Pickavance swoops to pull Saints through

Warrington 24 St Helens 25
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St Helens maintained their perfect record in the Stones Super League last night, but only by the narrowest of margins as they staged another in their series of great, late escapes.

Helped by the sending off of the Warrington full-back, Lee Penny, seven minutes from time, Saints grabbed eight quick points to turn a first defeat of the campaign into a nerve racking victory.

Bobbie Goulding's penalty brought them within range, and then four minutes from time Derek McVey made the crucial break, passing inside for Ian Pickavance to score and leave Goulding an easy sixth goal. Even then Chris Rudd missed a penalty from halfway that could have clawed back the game for Warrington in injury time.

Saints had started off smoothly enough, with little suggestion of the drama ahead. A try form form Steve Prescott, snatching Goulding's bomb away from Penny, plus two Goulding goals easing them into an eight-point lead.

Warrington came back with a brilliant try from Toa Kohe-Love and four- goal Iestyn Harris, but Goulding's drop goal kept Saints precariously in the lead at half-time. When Newlove's try, also converted, rocked Warrington early in the second half, it seemed that Saints could be on their way to a relatively comfortable win.

However, if that try, scored after Warrington had been wrongly ordered to take a drop out, was a test of character, it was one that the home side quickly passed.

Three tries swung the game their way, two of them spectacular long-range efforts from Richard Henare and Jon Roper and the other a short-distance charge from Mark Jones.

But then Penny had his moment of madness, flooring Alan Hunte with an horrendous high tackle. "That was probably enough to swing the balance in a game like this," John Dorahy, the Warrington coach, said.

His Saints counterpart, Shaun McRae, said: "I didn't think Bobbie's drop goal was a very good option at the time, but I'm very glad now he went for it."

Warrington: Penny; Forster, Kohe-Love, Roper, Henare; Harris, Swann; Hilton, Bennett, Chambers, Sculthorpe, Cullen, Rudd. Substitutes used: Jones, Sumner, Barrow.

St Helens: Prescott; Arnold, Matautia, Newlove, Hunte; Hammond, Goulding; Perelini, K Cunningham, Leatham, McVey, Booth, Joynt. Substitutes used: Pickavance, Martyn, Morley.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).