Saints 22 Wigan 16

St Helens v Wigan Warriors: Dom Crosby drives forward
St Helens v Wigan Warriors: Dom Crosby drives forward

JOE Greenwood struck the killer blow three minutes from time to bring the curtain down on an epic derby encounter and Wigan’s stay at the top of Super League.

The sides were balanced at 16-all when Tommy Makinson returned a kick from 80 yards and fed Greenwood the ball to score with teenage Wigan fullback Ryan Hampshire on his back to send Langtree Park into raptures.

Hampshire enjoyed a solid display at the back with a performance which deserved a win, which was decorated with strong running and fearless tackling throughout.

On 10 minutes Saints were awarded a scrum from which Francis Meli caught Gelling out of position and fed Adam Swift a simple ball for him to race over unopposed.

And the home side were quickly further in front when six minutes later Jonny Lomax waltzed around Darrell Goulding before gifting Swift a neat pass for his second.

But the Warriors began to ignite the contest with 15 minutes to play to half-time.

Hampshire - easily Wigan’s most enthusiastic player of the night - dabbed a low kick over the Saints line and didn’t stop as McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Puletua blocked the way, with the latter being judged to have obstructed the 18-year-old.

The resulting penalty produced Wigan’s first try of the night with Pat Richards reaching over to finish a basic passing move.

With the clock running down for the break, Wigan were awarded one more throw of the dice to haul themselves back into the game with a penalty when Stuart Howarth went high on the persistent Hampshire.

Attacking from 15 yards out, ex-Saint Matty Smith launched a high kick which Swift failed to diffuse, leaving Charnley to pounce for Wigan’s second score which was given by video ref Ian Smith once he had checked for the knock-on.

Hampshire was the instigator for the first try of the second half when the fullback hurtled down the wing with Charnley supporting well enough to receive a cute flick pass and race in towards to posts - Richards’ first conversion of the night giving Wigan a two-point lead.

Scott Taylor then landed himself in hot water as he floored Gareth O’Brien late and high, being put on report in the process.

Tommy Makinson duly accepted the invitation to level the scores with a penalty goal.

On the hour and from 40-yards out with defenders bearing down on him, Richards launched a monster drop goal attempt which found the mark.

But further twists in the tale awaited as Wigan’s indiscipline was to prove their undoing.

Gil Dudson conceded two kickable penalties in the space of two minutes, both missed by Tommy Makinson before a third penalty 12 minutes from time was landed by Jordan Turner.

Smith landed a second Wigan drop-goal to once again tie the scores before Makinson combined with Greenwood to inflict the nasty sting.

St Helens:

Tries: Swift 2, Greenwood

Goals: Howarth 2 Makinson pen, Turner + 1 pen


Tries: Charnley 2, Richards

Goals: Richards, Richards DG, Smith DG

St Helens:

Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Jordan Turner, Francis Meli, Adam Swift, Jon Wilkin, Gareth O’Brien, Tony Puletua, Stuart Howarth, Anthony Laffranchi, Willie Manu, Josh Jones, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook

Subs: Paul Wellens, Paul Clough, Joe Greenwood, Alex Walmsley

Wigan Warriors:

Ryan Hampshire, Josh Charnley, Darrell Goulding, Anthony Gelling, Pat Richards, Blake Green, Matty Smith, Lee Mossop, Michael McIlorum, Gil Dudson, Chris Tuson, Liam Farrell, Greg Burke

Subs: Ben Flower, Scott Taylor, Logan Tomkins, Dom Crosby

Star man: Ryan Hampshire

Referee: James Child

Video Referee: Ian Smith

Half-time: 12-8

Attendance 14,203