With Toulouse Olympique XIII going down in a close game with the Salford Red Devils on Saturday, Willie Poching´s Wakefield Trinity side had the ideal opportunity to lift themselves off the bottom of the table. The only snag was that they had to get a win against the most dominant side in Super League, defending Champions and Champions elect St Helens. It was top against bottom.
Optimism was in short supply amongst the Wakefield supporters, and the bookies agreed as they gave the home side a fourteen-point start on the coupon, all expectations were that Trinity´s position at the bottom would continue and they would see a worsening of their points difference.
The sides took the field in miserable conditions as the rain fell.
It was a good start from Trinity, Liam Hood being held up over the line on seven minutes but on twelve minutes Jorge Taufua found space down the wing after taking a great pass from Mason Lino. Lino hit the post with his conversion attempt, but Trinity had a deserved lead.
Trinity were awarded a penalty after Saints were ruled offside by referee Thaler, Lino taking the opportunity to slot the ball between the uprights for 6-0 on twenty-four.
Jack Croft picked up a bizarre try on twenty-seven when Jack Welsby flicked a Lino kick back into the field and the Wakefield centre was on hand to pick up the ball and go in for the try. Lino hit the post again, Trinity 10-0 ahead.
Willie Poching will have been delighted with his sides opening forty minutes, Kristian Woolf would not, as his side put in an uncharacteristic error-strewn performance against a determined home side.
On forty-seven minutes Trinity extended their lead thanks to a penalty goal from the boot of Lino but on fifty-eight Saints finally opened their account when Regan Grace scored in the corner, Jonny Lomax adding the conversion from the touchline.
Saints were in again on sixty-seven with John Bennison finding space on the overlap to go in at the corner to reduce the arrears to two points. Lomax added the conversion to level the scores. It was all change within a ten-minute spell and it was now looking ominous for Wakefield.
An awful, attempted drop goal from Lomax on seventy-eight saw the ball sail dead in goal and within thirty seconds Jacob Miller also made a hash of an attempted drop goal. The hooter heralded golden point to attempt to separate the sides.
Lino was first up with a drop goal attempt but he sliced the ball wide giving Saints a seven tackle set and as Saints moved the ball downfield Welsby slotted over the crucial drop goal to break Trinity hearts and win the game for the Champions.
Saints were never in front until the golden point drop goal after a determined effort from the home side. Wakefield were left at the bottom of the pile as another round of Super League slipped by, Saints lucky to escape with the points as they continue their march at the top.
Wakefield Trinity: Shaul, Murphy, Gaskell, Croft (T), Taufua (T), Miller, Lino (2G), Whitbread, Hood, Arona, Ashurst, Tanginoa, Batchelor. Subs: Fifita, Crowther, Battye, Bowden.
St Helens: Welsby (DG), Bennison (T), Hurrell, Davies, Grace (T), Lomax (2G), Roby, Walmsley, Lussick, Lees, Sironen, Batchelor, Wingfield. Subs: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Bell, Paasi, Norman.
Full-Time: 12-12. Golden Point: 12-13.
Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 10-0 : HT : 12-0, 12-4, 12-6, 12-10, 12-12: FT : 12-13 : Golden Point.
Lead Exchanges: Wakefield – Square – St Helens.
Referee: Ben Thaler.