St Helens 34 Wakefield 12: Lyon leaves the Wildcats battling to save their skins

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The Independent Online

St Helens ensured they will go into the Super League play-offs this month in pole position, adding the League Leaders' Shield to the Challenge Cup they earned last weekend as Wakefield's relegation worries deepened despite their rousing effort at Knowsley Road.

Wakefield made an enterprising start to take a 6-0 lead, and they might have been further ahead but for some excellent Saints defence. Jamie Rooney, outstanding in the opening quarter, kicked his side ahead from a penalty and then was involved in a four-man move that ended with Jason Demetriou crossing in the corner. Jamie Lyon's alertness denied Semi Tadulala, and Demetriou went close to a second but was just unable to collect Ben Jeffries' chip-kick.

The St Helens prop Nick Fozzard was taken off on a stretcher with a whiplash injury after a collision, and the team found their usual attacking fluency only fleetingly in the first half.

Keiron Cunningham's break and offload to Lyon, which created an opening for Paul Wellens' converted try that tied the scores, finally unlocked Wakefield's tenacious defence. Just before the break Paul Anderson's thundering run set up Lyon for a second before Leon Pryce's long pass enabled Lee Gilmour to bump off James Evans' tackle and set up a 16-6 half-time lead that scarcely reflected Wakefield's contribution.

Adam Watene forced his way over to cut the deficit to four points but Ade Gardner, leaping high above Colum Halpenny to collect Sean Long's kick to the corner midway through the second half, ensured Saints' hard-earned success.

After the Wakefield prop Michael Korkidas was sent off for head-butting Lyon, Pryce and Gardner piled on the agony for the Wildcats who have just two games remaining, against Bradford and Castleford, to save their skins.

St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Lyon, Gilmour, Meli; Pryce, Long; Fozzard, Cunningham, P Anderson, Sculthorpe, V Anderson, Hooper. Substitutes used: Roby, Graham, Fa'asavalu, Bennett.

Wakefield: Halpenny; Demetriou, Evans, Atkins, Tadulala; Rooney, Jeffries; Korkidas, Obst, Watene, Henderson, Solomona, Betham. Substitutes used: M Field, Elima, Latu, March.

Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington).