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Match Report: St Helens 19 Wigan 12
Posted by Bilko on July 21 2007 - 07:45

Click: Last Derby - Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match - Click: Next Derby

St Helens v Wigan Warriors. Engage Super League XII Rd 21
Friday 20th July. Kick Off 8:00pm at Knowsley Road.

Thoughts on the Match

Well Saints were definitely there for the taking and that defeat is more annoying than a certain scoreline a couple of summers a go.

But luck deserted us. We lost two props during the game, our goal kicker in a vicious high tackle and we also gifted them the winning try. In fact we played 63 minutes with 15 men!

Had Stuart Fielden stayed on, I've no doubts we would have won that. We looked the side with more energy whilst Saints at the moment look tired and desperate. They proved this by playing a clearly unfit Sean Long. He might have hit the winning drop goal but my Gran could have kicked that. I suppose though Saints showed with that grind out win why they hold the silverware at the moment.

With the injuries against us you have to say that 19-12 against Saints in there back yard is a tremendous effort!

Ashley Klein should be dropped by the way. Simply rubbish refereeing yet again - for both sides!

Story of the Match from Sportinglife.com

Champions St Helens held off a brave effort by their arch rivals to extend their winning run in derby matches to eight games and open up a two-point lead in the engage Super League.

The Warriors were dealt a devastating blow with the early loss of Great Britain prop Stuart Fielden with concussion but they rallied to run the leaders close in a tense, hard-fought clash at Knowsley Road.

Fielden could be doubtful for next week's Challenge Cup semi-final against Catalans Dragons while Saints were handed a potential disciplinary headache when hooker Keiron Cunningham was put on report for an alleged swinging arm on Wigan full-back Pat Richards.

Saints looked set to continue their derby domination after tries from Jason Cayless and Francis Meli gave them a 10-0 lead after 12 minutes but Wigan gradually clawed their way back into contention.

Full-back Pat Richards struck in the last play of the first half to keep the match in the balance and the champions were forced to defend for long periods before securing a precious victory courtesy of a late drop goal from comeback hero Sean Long.

Saints coach Daniel Anderson, who has yet to experience defeat in a derby, had cheekily suggested Wigan were the pre-match favourites after beating Leeds and Bradford in their two previous matches but it looked like mind games after his side made an impressive start.

The game was held up for four-and-a-half minutes while Fielden received treatment on the field after knocking himself out trying to stop a typical strong run from St Helens front rower Nick Fozzard.

Fielden's replacement Paul Prescott then hobbled off after 17 minutes, by which time Wigan were trailing 10-0 and looking in some disarray.

Saints opened the scoring after seven minutes with a rare try from prop Cayless, who took a pass from Cunningham to plunge over the line after Leon Pryce had scooped up a loose ball on the Wigan 20-metre line.

Makeshift marksman Paul Wellens added the easy conversion and the champions stretched their lead five minutes later when Cunningham supported James Roby's clean break and sent winger Meli over for a try to celebrate his new three-year contract.

Long, who started the match on the bench, went on after 24 minutes for only his second appearance in 10 weeks and eight minutes later Australian loose forward Chris Flannery, who was making a comeback from a broken leg, went on for his debut.

Wigan's only serious threat came from the boot of stand-off Trent Barrett and neither Saints winger looked comfortable under the high ball.

The home defence lived dangerously until the last minute of the half when Richards read Barrett's kick to perfection to touch down under the crossbar, despite a suspicion of a knock-on.

Richards added the goal to cut the deficit to just four points and he almost scored again in the opening moments but video referee Ian Smith this time ruled he failed to ground the ball.

Long was wide with an ambitious 45-metre penalty kick at goal but then succeeded with a 40-20 punt that set up the position for St Helens' third try.

Pryce was quick to seize on possession when Wigan captain Sean O'Loughlin lost the ball in Flannery's crunching tackle 20 metres from his own line and the stand-off jinked his way unopposed to the line.

Long kicked the conversion and added a penalty on the hour to make it 18-6 after Wigan's former Saints hooker Micky Higham was pulled up for a high tackle on James Graham.

Richards added to Wigan's injury woes when he was involved in a clash with Keiron Cunningham and had to be helped from the field, although he managed to return for the last 12 minutes.

Wigan battled to the end and centre Darrell Goulding ensured a tense finish when he grabbed a 66th-minute try courtesy of another Barrett 'bomb' and O'Loughlin landed the difficult conversion.

Long was twice off target with drop-goal attempts before eventually finding the mark to seal victory.

Game Breaking Moment

The knock on by Sean O'Loughlin which led to Leon Pryce's try. That lost it.

Top Player

A great team effort from both sides.

Reaction to the Action

Brian Noble: "We made it a derby, which is what we wanted to do. The other two maybe weren't quite there but this is as intense as it can get. I thought we were good in relation to where we've been against this team. We've progressively got better as the season has gone on. Paul Prescott is probably the more serious of the two injuries. We're going to send him for X-rays on a possible fracture. Stuart (Fielden) walked off the field which is pleasing. He will have a head test later in the week."

Saints coach Daniel Anderson: "If there was one poor part to our game it was our back three's last-tackle defusing of that play. Both wingers were guilty and I can't remember the last time 'Wello' (Paul Wellens) dropped the ball. They threaded the needle in our defence with those kicks and chased well."

Team Sheets

- St Helens Position Wigan -
1 Paul Wellens Full Back Pat Richards 5
2 Ade Gardner Winger Mark Calderwood 2
3 Matt Gidley Centre Phil Bailey 3
4 Willie Talau Centre David Vaealiki 14
5 Francis Meli Winger Liam Colbon 23
6 Leon Pryce Stand Off Trent Barrett 6
14 James Roby Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
8 Nick Fozzard Prop Stuart Fielden 8
9 Keiron Cunningham Hooker Mick Higham 9
10 Jason Cayless Prop Iafeta Paleaaesina 10
15 Mike Bennett 2nd Row Gareth Hock 11
22 Paul Clough 2nd Row Bryan Fletcher 12
18 Bryn Hargreaves L.Forward Sean O'Loughlin 13
- - - - -
7 Sean Long Substitute Paul Prescott 18
17 James Graham Substitute Harrison Hansen 19
23 Maurie Fa'asavalu Substitute Darrell Goulding 20
30 Chris Flannery Substitute Mike McIllorum 25

Score Sheet

St Helens 19 - Wigan Warriors 12
Tries (3):
Jason Cayless
Francis Meli
Leon Pryce
- Tries (2):
Pat Richards
Darrell Goulding
Paul Wellens 0/2
Sean Long 2/3
- Goals:
Pat Richards 1/1
Sean O'Loughlin 1/1
Sean Long 1
- -

Scoring and Incident Pattern

7th Minute St Helens 04 Wigan 00 Try: Jason Cayless
- St Helens 06 Wigan 00 Conversion: Paul Wellens (1/1)
12th Minute St Helens 10 Wigan 00 Try: Francis Meli
- St Helens 10 Wigan 00 P.Wellens Missed Conversion (1/2)
40th Minute St Helens 10 Wigan 04 Try: Pat Richards
- St Helens 10 Wigan 06 Conversion: Pat Richards (1/1)
Half Time St Helens 10 Wigan Warriors 06
47th Minute St Helens 10 Wigan 06 S.Long Missed Penalty Goal (0/1)
51st Minute St Helens 14 Wigan 06 Try: Leon Pryce
- St Helens 16 Wigan 06 Conversion: Sean Long (1/2)
59th Minute St Helens 18 Wigan 06 Penalty Goal: Sean Long (2/3)
65th Minute St Helens 18 Wigan 10 Try: Darrell Goulding
- St Helens 18 Wigan 12 Conversion: Sean O'Loughlin (1/1)
77th Minute St Helens 19 Wigan 12 Drop Goal: Sean Long
Full Time St Helens 19 Wigan Warriors 12


Ashley Klein

Match Attendance

14,293 - Embarrassing for the Saints!


Match Weather


League Table at Conclusion of Super League 12 Round 21

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 St Helens 21 15 0 6 640 315 +325 30
2 Leeds Rhinos 21 14 0 7 539 398 +141 28
3 Bradford Bulls* 21 14 0 7 624 456 +168 26
4 Wigan Warriors 21 11 0 10 461 406 +55 22
5 Wakefield Wildcats 21 10 1 10 474 512 -38 21
6 Warrington Wolves 21 10 0 11 542 552 -10 20
7 Hull FC 20 9 2 9 374 400 -26 20
8 Harlequins 21 9 2 10 399 460 -61 20
9 Huddersfield Giants 21 9 1 11 476 410 +66 19
10 Catalans Dragons 21 7 1 13 433 547 -114 15
11 Hull Kingston Rovers 21 7 0 14 342 567 -225 14
12 Salford City Reds 20 6 1 13 333 616 -283 13

*Bradford Bulls Deducted 2 points for 2006 Salary Cap Breach.

Round 21 Results
Fri 20 July Leeds Rhinos 16 Wakefield Wildcats 23 16,654
Fri 20 July St Helens 19 Wigan Warriors 12 14,293
Sat 21 July Harlequins 10 Huddersfield Giants 22 2,478
Sat 21 July Salford City Reds 14 Bradford Bulls 10 3,438
Sat 21 July Catalan Dragons 18 Hull FC 34 7,560
Sun 22 July Hull Kingston Rovers 20 Warrington Wolves 60 6,640

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