Stott's Sheffield steal

Sheffield Eagles 18 St Helens 17
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The Independent Online
LYNTON STOTT missed out on Sheffield's cup final glory, spending all of the 80 minutes at Wembley sitting on the bench, surplus to requirements.

He went some way towards making up for that disappointment yesterday when his two tries salvaged a victory that gives an overdue boost to the Eagles' Super League season, that had seemed to be slipping away after promising so much.

Stott's speed and opportunism twice put Sheffield ahead in a gripping game that was in doubt right until the final hooter sounded. The first time was just before the interval when he took Darren Turner's clever pass to go 60 yards and kick-start the Eagles' fight-back following a dreadful start.

Then, after Sheffield seemed to have squandered all the chances they were going to get to upset the form book against St Helens, his try 10 minutes from time gave them a match-winning lead.

Once more, the opportunity seemed to have passed when Keith Senior made a long dash only to put his pass behind Bright Sodje, but Saints conceded a penalty for delaying the play-the-ball and the ball was whipped out to the right by Rod Doyle to Whetu Taewa who sent Stott in for the touchdown.

There still remained the problem of the goal kick - one of the areas in which Sheffield have struggled in recent weeks - but Martin Wood put his shot confidently between the posts.

It was a morale-boosting victory for Sheffield, but they had wasted the most clear-cut opening of the whole game after five minutes when Paul Carr dropped the ball with the line at his mercy and, from the resulting scrum, Paul Newlove compounded the punishment by racing away to score. Sean Long's conversion and drop-goal took them further ahead, before Tommy Martyn's brilliant kick and catch saw Anthony Sullivan released for Saints' second try.

The Eagles responded with a resourcefulness that has often been absent since Wembley, Waisale Sovatabua capitalising on Paul Atcheson dropping a high kick and Stott then striking for his first try.

Sheffield had a series of chances to stretch their lead in the second half, culminating in Damien Smith's try-saving tackle on Sodje. Again Saints scored from the scrum, Chris Smith this time doing the damage, but the forgotten man of Wembley was to have the final word.

Sheffield Eagles: Sovatabua; Stott, Morganson, Senior, Sodje; Watson, Vassilakopoulos; Broadbent, Stephens, Molloy, Carr, Shaw, Doyle. Substitutes used: Taewa, Wood, Turner, Laughton.

St Helens: Atcheson; C Smith, D Smith, Newlove, Sullivan, Martyn, Long, Goldspink, Cunningham, Perelini, Joynt, Davidson, Hammond. Substitutes used: Goulding, Pickavance, Haigh, Anderson.

Referee: S Presley.