A late Tom Holmes try handed Saints a 16-12 defeat at Castleford.
Leading 12-4 at the break thanks to tries from Mark Percival and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Justin Holbrook’s men looked set to record a Super League double over the Tigers and rise to sixth place in the process.
But they couldn’t find the crucial score in an increasingly frantic half – although Alex Walmsley and Regan Grace went agonisingly close in the final stages.
Realistically, Saints should have posted more points early doors before Percival got them on the board.
Both Adam Swift and Ryan Morgan carved out chances following strong runs from Walmsley, whilst Grace also had an opportunity thanks to the big forward’s offload.
Percival’s try came on 13 minutes and it was down to sheer game awareness from the in-form centre.
Matty Smith’s pass went to ground behind him but he calmly scooped it up and then went around the outside to cross in the corner.
Tommy Makinson nailing the conversion off the touchline, via the post.
Saints went in search of more points and in the process restricted their hosts to long range efforts.
But that changed on the half hour mark.
An error handed the ball back to Cas in their own half and field position was bettered by three penalties.
Saints defended two of them with aplomb but after the third – following a blatant knock on – Kieran Gill crossed in the corner on debut.
It was a blow but within seconds McCarthy-Scarsbrook had replied.
Saints forced an error from the restart and the forward – making his 200th appearance for the club – powerfully darted through on a short pass.
Makinson hitting his second conversion of the afternoon to make it 12-4 at half time.
Saints started the second half in the ascendancy and Luke Thompson was held up over the line just two minutes in.
Smart defence forced a knock on from Junior Moors a minute later and within a set, Percival had set Grace away down the left.
The youngster looked all the world to score but strong Cas defence bundled him into touch.
Smith forced a drop out 50 minutes in, but Saints couldn’t take advantage and then Cas returned the favour with back-to-back sets which paved the way for Mike McMeeken to score.
Grace went close again on the hour mark following a mazy James Roby run – but too many chances had gone begging and the Tigers duly made them pay.
On the last they kicked through the centre of the field and Tom Holmes won the foot race – and the attentions of Makinson – to put the ball down.
Saints did all they could to grab a winner against a panicked defence in the final stages; Percival going close before an Alex Walmsley effort was penalised for double movement.
Regan Grace had one chalked off too as the referee deemed he was in touch as he put the ball down in the corner.
It was a disappointing finish to a game that promised so much, and leaves Saints with an all-important game with Widnes this Friday.
Tries: Gill, McMeeken, Holmes
Goals: McShane (2 from 3)
Tries: Percival, McCarthy-Scarsbrook
Goals: Makinson (2 from 2)
REF: Chris Campbell
5. Greg Eden; 26. Kieran Gill, 3. Jake Webster, 21. Joel Monaghan, 2. Greg Minikin; 16. Ben Roberts, 23. Tom Holmes; 8. Andy Lynch, 9. Paul McShane, 14. Nathan Massey, 34. Alex Foster, 33. Kevin Larroyer, 15. Jesse Sene-Lefao.
Subs: 12. Mike McMeeken, 17. Junior Moors, 25. Jy Hitchcox, 35. Jake Trueman.
2. Tommy Makinson; 5. Adam Swift, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 28. Regan Grace; 1. Jonny Lomax, 7. Matty Smith; 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 36. Zeb Taia, 12. Jon Wilkin, 20. Morgan Knowles.
Subs: 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 16. Luke Thompson, 17. Tommy Lee.