NOT for the first time in his career, Marc Sneyd’s left boot proved the difference last night as he nudged Hull FC ever closer to the Super League semi-finals.
The prolific scrum-half, who became the first player to retain the Lance Todd Trophy outright with his man-of-the-match performance at Wembley last month, slotted a 74th minute drop goal to edge his side up to third.
However, things are never that simple in this fascinating and dramatic Super 8s campaign.
Wakefield, needing a win to realistically keep their own top-four hopes alive, won the short restart and saw Mason Caton-Brown dive in at the corner, Liam Finn calmly slotting from wide out to leave the West Yorkshire club trailing just 19-18.
Finn, the Ireland captain who was immense again last night, then lined up a 40m drop goal only to see it dramatically charged down by the tireless 35-year-old Mark Minichiello.
Still, the ball rebounded back to Trinity who set up for another shot, Finn this time from 15m out.
However, with just 18 seconds remaining, the scrum-half pulled his effort agonisingly wide. It was so close that referee Phil Bentham needed video official Ben Thaler to check and re-check the footage.
Crestfallen Wakefield - who led 10-0 early on and 12-6 at the break - must now hope derby rivals Castleford Tigers do them a favour by winning at Wigan on Sunday. Trinity might then still have a chance of qualification when playing Wigan themselves in their final Super 8s game on Saturday week but, realistically, their hopes are gone.
For Hull they finish at Castleford next Friday knowing they are almost secure.
Fittingly, Gareth Ellis, their talismanic captain who retires at the end of the season and started out at Wakefield, powered over in the 70th minute of his final home game to put Hull in front for the first time.
Sneyd, who had missed a penalty a few minutes earlier, converted for 18-12 as Hull moved towards a seventh successive win over Trinity but defeat was harsh on the visitors.
Hull made a late change when Sika Manu pulled out ill so ex-Wakefield second-row Danny Washbrook came in to start.
Ellis and Steve Michaels were back from suspension making their final home appearances for the club while Trinity were without former Hull centre Reece Lyne so Caton-Brown earned a recall and livewire hooker Kyle Wood was back on the bench, too.
Wakefield were more purposeful and sharper in most areas during the first period, their added alacrity around the field causing Hull problems.
Behind Finn’s promptings, Matty Ashurst, Anthony England and Tinirau Arona brought all their customary muscle up front.
Joe Arundel, their former Hull centre, came close early on as they dared to run on the last tackle. Although he was deterred then, he was not soon after when Ben Jones-Bishop palmed down Finn’s pinpoint crossfield kick for the 26-year-old to dive over.
Finn could not improve from wide out but given Hull were so fragile with ball in hand – both Albert Kelly and Mahe Fonua sloppily spilled when trying to play it – they were encouraged in again and it was no surprise when they extended their lead.
After Jones-Bishop had cleared his lines with a wonderful 50m run, Finn was the instigator once more, his clever grubber between the posts catching Hull dozing.
Jacob Miller, though, was not; the Australian stand-off demonstrated speed and agility to touch down before the ball went dead.
Finn improved the 21st-minute effort but Lee Radford’s side grabbed a lifeline when Fonua rose above Caton-Brown to claim Sneyd’s hanging kick six minutes later, the in-form winger recording his 15th try of the year in his last home game before joining NRL Wests Tigers
Sneyd converted but hopes of a sustained recovery suffered a setback when his pass to Kelly was fumbled again by the out-of-sorts Australian.
There was a perfect illustration of Wakefield’s general control when, in the same set, the usually dominant Ellis was swatted aside by David Fifita and then Ashurst barged away the struggling Kelly.
Hull had to scramble desperately when Fifita charged through from 20m but Jamie Shaul and Fonua prevented him grounding.
Nevertheless, centre Bill Tupou surged through some feeble defence for Miller to advance.
Shaul hauled him in but had a second grab after the tackle resulting in a yellow card for the full-back and two points for Finn.
Crucially, though, that was the only success the visitors enjoyed while Hull were down to 12-man.
Arundel scampered away early in the second period but there was no finish and, moments after Shaul had returned, Sneyd bumped off Finn before beating Scott Grix and Caton-Brown to race over from 30m, converting his own score to level.
Washbrook thought he had given his side the lead when hitting Kelly’s short pass to dive over in the 57th minute, but it was ruled out by the video referee for obstruction. They would not be denied at the death.
Hull FC: Shaul; Fonua, Griffin, Tuimavave, Michaels; Kelly, Sneyd; Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Minichiello, Washbrook, Ellis. Substitutes: Connor, Thompson, Bowden, Fash.
Wakefield Trinity: Grix; Jones-Bishop, Arundel, Tupou, Caton-Brown; Miller, Finn; England, Randell, Huby, Ashurst, Kirmond, Arona. Substitutes: Wood, Fifita, Annakin, Hasson.
Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).