Saints are too strong for Hull as they go clear

England winger Tom Makinson scored a try in each half as St Helens bounced back from the disappointment of their Challenge Cup exit by grinding out a 24-10 win over Hull FC to open up a two-point gap at the top of Betfred Super League.

Hull coach Brett Hodgson sprung a surprise by leaving out skipper Luke Gale despite him completing a two-match ban.

Instead Josh Reynolds was recalled from injury to partner Joe Lovodua in the halves and back rower Jordan Lane led the team.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Hull suffered a blow after just three minutes when prop forward Brad Fash knocked himself out attempting to stop Matty Lees in full flight and had to be helped from the field.

St Helens' Jack Welsby (right) is tackled by Hull FC's Jack Brown. Picture: PA.

They fell behind three minutes later when Saints skipper James Roby went down the short side with a tapped penalty and combined with centre Konrad Hurrell to get Makinson over for his first try, which brought up his 1,000th point for the club.

Hull prop Ligi Sao reached the line only to lose his grip on the ball and Hull ought to have cashed in on centre Connor Wynne’s clean break but Saints utility man Jack Welsby managed to get his hands on the final pass.

The pressure finally told after 29 minutes when right winger Darnell McIntosh outpaced Mark Percival to touch down full-back Jake Connor’s well-placed kick for an equalising try.

It stayed at 4-4 until seconds before half-time when Jack Welsby twisted out of a two-man tackle to score their second try, to which Makinson added the goal.

Hull might have been level again a minute into the second half when Lomax allowed the ball to bounce from Connor’s high kick but made amends by preventing Reynolds from grounding the ball. Wynne was also held up over the line as after Bell was sin-binned (44) for a dangerous tackle on Carlos Tuimavave.

Saints not only held firm while a man down but extended their lead with a penalty from Makinson and they made sure of the win after 58 minutes when Lomax got Hurrell charging into a gap and was on hand to take the return pass for Saints’ third try, which Makinson goaled.

Makinson then scored his second try but Hull had the final say when McIntosh went over for his second and Connor added the conversion.

St Helens: Welsby, Makinson, Hurrell, Mata’utia, Percival, Davies, Lomax, Walmsley, Roby, Lees, Sironen, Batchelor, Knowles. Substitutes: Lussick, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Pa’asi, Bell.

Hull: Connor, Shaul, Wynne, Tuimavave, McIntosh, Reynolds, Lovodua, Sao, Houghton, Taylor, Lane, Ma’u, Fash. Substitutes: Brown, Griffin, Johnstone, Satae.

Referee: Jack Smith (RFL)