Lomax turns on the class as Saints make sure of third place

St Helens 31 Salford 6

Stobart Stadium

St Helens made sure of third place in the final Super League table – something that would be easier to get excited about at a club not used to finishing first or second.

Saints will now have an away play-off against Wigan or Warrington in two weeks' time, with a second chance should they lose.

Against a stubbornly determined, if technically uneven Salford, they took their time to find the sort of form that could make them a threat to the Big Two, although there were some unmistakable moments of class from their rapidly developing scrum-half Jonny Lomax.

It was, though, the couple of hundred City Reds' fans who had made the journey who had the first reason to celebrate. Some tricky business between Ray Cashmere and Daniel Holdsworth in the middle of the park created an overlap for Danny Williams to score his sixth try in three games since arriving from the Newcastle Falcons.

James Graham marked his last home Super League appearance before decamping to Australia by getting himself sent to the sin bin for dissent when denied what he thought was an equalising try.

Cashmere considerately evened up the numbers by going to the bin for one of a series of Salford high tackles and it was Saints who flourished at 12-a-side.

Holdsworth's dissent saw them marched upfield, with Sia Soliola going over from close range. A couple of minutes later, Leon Pryce made the in-roads that led to Tommy Makinson squeezing in at the corner and Jamie Foster completed a matching pair of conversions from each touchline to emphasise his quality as a kicker in his first full season.

Salford were still defending far better than on some occasions this season and it was by way of recognising that fact that Jonny Lomax chose to put over a drop goal in the final seconds of the first half.

Francis Meli opened the second half scoring, from Michael Shenton's cross-field kick, to make Saints' lead a comfortable one. A fine pass from the busy Lomax then put Matty Ashurst through a gap in a tiring thin Red line of defence.

Foster maintained his immaculate standard of place-kicking as Saints eased their way towards victory without ever truly cutting loose. Their substitute, Lee Gaskell, completed the try-scoring. They could create problems for better sides than Salford.

St Helens: Wellens; Makinson, Shenton, Meli, Foster; Pryce, Lomax; Graham, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Soliola, Dixon, Moore. Substitutes used Clough, Gaskell, Ashurst, Hale.

Salford: Patten; Broughton, Gibson, Gleeson, Williams; Ratchford, Holdsworth; Cashmere, Smith, Boyle, Henry, Anderson, Wild. Substitutes used Godwin, Jewitt, Adamson, Paleaaesina.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
peopleBroadcaster has a new role bringing 'the big stories that matter' to US
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
Moves to regulate e-cigarettes and similar products as medicines come amid increasing evidence of their effectiveness
healthHuge anti-smoking campaign kicks off on Wednesday
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Arts and Entertainment
Shia LaBeouf is one of Brad Pitt's favourite actors in the world ever, apparently
filmsAn 'eccentric' choice, certainly
Life and Style
An Internet security expert has warned that voice recognition technology needs to be more secure
techExperts warn hackers could control our homes or spend our money simply by speaking
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style