St Helens 26 Hull 27: Cooke finds perfect recipe to upset St Helens

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The Independent Online

Paul Cooke's drop goal five minutes from time brought Hull their first win at Knowsley Road for 18 years as their golden run under their new coach, Peter Sharp, continued last night.

Saints had fought their way back to level terms and looked set to avoid a second defeat of the season, but Hull kept cool and Cooke, their match-winner in the Cup final last year, did the trick again with a kick that bounced in off the upright.

Hull's defence was tested early but they went to the other end of the field with Richard Horne's interception from Sean Long. Saints kept them out but Hull kept the pressure on and took the lead when Richard Swain made the telling run and Kirk Yeaman celebrated his 21st birthday with his 21st try of the season.

The lead did not last long with Paul Wellens twisting over for Saints.

Nick Fozzard was another with something to celebrate - he signed a new two-year contract yesterday - and went storming through to put Saints ahead. A remarkable try put the league leaders further in front, Jon Wilkin getting the ball out of the tackle as he fell and Wellens juggling but getting it to Long to finish the job.

Hull were brought back into it by a moment of vintage Cooke, the stand-off missing out three men with a massive pass to Gareth Raynor unmarked on the left wing. Cooke emphasised his value with a second successful conversion from the touch line.

The penalty count and the weight of possession had been heavily against Hull, but they took the lead before half-time when Horne took Richard Swain's pass and darted through. There was even a two-point bonus as Saints conceded two penalties at the end of the half and Cooke slotted over the second of them.

It was Cooke again who was the quickest to react 10 minutes into the second half when his kick was blocked, picking up the pieces and going through to put Hull 10 points ahead.

Jamie Lyon had been uncharacteristically quiet, but after 62 minutes he got away from his markers to score and cut that lead, which Gardner added to five minutes later. Lyon added the equalising goal.

Few at that point would have bet against Saints but it was Hull and the talismanic Cooke in particular who had the final word.

St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Meli, Pryce, Long, Fozzard, Cunningham, Cayless, Gilmour, Wilkin, Sculthorpe. Substitutes used: Roby, V Anderson, Graham, Fa'asavalu.

Hull: Tony, Blacklock, Domic, Yeman, Raynor, Cooke, R Horne, Dowes, Swain, Carvell, Radford, McMenemy, Washbrook. Substitutes used: Lee, Wheeldon, King, G Horne.

Referee: A Kline, Keighley