Wigan hold on for last Knowsley Road derby win

St Helens 10 Wigan 18

Wigan said farewell to a ground where they have found it so difficult to win in recent years with a victory that further entrenches them at the top of Super League.

The last-ever Good Friday derby at Knowsley Road saw Saints batter away for most of the second half without being able to undo the damage done in the first, as their rivals won on enemy territory for the first time since 2003.

"It was probably some good defence from them and some not-so-good play from us," said Saints' coach, Mick Potter, whilst his counterpart, Michael Maguire, praised the determination of a Wigan team carrying several walking wounded.

The GPW Recruitment Stadium, as it will end its life this autumn, has seen a lot more spectacular Good Friday games than this, although it was one that exemplified the intensity of the rivalry between the two clubs.

It was always Wigan who had the edge in the first half, starting with Pat Richards' third-minute penalty after a ball-stealing offence. There were limited chances after that, before Sean O'Loughlin led the charge for the first try. There was something appropriately nostalgic about the way Wigan muscled Saints off the ball, enabling the in-form O'Loughlin to pinch the ball from Scott Moore at the base of the scrum.

That set up a position from which O'Loughlin's pass was knocked down by Francis Meli's attempted intercept, and Darrell Goulding swooped for a messy but valuable try.

The second, five minutes before half-time, was largely self-inflicted from Saints' point of view. Maurie Fa'asavalu knocked on, Saints conceded a couple of penalties and, from the second of them, Iafeta Palea'asina barged his way over for the first try of his season – with some defenders looking as though they were expecting a kick for goal.

Richard extended Wigan's lead with his fourth goal early in the second half, but the game then looked like turning after Amos Roberts was sent to the sin-bin. The full-back was dispatched for one of a series of play-the-ball offences that blighted the afternoon, and Saints immediately took advantage, with Kyle Eastmond's kick into the arms of Ade Gardner followed by the young half-back's conversion from the touchline.

Just before Roberts returned, Tony Puletua forced his way over, but this time Eastmond missed the easier conversion. Saints went close when Meli's effort was ruled out for a forward pass, but Wigan held their nerve, with the help of a further goal from Richards.

St Helens: Pryce; Gardner, Gidley, Dean, Meli; Wilkin, Eastmond; Graham, Cunningham, Puletua, Flannery, Clough, Moore. Substitutes used: Roby, Hargreaves, Dixon, Fa'asavalu.

Wigan: Roberts; Goulding, Gleeson, Carmont, Richards; S Tomkins, Leuluai; Fielden, McIlorum, Prescott, Bailey, J Tomkins, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Palea'asina, Deacon, O'Carroll, Mossop.

Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test