- Match Centre
SAINTS produced a spirited last quarter but ultimately slipped to a 25-16 defeat at Huddersfield Giants.
Josh Jones and Jordan Turner pulled the gap back to nine points with more than 10 minutes remaining as they sniffed a more than unlikely comeback.
Yet, as in recent weeks, they'd left themselves far too much to do late on.
After a sprightly start Saints found themselves 18-0 down before they finally got a foothold in the match
For the opening 10 minutes they pinned the Giants back in their half but tries from Aaron Murphy, a controversial one from Joe Wardle and Dale Ferguson's opportunism put the home side in command.
But Saints fought back and got a try their play deserved when Gareth O'Brien - on his debut - fired a great ball to Jon Wilkin.
In the second half, Danny Brough kicked a drop goal before he inspired Wardle's second.
Saints weren't without their chances though and they finally took one with less than 14 minutes remaining.
Josh Jones benefitting from great handling.
And when Jordan Turner went under the posts there was a sniff of a comeback.
Time ultimately ran out though and Saints were once again left to lick their wounds despite a better performance.
Nathan Brown welcomed back Paul Wellens and Francis Meli into his starting line-up with James Roby returning on the bench after ten matches out with an ankle injury.
That meant a shuffle around and Jordan Turner forming a half-back partnership with new loan signing Gareth O'Brien; Lance Hohaia at hooker.
Saints made good yards on their first set coming off their own try line and getting over half way.
Their second was even more productive as they forced the defence into a good kick clearance.
Tony Puletua then produced a wonderful overhead pass to Jon Wilkin, but he just couldn't gather it in.
Saints were making the early running but their last tackle options, whilst gaining good field advantage, weren't putting the defence under enough pressure.
And when Paul Wellens couldn't take a high ball, the Giants gained an unexpected set in prime territory.
Saints looked nailed on to defend it but when Ade Gardner unluckily tipped forward a pass to give the home side another six Luke Robinson found the space to feed Aaron Murphy.
Brough missing the extras.
Joe Wardle was then adjudged to have put the ball down by the video referee after a kick to the corner caused problems; Brough tagging on his first goal of the night for a ten point lead.
And on 19 minutes Brough made it 12-0 as Wellens was penalised for stripping the ball out under the sticks - a harsh call considering the momentum of the tackle and the fact Eorl Crabtree looked to have given up the scoring chance.
Giants had their tails up though and after a strong Saints' run Dale Ferguson scorched beside the posts to make it 18-0.
Saints hit back when some quick hands finally got them into decent field position. They drove close to the Giants' line and a fast pass from O'Brien saw Jon Wilkin charge over.
O'Brien with the conversion to cut the lead to 12.
But a bad looking tackle on Ade Gardner - not malicious in anyway - saw the winger stretched from the field with a couple of minutes to go in the first half.
He fell awkwardly into a big shoulder and needed oxygen before being taken off.
Saints gave the advantage away straight from the kick off when Mark Percival's restart went out on the full - but they fended off the danger.
Yet, Danny Brough added a drop goal on 45 minutes to take Huddersfield's advantage to 13.
Saints had two sets on the Giants line but they couldn't find a way through - and that lack of cutting edge was punished as Wardle crossed for his second.
Brough with the extras.
Saints had another couple of sets on the Giants line, failing to crack a resolute defence, but on their next set they finally did - the ball going through several pairs of hands before Josh Jones got them on the board.
Roby then went from dummy half and fed Turner whose quick feet made it a nine point game.
But Saints had once again left themselves with too much to do though and time ran out.
Tries: Murphy, Wardle (2), Ferguson
Goals: Brough (3 from 4)
Tries: Wilkin, Jones, Turner
Goals: O'Brien (2 from 3)
REF: Richard Silverwood
1. Scott Grix; 5. Jermaine McGillvary, 3. Leroy Cudjoe, 4. Joe Wardle, 18. Aaron Murphy; 6. Danny Brough, 7. Luke Robinson; 8. Eorl Crabtree, 9. Shaun Lunt, 10. Craig Kopczak, 11. Brett Ferres, 17. Ukuma Ta'ai, 21. Dale Ferguson.
Subs: 14. Michael Lawrence, 15. Larne Patrick, 22. Anthony Mullally, 30. Brad Dwyer.
1. Paul Wellens; 2. Ade Gardner, 30. Mark Percival, 19. Josh Jones, 5. Francis Meli; 3. Jordan Turner, 37. Gareth O'Brien; 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 6. Lance Hohaia, 11. Tony Puletua, 4. Sia Soliola, 13. Willie Manu, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 9. James Roby, 16. Paul Clough, 25. Alex Walmsley, 33. Luke Thompson.