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Huddersfield Giants 16-17 St Helens

6th of April 2014
Huddersfield Giants 16-17 St Helens

Official Match Report

Ferres sin saves Saints

St Helens are through to the last 16 of the Tetley's Challenge Cup after snatching a controversial 17-16 victory from a pulsating fourth-round tie at the John Smith's Stadium.

The Super League leaders were heading for their first defeat of the season when Huddersfield led 16-8 after 65 minutes but the dismissal of England forward Brett Ferres for a 'spear' tackle turned the game.

Winger Tom Makinson scored his second try a minute later and that set the scene for Australian scrum-half Luke Walsh to steal the show in a frantic finish.

Walsh added a touchline conversion to cut the gap to two points, levelled the scores with a 75th-minute penalty and then slotted over a drop goal with just 60 seconds left on the clock.

But Huddersfield, who had fought back magnificently from being 8-0 down after 13 minutes, missed a glorious chance to win it through the boot of skipper Danny Brough.

Before Walsh's decisive last-gasp score, Brough had three drop-goal attempts charged down before getting a clear shot at the target, only for referee Phil Bentham to rule it was wide of the mark, much to the anger of the Giants stand-off who clearly felt it should have been allowed.

Their agonising defeat leaves Huddersfield still looking for their first home win of 2014 while Saints are on course to lift their first major silverware since 2008, when they completed a hat-trick of Wembley triumphs.

It began badly for the Yorkshiremen, with Brough putting the ball out on the full from the kick-off, and they quickly found themselves behind as Saints made a whirlwind start.

Stand-off Lance Hohaia made the first try, slipping through a chink in the Huddersfield defence, to get left winger Adam Swift over at the corner.

Walsh, back in the side after a month's injury absence, was wide with the conversion attempt but his 40-20 kick set up the position for the visitors to add a second try in spectacular fashion.

Right winger Makinson's deft kick found Hohaia and he was on hand to finish off the slick move after James Roby and Willie Manu had kept it going.

Walsh was off target for the second time with the conversion attempt and Brough's 40-20 kick gave his side the perfect platform to launch their fightback.

Prop Craig Kopczak lost the ball just short of the line but hooker Shaun Lunt was given the benefit of the doubt by the video referee on 26 minutes after he forced his way over from dummy half.

That followed a break by impressive right centre Aaron Murphy but the Giants' biggest threat came out on the left, where the handling of Ferres caused Saints all sorts of problems.

The momentum was clearly with the Yorkshiremen at that stage and they drew level three minutes before the break when centre Joe Wardle outjumped Turner to gather Luke Robinson's crossfield kick for a second try.

Brough's first goal edged his side into the lead and they looked well capable of extending it as they dominated the opening exchanges in the second half.

The Saints defence remained strong, however, and they almost scored a breakaway try when Huddersfield full-back Scott Grix allowed Walsh's towering kick to bounce and Manu pounced only to be ruled offside.

The Giants were visibly growing in confidence and they struck again on 57 minutes when Grix sliced through St Helens' defence to get Lunt over for his second try, moments after returning to the field.

Brough's second goal put two scores between the sides but a string of penalties enabled St Helens to get on a roll and put Huddersfield's defence under intense pressure.

The home side were reduced to 12 men for the last 15 minutes when Ferres was shown a red card for his dangerous tackle on Lomax and Saints immediately took advantage, with Makinson taking Turner's pass to finish clinically at the corner for his second try.

Walsh's touchline conversion cut the gap to just two points and set up a nerve-jangling finale.

When Huddersfield were pulled up for interference on their own line six minutes from the end, Walsh levelled the scores with a penalty before having the final say with his drop goal.

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