|3rd Mar 2006|| Super League||AWAY ||13024 ||(HT:12:0)|
|MATCH NOTES : Temperatures dropped to -6 dgrees Celsius during the match! |
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 26. - ** non-playing sub|
MATCH REPORT : Saints made it four wins from four with another solid performance built on strong defence as they continued their impressive start to the season.
Saints had demonstrated last week in their 13-4 win over Leeds Rhinos that they had the ability to grind out a result in difficult conditions, and it was a groove they settled into straightaway at the snow-sprinkled Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Both teams adopted a compact gameplan to suit the conditions, in what was always likely to be a low-scoring encounter. However with just 28 points conceded in the opening three games – compared with Warrington’s 68 – Saints were always likely to have the upper hand in a game dominated by defences.
The other factor that needs to be present in tight games is the presence of a gamebreaker, and in Jamie Lyon they have one of the very best.
It was his perfect judgement of Sean Long’s high kick and quick pass that created the first try of the game for Keiron Cunningham.
It was an unflamboyant match built around a ‘five drives and a kick’ philosophy, and both defences ensured that the action was kept away from the danger zones.
On the half-hour Warrington were hit as scrum-half Chris Bridge went off with a suspected broken arm. It got worse almost immediately when Francis Meli launched an attack from near his own line, beating Briers and Grose before releasing Willie Talau to race over from sixty metres.
It could, perhaps should, have got even worse when Paul Anderson had a try harshly disallowed for a forward pass from Sean Long.
10-0 adrift, Warrington were still in touch but needed a strong start to the second half to prevent the game slipping away.
This they did when Briers’ crossfield kick was claimed by Henry Fa’afili to touch down in the right corner.
Warrington were trying to establish a platform from which they could overcome their eight-point deficit, but their task was made more difficult when Gardner scored his third try in four games. It was just reward for his persistence after earning a repeat set for his team after chasing his own grubber to force a drop-out. Saints, and Cunningham in particular, brought the ball back towards the Warrington line with purpose, then Saints shifted the ball quickly to the right for Saints’ third try.
Hopes of a comfortable final quarter for the visitors were dashed when Jason Hooper was sin-binned for a late tackle on kicker Briers. Immediately Warrington capitalised as Mike Wainwright crossed to make it 16-10.
The home fans in the capacity 13,024 crowd made plenty of noise hoping to see Warrington’s second win in twenty-five Super League matches against their near-neighbours, but it was Saints who came closest to scoring when Leon Pryce just failed to ground the ball under pressure from two defenders.
With two minutes remaining Saints sealed victory when Lyon slotted over a penalty from twenty metres, to maintain the only 100% record in Super League XI.
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