Hull FC registered a crucial victory, 20-28, against St Helens at Langtree Park today to revive their hopes of making the top eight at the end of 23 rounds of Super League matches.
In a game that was nip and tuck all the way, played in front of 11,088 spectators, the Airlie Birds could thank their fullback Jamie Shaul for a brilliant late try when the teams were tied at 20-20.
With just four minutes remaining Shaul broke from deep in his own half and brilliantly beat his St Helens opposite number Tommy Makinson to touch down under the posts.
Jordan Rankin added the goal, and then kicked a last minute penalty when St Helens were penalised under their own posts for lying offside.
The result means that St Helens stay in second place on 12 points, but they are now four points behind leaders Leeds, while Hull stay in eleventh place on six points, but they are now only two points outside the top eight.
Hull began the game confidently, taking a lead through a Shaul try after just four minutes, with Rankin converting.
Saints hit back with two tries in four minutes, however, from Makinson and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, with Makinson adding both conversions.
Hull fought back, however, and again Shaul was prominent in delivering a fine pass to youngster Curtis Naughton, who scored too wide out for Rankin to convert.
And Hull took the lead on 48 minutes when Leon Pryce scored against his old club, after fine play from Danny Houghton and Joe Westerman, with Rankin again converting.
The lead changed hands again five minutes later, when Jordan Turner forced his way over near the posts for St Helens, and Makinson again converted.
Unlike in some recent encounters, Hull didn’t buckle under pressure today, and they continued to pressure the Saints line. And they led again when Fetuli Talanoa went over 13 minutes from the end, although Rankin again couldn’t convert.
Saints were then awarded a penalty 30 metres out, and Makinson kicked it to level the scores, before Shaul’s decisive contribution finally swung an intriguing battle in Hull’s favour.