Hull FC made it 4 wins on the bounce after a Marc Sneyd drop-goal decided a thriller against St Helens. The Black & Whites impressive form at Langtree Park continued as they came out on top 17-16 winners.
After two close victories over the Easter period, Hull continued the trend in front of a well-travelled Black & White army. Tries from Danny Houghton, Kirk Yeaman and Curtis Naughton see Hull FC move up into 4th place.
Lee Radford’s side went into the game boosted by the return of 4 key forwards in Mark Minichiello, Frank Pritchard, Sika Manu & Jordan Thompson. Mahe Fonua also returned after being rested for Easter Monday’s victory over Warrington.
It wasn’t a perfect start for the victory as Joe Greenwood crossed for Saints just 4 minutes in. Hull dealt with the early pressure well, but a grubber into the in-goal wasn’t delath with by the Hull defenders allowing Greenwood to pounce giving St Helens an early lead.
In a nip & tuck first 20 minutes, Hull’s goal line defence, which was outstanding all evening, kept the home side at bay several times. Hull were rewarded for their efforts, as their first real opportunity in the Saints half earned them their first score of the match. A Marc Sneyd’s grubber ricocheted off the goal post allowing Danny Houghton to pounce and put Hull on the scoreboard. Snyed converted from in front of the sticks levelling the game.
However, Saints again got the better of Hull with a last tackle play just 6 minutes later. A spiralling Crossfield kick by Luke Walsh was patted down by Jordan Tuner, with the ball eventually finding Dawson who strolled in to restore Kieron Cunningham’s side’s lead.
The Black & Whites were still in the game 10 minutes before half-time, however they were dealt a cruel blow 5 minutes before the break as ex-Hull centre Jordan Turner extended St Helens’ lead with a clinical finish in the corner in front of the travelling Hull fans. At 16-6, the game appeared to be slipping from Hull despite their respectful effort in the first 40.
But, Curtis Naughton scored a crucial try right before the break continuing his impressive try scoring form at Langtree Park. A composed Snyed worked his magic in the middle sending the ball wide, with the young winger showing great skill to stay in the field of play and touch down in the corner.
Jack Owen’s missed a seemingly simple penalty kick right on the half-time hooter, meaning Saints lead was down to just 6 after 40 minutes. Despite being behind, Hull had given a strong performance, and just needed to step up to the next level to get to the win; something that in recent weeks has seemed remarkably easy.
It was clear in the opening minutes of the second stanza that the home side were beginning to tire, whereas Hull continued to ramp up the pressure straight from the off. Some extremely questionable refereeing from James Child restricted Hull’s ability to close the gap in the score line.
However, with 20 minutes to play, Hull would get back on level terms. A break that involved some silky play from both Curtis Naughton who managed to break down field was finished by cult hero Kirk Yeaman in front on the vocal Hull fans. Sneyd continued a stellar performance with a composed conversion bring the scores level once again.
Hull were in the ascendancy now dominating Saints with the sheer power of the forward pack. Gareth Ellis once again proved age is certainly just a number with one of his most impressive performance for the club, closing down any opportunity that arose for St Helens.
For all of Hull’s defensive wonders, that crucial score to take them into the lead seemed to be a bridge to far. Especially when Marc Sneyd bottled a chance to win the game 10 minutes from time. A break through the Saints defensive line was followed by a creative chip over a flailing Shannon McDonnell. The half-back looked destined to score under the posts but an awkward bounce saw him knock on what seemed to be certain try.
But then it was St Helen’s chance to miss a gift of a match winning opportunity. Theo Fages was perfectly poised to slot over a drop goal 15m out with 7 minutes to play, but sliced the attempt wide to the relief of the Hull fans, and the dismay of the home crowd.
The Black & White army would have most certainly settled for a draw at this point. But magic Marc Sneyd had other ideas. With 4 minutes on the clock, a drop goal attempt from 40 metres out out seemed ridiculous for even the ex-Castleford and Salford half. But with some absolutely remarkable composure, the ball found its way over the crossbar with less than a foot to spare.
FC were in the lead with 4 minutes to play. Again, just as they did against Hull KR and Warrington, they showed what they should have done against Castleford and Wigan and closed the game out without giving the home side a look in of Hull’s half of the pitch.
Another classy win for the Black & Whites, who continue their brilliant form into April. Hull FC 17-16 St Helens.
Great win for the boys, we no how to win a close one now, some left foot from sneydy!
— Adam Pearson (@adampearsonhfc) 1 April 2016
As if we didn’t already know it, last night proved that age really is just a number, as captain fantastic Gareth Ellis had one of his most impressive performances in a Black & White shirt to date. His tackle rate was outstanding putting in big hit after big hit all evening. With the help of Scott Taylor and Liam Watts, Hull’s forward pack looked absolutely frightening once again.
— Frank Pritchard (@PritchardFrank) 1 April 2016
Credit again must also go to Hull’s youngsters that were in the squad. Curtis Naughton continued to impress; his speed and dangerous step baffled the Saints defence on numerous occasions. Dean Hadley was also solid; the young second-rower goes along quietly at the club but nobody ever has a bad word to say about him.
Proud To Be Apart Of The ⚫️&⚪️ Brothers Getting The Win Tonite! #COYH
— Mahe Fonua (@Fonua_Mahe) 1 April 2016
However, the plaudits must go to Marc Sneyd. The half’s kicking game and creativity in the middle was sensational. That’s not to mention the 40 metre drop goal. The guy has his critics, but these last 3 weeks he has stood up to show the player he really is.
What a game 😁😁 FANS WERE EPIC TONIGHT got me through the game loved it ⚫️⚪️⚫️⚪️
— Curt Naughton (@noggers1) 1 April 2016
Hull have turned a corner. The last 3 games have been won by no more than 2 points, something that in past years and even as recent as Round 4 seemed impossible for Hull, going down to close loses against Castleford and Wigan. Hull host Huddersfield next Friday and will most certainly be looking to make it 5 wins on the bounce and keep the pressure on the leaders at the top.
— Marc Sneyd (@sneyd23) 1 April 2016
Goodnight Faithful! ⚫⚪ pic.twitter.com/TGU23wjVX8
— Hull FC News (@HFC_NEWS) 1 April 2016