|9th Apr 2009|| Super League||AWAY ||22232 ||(HT:6:6)|
|Age in brackets is at time of match - Total average age for this team is 25. - ** non-playing sub|
COACH : Mick potter
(2008-01-01 : 2010-12-31 )
MATCH REPORT : SAINTS edged a real tough tussle at the JJB Stadium when they came from behind to beat Wigan Warriors. A towering bomb from Jon Wilkin that Leon Pryce mopped up and never say die defence in their own 20, saw them home. Both teams were tied at six apiece in a first half that was punctuated with errors. Shaun Ainscough went over for the Warriors, then Keiron Cunningham hit back immediately with a trademark drive. In the second half, Ainscough got the benefit of the doubt from the video referee after he notched a try in the corner before Matt Gidley pulled the Saints right back. Pryce then pounced on Wilkin’s bomb and that proved to be the eventual gamewinner. And in the last 10 minutes, Saints defended 24 tackles in the space on two minutes on their own line to send them top of the league. Kyle Eastmond then landed a 45 metre drop goal to seal the deal. Saints kept virtually the same team that beat Leeds last week. Chris Flannery missed out with a foot injury whilst Jason Cayless is expected to be out for an extended period of time with a shoulder injury. Sean Long was deemed not fit enough to play, so Wilkin and Pryce formed the half back partnership. Matty Ashurst made his first start in Saints’ colours following four appearances off the bench. Ex-Saint Martin Gleeson made his first appearance since signing from Warrington during the week. Sam Tomkins started in place of Tim Smith.
Wigan almost got the perfect start when Mark Riddell dummied his way down Saints’ right hand side and nearly went over, instead passing the ball to a more than grateful Ade Gardner. And then they did take the lead when Thomas Leuluai caught a poor pass on the bounce and chipped through to Ainscough; the winger having the easiest of touchdowns. Amos Roberts wide with the extras. But from the restart Saints won the ball back, Paul Clough went within inches and on the next tackle Cunningham bulldozed over for his 165th try in the red vee. Wellens with the extras. 12 minutes in, Saints ahead. Gareth Hock had a try disallowed on the 20-minute mark when the home side when 90 yards in a set of six. The second rower took on Gidley, got inside but Paul Wellens made the cover tackle as the Wigan man slid over. The video referee looked at it a couple of times and rightly ruled a double movement. Both sides were guilty of dropping the ball, dropping off tackles and making forward passes when close to the line. On the half an hour mark, Eastmond made his first appearance of the season following an operation on his shoulder and immediately he burst though and almost set up Maurie Fa’asavalu. But the ball was snaffled up by the Wigan cover. On 37 minutes, Roberts leveled it up when a penalty right in front of the posts after Fa’asavalu tackled Iafeta Paleaaesina high.
Half Time: Wigan 6 Saints 6
Saints begun the second half with some tenacious tackling aimed at stopping Wigan’s forward play. And Wigan put in some massive hits to force their opposition onto the back foot. Then a double repeat set saw Ainscough controversially put the Warriors ahead. Wigan battered the Saints line, then sent it left and the winger was in for his second of the game. The video ref took an age to give it, but gave the home side the benefit of the doubt. Gardner looked like he put the man in touch on three separate occasions as Ainscough grounded the ball, and the final pass was a yard forward. Roberts off the touchline to make it 6-12. A charging Tony Puletua run then set up a Gidley score to bring the Saints right back into it. Eastmond superb to level it up off the touchline. Seconds later, Wilkin put up a monster of a bomb, the cover defence missed it and Pryce mopped up. Eastmond with the two-pointer. 60 minutes in and Saints up 18-12. On 69 minutes, Wellens was adjudged to have been held up in his own goal-line and Wigan won a repeat set. It was a harsh call as the full back looked to have broken the tackle and cleared his lines. From there Wigan won a repeat set when a dab though from Riddell was knocked on. Gardner then knocked the ball dead for yet another drop out and they won yet another set following, bizarrely, a Wigan knock on. But Thaler finally stopped the onslaught when he spotted a knock on. From there, Gidley drove Saints into Wigan’s 20 and won a repeat when his kick was knocked into touch. But Thaler failed to spot an obvious high tackle on Gidley and Wigan had the ball once more. With five minutes to go Eastmond and Gardner wrapped up Ainscough as he looked to be going in for his hat-trick. Pryce then caught an O’Loughlin chip over. And at the death Eastmond landed a 45 metre drop goal to seal the deal.
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