Sunday 8th July 2012, 15:00 - Round:20
|Patrick Ah Van 3, Chris Dean, Cameron Phelps,||T||Iosia Soliola, Jon Wilkin, Michael Shenton, Josh Jones,|
Lee Gaskell 4,
Attendance: 7,023 Official: R Hicks Venue: Stobart Stadium Halton
St Helens snatched a stunning last-gasp victory over Widnes Vikings to climb back to third place in the Stobart Super League table as they stretched their unbeaten run to five matches.
But it needed a 79th-minute try from Josh Jones and a touchline conversion from Lee Gaskell with the last kick of a thrilling encounter to earn Saints both points.
Struggling Widnes, who had a hat-trick of tries from Patrick Ah Van, had looked set for a famous win when they led 23-18 until Jones struck.
Widnes kept the side which thrashed Castleford Tigers 40-10 to climb above London Broncos at the foot of the table.
Saints were missing Jonny Lomax with a rib injury with Lance Hohaia returning at scrum half to partner Gaskell and Andrew Dixon in for Mark Flanagan.
Saints had run in a century of points in their two meetings against Widnes this season with a 40-38 cup win at the Stobart Stadium in April followed a week later by a 62-0 league hammering at Langtree Park.
Widnes were forced on the defensive from the start and it needed a crucial tackle by skipper Jon Clarke to stop Paul Wellens crossing for his 16th try of the season.
Saints missed another chance with a forward pass from Anthony Laffranchi after a darting burst from dummy half by James Roby.
But the Vikings were not overawed and Stefan Marsh went close from a kick and then Frank Winterstein was held short.
Saints thought they had gone ahead after Hohaia danced through but referee Robert Hicks ruled the Kiwi failed to ground the ball correctly - much to Saints' fury.
But it was Hohaia’s teasing kick which was fumbled by Rhys Hanbury which gifted sub Iosia Soliola a try after 33 minutes and Gaskell tagged on the conversion.
Hanbury made amends two minutes later when his high kick bounced awkwardly for Tom Makinson and Ah Van pounced to race over in the corner.
Hanbury levelled the scores with a touchline conversion the teams went into half-time tied at 6-6.
Saints regained the lead almost straight from the restart when Widnes conceded a penalty on the sixth tackle and Jon Wilkin forced his way over from Roby’s pass to help make it 12-6.
Widnes hit back with Hanbury’s perfectly-timed pass sending Chris Dean racing over against his old club.
Hanbury and the Widnes fans thought the conversion had gone over but the touch judges ruled the kick had failed.
Widnes did not let that decision upset their rhythm, though, with Dean putting Ah Van over for his second try four minutes later and, this time, Hanbury’s conversion attempt was definitely wide to leave the Vikings ahead 14-12.
Saints regained the advantage when Michael Shenton shrugged off Ah Van to cross after 58 minutes with Gaskell’s touchline conversion making it 18-14 to the visitors.
However, Ah Van completed his treble after intercepting Dixon’s pass and racing 80 metres to cross after 63 minutes to draw Widnes level again.
Ah Van was forced off the field with a shoulder injury after scoring his long-range try and in a thrilling finale Wilkin was denied by outstanding defence after a missed drop goal attempt by Hohaia.
Hanbury then slotted over a one-pointer eight minutes from time.
The drama continued with Clarke and Dean combining for Cameron Phelps to squeeze over in the corner but crucially Stefan Marsh missed the goal.
Then Wellens put Jones over in the corner with Gaskell booting the conversion to give Saints a last-gasp win.
|Patrick Ah Van||3||0||6||0||2||0||0||13||188||14||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||1|
TA: Try assists
MT: Marker tackles
MI: Missed tackles
TB: Tackle busts
AT: Attacking kicks
AG: Av gain
CB: Clean break
DR: Run from dummy half
FT: Forty twenty
MG: Missed goals
Patrick Ah Van
Clean Breaks: 3