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).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before