|6th May 2006|| Super League||AWAY ||5487 ||(HT:0:6)|
|MATCH NOTES : Saints first away league defeat for 11 months and their first defeat in 2006! |
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 25. - ** non-playing sub|
MATCH REPORT : It proved to be unlucky 13 for Saints as their winning start to Super League XI came to an end at Huddersfield.
It also ended, at an impressive 51 weeks, Saints’ unbeaten run away from home in Super League, with Daniel Anderson’s only other defeat on the road coming in last season’s Powergen Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Hull, ironically at Huddersfield’s Galpharm Stadium.
With April’s gruelling schedule having taken its toll, the starting line-up had an unfamiliar look to it, with Jamie Lyon, Lee Gilmour and Sean Long missing, and Keiron Cunningham and Leon Pryce starting on the bench.
With just twenty-five minutes of competitive first-team action, scrum-half Matty Smith was given his first start alongside fellow eighteen year-old Scott Moore, himself making only his tenth Super League appearance.
Smith, a former Everton FC apprentice, demonstrated his kicking ability with a 40-20 during the opening exchanges, but it was Huddersfield who had the first breakthrough when Australian centre Michael De Vere brushed off a tackle to score.
It was a tight affair, with most of the game’s creativity coming from Huddersfield’s hooker Brad Drew, whose probing kicks pinned Saints back, and in truth it was the Giants who looked more likely to score, with Martin Aspinwall guilty of scuppering the clearest chance.
Saints rallied at the start of the second half, with Paul Sculthorpe’s penalty getting Saints on the scoreboard, then Willie Talau profited from Leon Pryce’s block on Drew’s kick. Sculthorpe’s conversion put the visitors ahead 8-6.
The lead only lasted five minutes before De Vere’s penalty levelled the scores. With the Giants once again settled they began to look more dangerous and they were rewarded with two tries in five minutes. Drew was involved twice as he engineered a try for Donlan, then Paul March claimed the decisive score after following up his own grubber kick, which Saints failed to deal with.
With 19 minutes left and eight points adrift, there was plenty of time for Saints to come back, but they lacked the creative spark to find a way through the Giants defence, a cause not aided by the loss of Pryce with a back injury.
Drew slotted over a drop goal before James Graham crashed over with five minutes remaining to reduce the deficit to just three points. However Huddersfield hung on for a deserved victory to end a run of five defeats, rising to seventh.
Giants: Paul Reilly, Martin Aspinwall, James Evans, Michael De Vere, Stuart Donlan, Paul March, Robbie Paul, Keith Mason, Brad Drew, Jim Gannon, Paul Smith, Andy Raleigh, Stuart Jones.
Subs: Eorl Crabtree, Paul Jackson, Wayne McDonald, Matt Gardner.
T: De Vere, Donlan, March.
G: De Vere (3/3).
Saints: Paul Wellens, Ade Gardner, Vinnie Anderson, Willie Talau, Francis Meli, Scott Moore, Matty Smith, Nick Fozzard, James Roby, James Graham, Jon Wilkin, Paul Sculthorpe, Jason Hooper.
Subs: Leon Pryce, Keiron Cunningham, Paul Anderson, Maurie Fa’asavalu.
T: Talau, Graham.
G: Sculthorpe (4/4)
Referee: P Bentham
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