DEBUTANT Jake Connor rescued a win for desperate Hull FC as they edged past Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in their opening Super League game on a grim afternoon at Belle Vue.
The utility-back, signed from Huddersfield Giants, came off the bench to cross in the 68th minute after Ben Jones-Bishop had spilled Marc Sneyd’s crossfield kick.
Earlier, Connor’s former Huddersfield team-mate Scott Grix had thought he had done enough to win it for Trinity on his own bow.
The Ireland full-back, who has headed back to Wakefield for a second spell, grubbered over in the 44th minute for Sam Williams to give Chris Chester’s side a slender 8-6 advantage in filthy conditions.
Played mainly in pouring rain, the dogged, dour contest proved a real battle of wills with mistakes, understandably, aplenty.
Defeat was tough on Wakefield, though, whose pack produced a commendable effort given they lost prop Anthony England inside just two minutes following a concussion.
Indeed, they also had a glorious chance to snatch victory with just 30 seconds remaining but Fetuli Talanoa crucially raced back to clear dead a loose ball behind the Hull line just as Liam Finn closed in.
Wakefield coach Chris Chester handed debuts to four new signings with half-back Sam Williams, prop Craig Huby and Grix all starting, Kyle Wood entering from the bench.
Hull counterpart Lee Radford, meanwhile, saw Josh Griffin and Albert Kelly feature as well as Connor.
Challenge Cup holders Hull held a narrow 6-2 interval advantage having opted to go for two point wherever possible right from the off.
Sneyd slotted his first penalty from close in after just seven minutes.
It was clear his side were expecting a slog in the wretched conditions and, to prove the point, the half-back added his second on 16 minutes when ordinarily FC would have tested Trinity’s defence instead.
Scoring opportunities with ball in hand were few and far between.
Jamie Shaul did provide a fine pass to give debutant Josh Griffin some space but after the former Salford centre, who started his career at Belle Vue, found Talanoa, Trinity full-back comfortably got across to snuff out the threat.
The hosts had been limited to an earlier effort from Jacob Miller, the sprightly Australian who almost latched onto half-back partner Sam Williams’ inviting grubber between the posts.
They continued to harm themselves, though, with too much spilled ball and ill-discipline, gifting Sneyd his third penalty in the 21st minute.
Admittedly, Finn’s fired re-start did find touch to earn Chester’s side a 10m scrum and, from there, they earned a penalty for Williams to convert.
However, when Hull full-back Shaul dropped a towering kick near his own line, the hosts failed to capitalise by coughing up possession themselves again.
Johnstone heaped pressure on his side by traversing across field and passing into touch when trying to find Reece Lyne although, to their credit, his side defended the subsequent set well, Jones-Bishop forcing Talanoa into touch.
Grix’s converted try put Wakefield ahead and Hull looked devoid of ideas.
Sneyd tried to get his side on the front foot with a much-needed 40/20 but again there was no finish, sloppy handling once more costing them dear.
They managed to force three goalline drop-outs during the course of the 80 minutes but, frustratingly, not once were they able to convert any of them into points.
However, after Kelly had one effort ruled out and with Danny Washbrook making his 250th Super League appearance against his former club, they finally clawed their way home when Jones-Bishop crucially erred, Sneyd improving Connor’s score.
Wakefield Trinity: Grix; Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone; Miller, Williams, England, Finn, Huby, Ashurst, Kirmond, Sio. Substitutes: Wood, Arona, Fifita, Walker.
Hull: Shaul; Fonua, Tuimavave, Griffin, Talanoa; Kelly, Sneyd; Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Manu, Minichiello, Ellis. Substitutes: Connor, Green, Thompson, Washbrook.
Referee: Chris Campbell (Widnes).