Wakefield Trinity 12 St Helens 13 - It’s golden point agony for struggling Trinity against leaders Saints

Jack Welsby drop-kicked a golden point goal to give St Helens a dramatic 13-12 comeback victory in their top versus bottom Betfred Super League clash against Wakefield at Belle Vue.

Golden moment: St Helens players celebrate Jack Welsby's golden point drop goal. Pictures: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire.
Golden moment: St Helens players celebrate Jack Welsby's golden point drop goal. Pictures: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire.

Saints, who now lead second-placed Wigan by six points, trailed 12-0 after 55 minutes.

Tries by wingers Regan Grace and Jon Bennison, plus two Jonny Lomax conversions, brought the visitors level.

Both sides wasted chances to snatch victory in normal time and Jacob Miller fluffed his lines in extra time before Welsby struck after Lomax slipped lining up his own shot.

Advantage Wakefield: Trinity's Jack Croft celebrates scoring his side's second try against Saints. Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire.

A fifth successive defeat was hard to swallow for the home side who remain bottom on points difference from Toulouse.

Wakefield, handing a debut to on-loan Hull FC full-back, Jamie Shaul, started brightly in the wet conditions and Kelepi Tanginoa was held up as he dived for the line.

But Saints’ reprieve was a brief one and Jorge Taufua gave the home side a deserved 11th-minute lead from Mason Lino’s exquisite pass. Lino’s conversion attempt hit the post.

The visitors looked anything but a champion side at this stage with Alex Walmsley’s uncharacteristic midfield fumble summing up their approach.

Impact: Wakefield Trinity's Mason Lino tackles St Helens' Curtis Sironen. Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire.

Saints slipped further behind when Lino kicked a 25th-minute penalty for offside.

Wakefield kept up the pressure and another blunder saw the home side extend their advantage almost immediately.

Welsby did well to deny Lino a 40-20 but succeeded only in flipping the ball towards his unguarded own line.

Centre Jack Croft was first to react, touching down for his team’s second try. Lino this time hit the other upright to the stand-off’s frustration.

Croft’s only previous Trinity try was a 2019 debut score - also against Saints - in the Challenge Cup.

Saints’ pressure failed to bring a response before the break and Trinity, as they had done at Hull KR a week earlier, led at half-time.

The interval did not bring a change of fortune for the visitors and Lino slotted a routine goal after 48 minutes to make it 12-0 after Konrad Hurrell was penalised for a push.

Finally, as Wakefield twice knocked on, Saints hit back with Grace’s flying finish after 55 minutes. Lomax, on his 300th career appearance, kicked a touchline conversion.

With 10 minutes remaining Saints scored again as slick handling in drying conditions saw teenager Bennison go over in the right corner. Lomax again goaled to tie the scores.

Lomax’s winning drop goal attempt was charged down by Tinirau Arona while Welsby scuffed a one-point attempt as did Miller for Trinity.

Welsby and Joey Lussick scuffed further one-point attempts and Miller twice made hashes of his own efforts before Welsby’s left boot sealed Saints’ 17th league win of the season.

Wakefield head coach Willie Poching described his team’s fifth successive defeat as “gut-wrenching” and added: “The dressing room is hurting.

“Saints are a quality team and we knew we had to play and defend like we did in order to get something out of the game.

“I thought we did enough but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. But I said to the lads we can be proud of a lot of things we did and I thought we took some good strides forward.

“We have got to understand we have got this in us and deliver on it. Even though Saints scored a couple of tries in the second half, I thought our defensive effort was still there.”

On Lino’s misses, Poching added: “I am not going to put it on Mason.

“We had chances to win the game and it could have been different but it’s all ifs, buts and maybes.

“However, I have never been a fan (of golden point). For the effort, a draw should be enough. But I understand people like car crash TV.”

St Helens boss Kristian Woolf praised his team’s character and said Trinity “deserved credit” for their efforts.

“Wakefield deserve credit,” said Woolf. “They showed up with a great energy and won that first half.

“It was a good lesson for us because we weren’t where we needed to be in the first half.

“We didn’t back up the energy from last week’s game.

“But there was a good sign because we showed some real character and fight in the second half that it meant something to us.”

Wakefield: Shaul, Taufua, Croft, Gaskell, Murphy, Lino, Miller, Batchelor, Tanginoa, Ashurst, Arona, Hood, Whitbread. Substitutes: Battye, Crowther, Bowden, Fifita.

St Helens: Welsby, Bennison, Hurrell, Davies, Grace, Lomax, Roby, Walmsley, Lussick, Lees, Sironen, Batchelor, Wingfield. Substitutes: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Pa’asi, Bell, Norman.

Referee: Ben Thaler (RFL)