Saints v Warrington Wolves
Saints’ Grand Final dream is over after they went down 18-13 to Warrington at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Thursday.
Danny Richardson landed three drop goals in an eventual nine point haul to put his side ahead 13-12, but it wasn’t enough in a pulsating tie.
Tom Lineham’s double ultimately proving the difference.
Warrington led after ten minutes through a Tyrone Roberts penalty but Saints replied with one of their own five minutes later after Jonny Lomax went close.
The Wolves continued to pile on the pressure and twice Saints had to be keenest in defence.
Ryan Morgan was quickest to a grubber to stop a chance and then LMS cleaned up after a dropped ball.
Saints had chances of their own too as Tommy Makinson teared off down the field before James Roby’s chip gave them a repeat set.
Luke Thompson then went close with a barnstorming run.
At the other end of the pitch, Warrington almost turned a penalty on 35 minutes into points but couldn’t find a way past the defence.
They then fumbled the ball on the last and missed a drop goal attempt from under the posts.
It was a let off and Saints returned the ball with interest and Richardson made no mistake from in front with around two minutes left in the half.
It really was that sort of half…
Saints began the second stanza right on the front foot after Warrington let Danny Richardson’s restart go dead.
It handed the hosts a repeat set and Luke Douglas duly profited.
Richardson’s grubber on the last sat up nicely; the ball was then tipped back under the posts by the Wolves’ defence and Douglas was quickest to pounce on the loose ball.
But Warrington hit back immediately when good hands saw Jack Hughes go through a gap and score in the corner.
Richardson extended Saints’ advantage to five points with a penalty on 50 minutes – and then his side had back to back sets right on the Wolves’ line.
But Saints couldn’t convert and Warrington went up the other end, built pressure, won a drop out and then scored in the corner through Lineham.
Roberts nailing the conversion from the touchline to give his side a one-point lead.
Richardson missed a penalty shot from the right hand touchline to put Saints ahead but made no mistake with another drop goal under the posts on the next set.
He then put his side ahead with a low effort that skimmed the crossbar on the way through.
Saints were on top but there was to be a sting in the tail.
With six minutes to go Lineham took a Kevin Brown pass on the left hand side and slid over in the corner.
Saints fought to get back into it but they couldn’t execute their plays despite two forays into the Warrington half as the clock ticked down.
And the final play saw Percival’s chip take a deflection and end up in touch.
A sad end to a breathtaking season.
Goals: Richardson (3 from 4)
Drop: Richardson (3)
Tries: Hughes, Lineham (2)
Goals: Roberts (3 from 4)
REF: Robert Hicks
23. Ben Barba; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Ryan Morgan, 4. Mark Percival, 19. Regan Grace; 1. Jonny Lomax, 18. Danny Richardson; 20. Matty Lees, 9. James Roby, 16. Luke Thompson, 11. Zeb Taia, 17. Dom Peyroux, 12. Jon Wilkin.
Subs: 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Luke Douglas, 15. Morgan Knowles, 21. Jack Ashworth.
1. Stefan Ratchford; 2. Tom Lineham, 3. Bryson Goodwin, 18. Toby King, 27. Josh Charnley; 6. Kevin Brown, 7. Tyrone Roberts; 8. Chris Hill, 9. Daryl Clark, 10. Mike Cooper, 30. Bodene Thompson, 12. Jack Hughes, 34. Ben Westwood.
Subs: 13. Ben Murdoch-Masaila, 15. Declan Patton, 17. Joe Philbin, 19. George King.
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Percy with a chip as the ball comes left, takes a bounce but then goes into touch.
Saints penalty – will go into touch and then one play.
Saints have 22 seconds to make this happen
Chip to the corner – Percy touches it and it goes dead. Saints won’t get many more chances.
Saints get the ball back from the restart.
Makes it 18-13
Warrington throw the ball left – Brown moves it to Lineham and the Wolves are back in front.
Barba chips on the last – Saints caught offside though and Warrington have a penalty.
High shot on Matty Lees – scuffle afterwards, Saints penalty.
Richardson drop goal … low and it skims the crossbar on the way over. Saints lead 13-12
Saints opt to run the set…
Ratchford puts the restart dead. Saints penalty.
We’re all square at 12-12 – Richardson with the one-pointer from around 30 out.
Goes right… but Saints will have another set.
Richardson will have a pop from the touchline.
Saints penalty as the ball goes into the corner from Richardson’s boot.
Barba kick… Warrington up to that though.
Saints penalty… they’ll attack from 35 out.
Wilkin with the ball – Barba goes through the gap and puts Lomax in – but the stand-off can’t hold onto the ball.
Warrington lead 12-11
given. It’s a one point game. 11-10
Lineham over in the far corner – we’re heading upstairs…
Set play from Warrington – chip over the top that Roberts and Barba chase…. Saints have to drop out.
Penalty for Warrington, they will attack Saints from 30 out.
Chip from Richardson but it’s too long for Barba. Saints remain 11-6 up.
Knowles and Lomax both go close – Saints then force a drop out.
High kick from Danny – Warrington take it but Ratchford is put into touch. Another set coming up.
Danny makes it 11-6
Lomax chip on the last, clearly taken out. Saints penalty under the posts.
Saints penalty in their own 40.
Kick missed. Saints 9-6 up.
It’s given – Saints 9 Warrington 6
Jack Hughes over for Warrington – we’re heading upstairs to check but he’s slid over and it will be given.
Danny lands Saints a 9-2 lead.
Dougie! Makes it 7-2 to Saints.
Saints are in! Danny’s kick sits up nicely, Warrington knock on and Douglas pounces on the bouncing ball! We’re heading upstairs.
Great start for Saints – Warrington can’t get hold of the ball and it goes dead. Warrington have to drop out.
Saints will get this second half underway – they lead 3-2.
Richardson makes no mistake from in front – Saints lead 3-2.
Warrington fumble the ball on the last and then miss a drop goal attempt from under the sticks. Can’t take your eyes off this one.
Tight game continues – Saint ball around half way – chip over the top comes in that Warrington collect – but Saints give a penalty away.
Warrington error – Saints ball 40 out.
Makinson tears off down the field – Richardson on his right but he doesn’t use him. Roby’s kick then forces an error and Saints have a repeat set.
Goodwin gets a telling off. Saints penalty.
Goodwin hits Makinson high as he clears his lines.
Saints on the attack – kick to the corner tip it back but Ratchford scoots up the field. Grace then produces a monster hit to stop an attack on the right.
Defence comes up big for Saints once again. Roby and LMS now on the field for the home side.
Ryan Morgan knocks a grubber out for a drop out. Warrington piling on the pressure.
Repeat set for Warrington as Saints make an error on a high kick. Wolves knocking at the door.
Big kick from Richardson into the corner – but Ryan Morgan is penalised for tackling in the air.
Danny makes it 2-2
Lomax goes close – warrington then give a penalty away and Richardson will take the two.
Both sides exchange penalties – Saints now on Warrington’s 40.
Warrington lead 2-0.
Chris Hill offloads the ball in the tackle – but Saints are pinged for ripping the ball out. Warrington will take the two.
Peyroux goes for the offload and Warrington take hold of it. Saints then give a penalty away.
Penalty for Saints as Wire are caught offside.
Saints complete a set and now Warrington are coming out of their 30.
Saints hold on.
Another mistake from Saints – Warrington have the ball 30 out.
Great D from Saints keeps Warrington out – Saints have to come off their line.
Mistake from Saints as the ball heads to Lomax instead of Richardson on the last – Warrington on the attack.
Warrington will get us underway! Cracking atmosphere here!