St Helens 17 Warrington 16: Long shot keeps Wolves from Saints door

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The Independent Online

A try from Lee Gilmour four minutes from time and a last-ditch Sean Long drop goal denied Warrington a first win at St Helens for almost 15 years.

The longest wait in Super League appeared to be over as the Wolves stood on the brink of their first victory at Knowsley Road since the winter season of 1993-94 and their first over Saints anywhere since 2005. But then Gilmour, tackled around his legs just short of the line, managed to twist and wrestle his way over and Long kicked an easy equalising conversion.

After Warrington's Lee Briers had missed a drop-goal attempt, it was almost predictable that Long would succeed with his and that was what he did with seconds remaining on the clock.

Saints' coach Daniel Anderson admitted that the Super League leaders were fortunate to take their winning run this season to a record 18 games. "I thought we might salvage a point, but I didn't think we'd win it," he said. "It probably would have been fair for us to have got a point each, but big players come up with big plays. Sean Long had what he called a very loose game, but he still got the vital point."

Warrington's James Lowes, tasting defeat for only the second time in nine games since taking over as coach, said: "I thought we worked hard enough to get something out of the game, but both sides were fantastic in the conditions."

Kieron Cunningham scored St Helens' first try, burrowing his way over after six minutes on his 300th Super League appearance, and Matt Gidley supplied the final pass for Ade Gardner eight minutes later.

Warrington hit back on their first real attack. Michael Monaghan's pass and Matt King's strength got them over the line, and Chris Hicks's goal made for a four-point gap which hardly told the story of the half.

Four minutes before the break, Warrington drew level with a try of quite extraordinary skill. After a good period of pressure, Briers threw a long pass to the right and Hicks's fingertip flick allowed Chris Riley to pick the ball off his bootlaces and squeeze in at the corner.

Leon Pryce almost made Warrington pay with a kick and chase the length of the saturated pitch, but still the deadlock remained and the teams stayed level until the 61st minute, when Martin Gleeson's break was carried on by Simon Grix and Riley positioned himself to take the inside pass and complete a 70-metre move for a memorable try.

Both sides had their chances after that, but as so often in the past it was Saints who kept their nerve.

St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Gidley, Flannery, Meli; Pryce, Long; Cayless, Cunningham, Graham, Gilmour, Wilkin, Roby. Substitutes used: Fozzard, Hargreaves, Clough, Eastmond.

Warrington: Hicks; Riley, Martin Gleeson, King, Penny; Briers, Monaghan; Morley, Clarke, Rauhihi, Mitchell, Westwood, Grix. Substitutes used: Parker, Bracek, Cooper, Blythe.

Referee: R Silverwood (Muirfield).

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