Saints leave Wigan without a prayer

<preform>ST HELENS 75 </br> WIGAN&#009;0</preform>
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The Independent Online

It can surely get no worse than this for the side that once dominated the British game. Beaten by a record 70 points at Leeds last week, they suffered an even more humiliating defeat at the home of their historic rivals, crashing out of the Powergen Cup in the process.

It can surely get no worse than this for the side that once dominated the British game. Beaten by a record 70 points at Leeds last week, they suffered an even more humiliating defeat at the home of their historic rivals, crashing out of the Powergen Cup in the process.

For their coach, Ian Millward, it was a miserable return to the club who sacked him a few weeks ago, as he watched the team he assembled dismantle the lacklustre side he has inherited.

"I wouldn't want it to get much worse than this,'' said Millward. "Long-term, I still think the garden will be rosy, but we have to do something in the short term.''

Millward said he had a warm welcome back to the ground where he achieved so much in his six season in charge. "Everyone was too nice to me,'' he said. "They lured me into the web and delivered a present to me."

Saints, even without Sean Long and later Jason Hooper, were in that inspired mood they captured so often under his coaching, but Millward's new side contributed heavily to their shocking downfall.

From the start they provided Saints with a generous supply of possession from mistakes and penalties. Danny Sculthorpe's foul on Vinnie Anderson was a case in point and Saints duly scored their first try when Lee Gilmour ran on to Kieron Cunningham's pass.

Anderson intercepted Terry Newton's pass for the second, before Nick Fozzard's surge started an attack which ended with him driving over.

Hooper took Cunningham's pass for the fourth try and Paul Sculthorpe's long pass put Willie Talau in for the next. A flowing move involving Sculthorpe, Gilmour and Anderson ended with Paul Wellens going over and Sculthorpe added a satirical drop goal to his eventual total of nine place kicks for a 35-0 half-time lead.

The opening minutes of the second half were Wigan's best with Brett Dallas coming closest to a try - they have now played 161 minutes without one - only to be denied by the video referee.

Saints exploded into destructive life again with a hat-trick in 14 minutes from their substitute prop, Mark Edmondson, interspersed with a try from the outstanding Fozzard and Jamie Lyon's intercept from Dennis Moran.

After that, the only question was whether Saints would press on and make Leeds' record one of the shortest-lived in the book.

Ade Gardner's dribble down the touchline and James Graham's last-minute plunge over the line provided the answer, with Lyon kicking two goals.

"I was still nervous before the game," said Saints' coach, Daniel Anderson.

"But I know I've got a wonderful squad. Time was, not so long ago, when Millward was able to say that.''

St Helens: Wellens; Albert, Lyon, Talau, Gardner; Hooper, Wilkin; Fozzard, Cunningham, P Anderson, Gilmour, V Anderson, P Sculthorpe. Substitutes used: Roby, Edmondson, Bennett, Graham.

Wigan: Gleeson; Dallas, Aspinwall, Wild, Carney; Brown, Moran; Seuseu, Newton, D Sculthorpe, Allen, Tickle, Beswick. Substitutes used: Hansen, Godwin, Guisset, Hargreaves.

Referee: A Klein (London).

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