MARC SNEYD was at it again as, alongside the brilliant Albert Kelly, he came up with the crucial plays to ensure Lee Radford enjoyed a hard-earned victory from his 100th game in charge of Hull FC.
Eight days after scoring a hat-trick to help vanquish Huddersfield Giants, scrum-half Sneyd’s creative skills were called upon here as the Airlie Birds edged a far closer contest with beleaguered St Helens.
Indeed, it looked at one point last night they had thrown away their chance of success when Jansin Turgut, the young back-row drafted in for his first game of the campaign, was yellow-carded for a needless elbow into the face of Alex Walmsley as the Saints player was prone on the ground.
Mark Percival duly slotted the penalty to level at 10-10 just before the hour mark and soon the England centre was cruising in for a try that put his out-of-sorts side 14-10 ahead.
The excellent Carlos Tuimavave was needed to deny Percival a second try as 12-man Hull looked to stay in the contest and it proved crucial as, while still without Turgut, they somehow responded with the vital score of their own.
Sneyd’s well-placed grubber forced a drop-out and, from there, he looped around his half-back partner Kelly before sending Tuimavave through untouched in the 68th minute.
Eight days after scoring a hat-trick to help vanquish Huddersfield Giants, scrum-half Sneyd’s creative skills were called upon here as the Airlie Birds edged a far closer contest with beleaguered St HelensYP rugby league writer, Dave Craven
The Kiwi was ‘untouched’, mind, only before Walmsley dangerously flopped into him late after scoring, prompting a melee as the player was left needing treatment.
It meant there was the unusual sight of a penalty kick in front of the posts as well as Sneyd’s conversion
Spirited Hull still had work to do to secure their third win from four games.
Saints, whose coach Keiron Cunningham is under immense pressure now after three successive defeats, pushed hard again to try and rally, Percival thinking he was in sight of the line once more only for Tuimavave to again come to the rescue in the last minute.
Fittingly, there was still time for Hull to round things off as Scott Taylor, colossal up front for them, strode through some tired defence and Kelly arrived to jubilantly dive in for his second try with just six seconds left on the clock.
They had trailed 8-6 at the break but only because they opted not to take a simple penalty kick in front of the posts and, soon after, Saints did.
When the hosts showed confidence to test out their opponents’ defence, the set ended with no prize.
Initially, it happened quite often; Sneyd forced a drop-out with no return, Kelly half escaped the onrushing Percival only to pass into touch and, when a ricocheted kick came back at them, Sika Manu did not realise Phil Bentham had restarted the tackle count and so hacked on again.
It was all very frustrating; Kelly, in fairness, teased and threatened regularly, quite easily looking the most dangerous player on the field while Taylor provided the muscle down the middle but all to little avail.
That pair combined for their solitary try that opened the scoring in the 13th minute, the England prop squeezing out an offload near the Saints line for Kelly to eventually surge through Percival and stretch over.
Sneyd converted but the game was levelled with a bizarre effort after 24 minutes.
Saints half-back Theo Fages was harried into a hurried hanging kick that saw Taylor, running back towards his own line, collect but then spill.
The danger should still have comfortably been negated but, for some unknown reason, Tuimavave hacked at the loose ball under his own posts instead of diving on it.
It somehow went straight into the grasp of Dominique Peyroux who scored arguably the easiest try of his career.
Percival converted and added a penalty while Hull, with Danny Houghton making his 250th Super League appearance, had to reshuffle at half-time when they lost winger Fetuli Talanoa to an injury.
It was no surprise, then, when they did this time take the option of two points when Kyle Amor rushed out of the defensive line and caught Turgut high just five minutes into the second period.
Peyroux blatantly checked Sneyd, though, as he chased down his own grubber in the 51st minute, gifting him his 500th point for the club and the lead once more.
Much more was to follow, though, as Turgut – in after Radford left out utility-back Jake Connor for the first time this season – had his moment of madness. Thankfully for him, former Castleford Tigers star Sneyd and Kelly, their new hero from the other side of the river, worked their tricks.
Hull FC: Shaul; Fonua, Tuimavave, Griffin, Talanoa; Kelly, Sneyd; Taylor, Houghton, Bowden, Manu, Minichiello, Thompson. Substitutes: Green, Washbrook, Turgut, Matongo.
St Helens: Makinson; Owens, Morgan, Percival, Swift; Fages, Wilkin; Walmsley, Roby, Douglas, Taia, Peyroux, Knowles. Substitutes: Amor, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Walker, Lee.
Referee: P Bentham (Warrington).