Sykes lands late blow as Wildcats stay in hunt


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The Independent Online

Wakefield's unlikely dream of a top-eight finish remains within the realms of possibility after Paul Sykes' last-minute drop goal handed them a 33-32 victory over St Helens – their fourth Super League victory in a row. There were 15 seconds to play when Sykes measured up the winning kick.

It means that the Wildcats go to Hull KR next Sunday with every chance of continuing their unexpected push for the play-offs. "The momentum is with us, and we have put ourselves in with a real shot," said Richard Agar, their coach.

However, the Wildcats suffered an early blow when they conceded one of the quickest tries of the season. Francis Meli began it with a surging run down the left, and when Tony Puletua arrived to complete the job there were only 27 seconds on the clock.

Wakefield responded by having the better of an entertaining first half. They were soon in front when Richie Mathers came into the line to release Lee Smith, and then a subtly-disguised kick from Tim Smith gave Andy Raleigh their second converted try.

Meli hit back for Saints, from an equally precise Jonny Lomax kick, but then Wakefield's Danny Kirmond struck with two tries in three minutes, the first from Paul Sykes' pass and the second from another Tim Smith kick. Paul Wellens then got one back for Saints.

It was Saints who looked to be on the prowl after the interval, with Meli and Wellens both scoring their second try. Wakefield fought back, however, with the try of the match.Ben Cockayne fielded the ball behind his own try-line and went half the length of the field, with Ali Lauitiiti's magical off-load sending Lee Smith to the corner.

Kyle Wood gave Trinity the edge, but Meli's hat-trick try seven minutes from time tied it all up, before Sykes landed the winning blow. "They deserved to win because we weren't great," admitted Mike Rush, the Saints coach.

In the day's other matches Hull beat Catalans 30-10 and London completed rare back-to-back wins by beating Castleford 42-20, while on Saturday night Warrington whittled down Wigan's lead at the top of the table to a single point with a convincing 30-10 win.