A SUPERB last gasp try from Joe Greenwood handed Saints a dramatic 22-16 victory over Wigan at Langtree Park.
Nathan Brown’s side produced a performance of real vigour and passion to strengthen their playoff ambitions.
It was a game with everything including a wondrous drop goal from the visitors and a breathtaking run from Tommy Makinson to set up the final score.
For 75 minutes it was in the balance until the young winger recovered a kick from Matty Smith and flew down the left to set up great field position.
It then came inside and Greenwood went over to wild scenes on the terraces.
Saints led 12-8 at half time thanks to a strong start and a double from Adam Swift.
Wigan hit back through Pat Richards and Josh Charnley but crucially two missed goals put the home side four to the good.
Charnley’s early second half score put Wigan ahead before Tommy Makinson levelled it up with a penalty.
But a remarkable drop goal from Richards gave the Warriors a one-point lead.
Saints missed two penalty attempts before Jordan Turner tagged one – seconds after Blake Green was sinbinned.
Matty Smith landed a drop goal with five minutes to go but Saints had one deadly play to finish with – and boy was it clinical.
Saints welcomed Anthony Laffranchi back into the line-up with Adam Swift also getting a late call up for Luke Thompson.
Josh Jones moved into the second row and Francis Meli started at centre.
Wigan were missing Sam Tomkins and Shaun O’Loughlin – Ryan Hampshire and Greg Burke named instead.
Both sides played out their sets before a shortish looking kick from Saints put them under pressure.
But Wigan knocked on and gave the advantage straight back to the home side.
That was the tale of the tape for the opening 10 minutes until Saints improvised on the last and gained a repeat set – thanks to Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook’s break and run.
And from that advantage Francis Meli – after a Wigan knock on – fed Adam Swift and he scorched in.
Gareth O’Brien converting from a tricky angle.
On the 15 minute mark Saints increased their lead – a fantastic break from Jonny Lomax finished off by Adam Swift who was in close attendance.
O’Brien 100 per cent with the boot.
Saints were clearly on top and it showed when they survived a set of six right on their line after Wigan piled on the pressure.
Tony Puletua was pulled for a forward pass to Jonny Lomax on 24 minutes – a decision that seemed harsh – and the Warriors took full advantage.
After a penalty – another tough call – the ball was fed left and Richards crossed.
Tommy Makinson took a great high ball on 35 minutes as Wigan threatened but a Saints error with three minutes to go handed the Warriors the advantage.
And a high ball to the corner was collected by Josh Charnley.
In the second half, Wilkin kicked high to Jordan Turner but the centre just couldn’t drag it in.
Joe Greenwood had one chalked off for a knock on 45 minutes – a great tackle by Ryan Hampshire – and within seconds Charnley had raced away to level it up.
Richards tagging on the extras.
Wigan had their tails up and Saints did well to defend their lines.
On 55 minutes Scott Taylor hit O’Brien late and high – and was placed on report.
Makinson tagged on the penalty but Pat Richards hit a drop goal from an impossible angle – and from around 50 yards out – to put Wigan one point to the good.
On 64 minutes Tommy Makinson’s penalty attempt drifted wide as did another two minutes later.
But after Blake Green was sinbinned for persistent foul play Jordan Turner made the conversion count.
The game had become ‘meaty’ with Wigan’s foul play being punished – and Saints looked more than keen to take the advantage.
But Matty Smith hit a drop goal with five minutes to go.
Saints weren’t to be outdone though and scored a try that was truly breathtaking.
Smith cleared his line but Tommy Makinson returned it with interest. It then came inside and Joe Greenwood showed amazing strength to get over.
Turner with the two-pointer.
Saints recovered the kick off and the final minute was counted down to jubilant scenes in Langtree Park.
Finally, we are home.
Tries: Swift (2), Greenwood
Goals: O’Brien (2 from 2), Makinson (1 from 3), Turner (2 from 2)
Tries: Richards, Charnley (2)
Goals: Richards (1 from 3)
Drop: Richards, Smith
REF: James Child
7. Jonny Lomax; 21. Tom Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Francis Meli, 26. Adam Swift; 12. Jon Wilkin, 37. Gareth O’Brien; 11. Tony Puletua, 36. Stuart Howarth, 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 13. Willie Manu, 19. Josh Jones, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
Subs: 1. Paul Wellens, 16. Paul Clough, 24. Joe Greenwood, 25. Alex Walmsley.
32. Ryan Hampshire; 2. Josh Charnley, 3. Darrell Goulding, 22. Anthony Gelling, 5. Pat Richards; 6. Blake Green, 7. Matty Smith; 10. Lee Mossop, 9. Michael McIlorum, 20. Gil Dudson, 16. Chris Tuson, 12. Liam Farrell, 29. Greg Burke.
Subs: 15. Ben Flower, 21.Scott Taylor, 23. Logan Tomkins, 26. Dominic Crosby.