
"We were hanging in there for a fair bit of the game and we kept hanging in with blokes playing more minutes than they normally do so it's a huge win for us."
Warrington: Mamo, Lineham, Goodwin, King, Charnley, Austin, Patton, Hill, D. Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Akauola.
Interchanges: J. Clark, Tasi, Philbin, Davis.
Sin Bin: Hughes (54).
St Helens: Coote, Makinson, Naiqama, Percival, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Thompson, Smith, Walmsley, Peyroux, Knowles, McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
Interchanges: Paulo, Amor, Lees, Bentley.
Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL).