Tetley's Challenge Cup: Luke Walsh settles see-saw tie in St Helens' favour
Last Updated: 06/04/14 6:11pm
St Helens saw off 12-man Huddersfield 17-16 in a Tetley's Challenge Cup thriller thanks to Luke Walsh's late drop goal at the John Smith's Stadium.
The Giants led 16-8 with 14 minutes to play when Brett Ferres was given his marching orders for lifting Jonny Lomax in the tackle and then spearing him into the turf.
Saints responded immediately with a second try from winger Tommy Makinson, then levelled matters when Walsh slotted over a penalty after 75 minutes.
Huddersfield believed they had re-taken the lead with a Danny Brough drop goal, only for referee Phil Bentham to decide the kick had actually gone wide. There was no doubting Walsh's effort soon after, sending Saints through.
Their reward is an away trip to Leeds in the next round; they will just be happy to still be in the competition having had to dig deep to make it eight wins from eight this year.
They dominated proceedings early on, catching the sleeping Giants cold with two well-taken tries to take a deserved 8-0 lead.
Adam Swift got the first on the left from Lance Hohaia's looping offload, then fellow winger Makinson finished off a fantastic move on the opposite side of the field that he had started himself with a clever kick back inside.
Walsh was unable to add either conversion, at least meaning Huddersfield's deficit remained in single figures after a one-sided opening quarter.
The hosts, though, slowly warmed to their task on a sunny Sunday afternoon and by the break had turned things around to be 10-8 ahead.
Craig Kopczak had already lost the ball reaching out for the line before the Giants registered their first points through Shaun Lunt, the hooker being given the benefit of the doubt by the video official after making a dart from dummy half.
Brough missed his first shot at the posts but was on target with his next, converting a try from Joe Wardle that had seen the returning centre win an aerial duel with Jordan Turner to claim Luke Robinson's cross-field kick.
They moved two scores clear just before the hour mark when Scott Grix cut off his right foot to create an easy run-in for Lunt, the extras making it 16-8.
Yet the turning point in the contest came with the dismissal of Ferres, with Saints wasting little time in making the most of the extra man to spring Makinson for another of his now trademark diving finishes in the corner.
A somewhat dubious penalty levelled matters at 16 apiece but Huddersfield thought they had edged their noses back in front when Brough, at the fourth attempt after a trio of blocked efforts, kicked a one-pointer.
The half-back turned away expecting to be awarded the score, only for Bentham to rule otherwise. With Huddersfield still smarting at the decision, St Helens went down the other end and won it thanks to Walsh's right foot.