|8th Jun 2006|| Super League||HOME||9907||HT:0-0|
|MATCH NOTES : Saints first home defeat of 2006! Saints first home defeat to Hull in 18 years znd only their sixth home defeat to Hull in the previous 60 years.|
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 25. - ** non-playing sub|
MATCH REPORT : Hull showed why they are serious contenders for the Grand Final with a sterling victory at Knowsley Road, as they showcased their strength in defence and their potency in attack.
Saints may consider themselves unlucky, having outscored their opponents five tries to four, although they will rue their failure to turn pressure into points at crucial stages in the game.
The Humberside club have had to wait since 1988 to win at St Helens, but they fully deserved their 27-26 victory, achieved without their devastating strike centre Kirk Yeaman who limped off after 24 minutes with ankle ligament damage.
He had already notched up his 21st try of the season to give the visitors an early lead. Saints, though, responded almost immediately with three tries in ten minutes. Paul Wellens got the scoring underway for the Saints following Jason Cayless’s offload. Prop forward Nick Fozzard then scored arguably the best try of his Saints career to celebrate his new two-year deal.
By this stage Saints were running hot, and they scored a fantastic try from 60 metres that involved Keiron Cunningham, Jon Wilkin, Wellens and Sean Long, with the irrepressible scrum-half having just enough pace to beat Gareth Raynor to the tryline.
As Yeaman limped off with his team losing 16-6, the momentum was firmly with the home side, but they could not capitalise further and when Raynor got on the outside of Ade Gardner the gap was reduced to just four points.
Both teams had their chances to wrest control of the match, with Blacklock being stopped by the magnificent Wellens, and Fa’asavalu was kept out by a three-man tackle on the line.
However when Saints lost the ball 30 metres from their own tryline, Hull, in the shape of Richard Horne, were clinical enough to punish the mistake.
After a bizarre passage of play in which two penalties were awarded after the forty minutes were up, Paul Cooke maintained his perfect record with the boot and slotted over a vital two points.
Hull’s stand-off then added another six points with a try, created by a fortuitous ricochet from his own grubber kick, and the ensuing conversion.
It ended a spell of twenty unanswered points that put Hull into a commanding position.
Saints, though, were unbeaten in ten home matches, and responded with two tries in five minutes just after the hour. Jamie Lyon touched down, and then supplied the final pass for Gardner to finish well in the right corner. The Australian centre could only convert the second attempt, to leave the scores tied at 26-all.
Up stepped man-of-the-match Cooke with a 40 metre drop goal that went over off the post, with Saints unable to muster field position in the remaining five minutes to reply. Hull’s victory puts them level with Leeds in second place – for twenty four hours at least – six points behind Saints, who still sit on top of the engage Super League XI table.
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