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Page last updated at 21:51 GMT, Friday, 25 March 2011

St Helens 28-16 Bradford Bulls

St Helens (16) 28
Tries: Foster 2, Wellens 2, Flannery Goals: Foster 3
Bradford (6) 16
Tries: Ainscough 2 Ah Van Goals: Ah Van 2

St Helens v Bradford

St Helens won for the first time at their temporary new home as they saw off ex-coach Mick Potter's Bradford.

Paul Wellens and Jamie Foster each bagged a brace of tries, while Chris Flannery was also on the scoresheet.

But most of the damage was done by Jonny Lomax, who followed up a dazzling display in last week's 30-16 win at Leeds with another fine performance.

After home defeats to St Helens and Harlequins, that made it third time lucky for Saints at the Halton Stadium.

Saints welcomed back Sol Soliola and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook but Paul Clough, injured at Headingley, was missing along with Jon Wilkin and the suspended Scott Moore.

And there was no Super League return either for Kyle Eastmond, whose club suspension was lifted earlier in the day despite being found guilty of serious misconduct.

However, Eastmond was given a run-out in the Under-20s contest before the Super League clash and was among the try scorers in a 36-14 victory.

With Eastmond and Leon Pryce still absent, Saints boss Royce Simmons persisted with Lomax and Lee Gaskell at half-back.

Bradford, still without Gareth Raynor, Ian Sibbit and Dave Halley, were buoyant after wrecking Castleford's 100% start last Sunday.

And they could not have made a better start when Shaun Ainscough - who was on loan at Widnes last season - marked his return to Naughton Park by reaching Marc Herbert's kick first to run in his fourth try in five games.

Patrick Ah Van booted the touchline conversion to put his side 6-0 up after just three minutes.

But Saints hit back with their first try 12 minutes later, although they enjoyed an element of luck as Wellens' poor pass bounced kindly for Foster to squeeze over in the corner.

Saints went in front midway through the first half when Wellens used his strength to crash through a clutch of defenders after taking a Lomax pass.

The Bulls would have levelled if Ainscough had been able to take a difficult long pass from Matt Diskin.

But Bradford then had Paul Sykes sin-binned by referee Richard Silverwood for holding down after 35 minutes and Saints took advantage from back-to-back penalties for Wellens to charge onto Lomax's pass for his second try.

Foster's conversion extended the lead to 16-6 at the break and the Bulls were still down to 12 men when Lomax and James Roby combined for Foster to go over in the corner.

Action man Lomax again provided the final pass for Flannery to give Bradford an almost impossible task at 26-6.

But smart handling sent Ah Van in at the corner after 63 minutes before Soliola was yellow carded. And Saints were down to 11 men, Michael Shenton also getting sin-binned, when Ainscough added his second try three minutes from time.

St Helens assistant coach Keiron Purtill:
"Jonny Lomax and Lee Gaskell are going very well together. They are gaining a lot of experience and hopefully that will stand them in good stead.

"If the two kids keep playing like that they are going to be hard to shift.

"Paul Wellens is like vintage wine and gets better with age. "Our senior guys are setting the right example for the younger players.

Bradford coach Mick Potter:
"Saints were too good on the night. They executed the plays very well and exploited the gaps.

"James Roby was fantastic, Saints had a mountain of possession and their kicking game was very good.

"Our guys applied themselves. But we need to be better ourselves in that department."

St Helens: Wellens; Gardner, Shenton, Meli, Foster; Gaskell, Lomax; Graham, Roby, Perry, Flannery, Soliola, Puletua.
Replacements: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Wheeler, Ashurst, Magennis.

Bradford: Sykes; Ainscough, Platt, Royston, Ah Van; Kearney, Herbert; Lynch, Diskin, Hargreaves, Elima, Whitehead, Langley.
Replacements: Scruton, L'Estrange, Kopczak, Olbison.

Attendance: 7,676

Referee: Richard Silverwood (Dewsbury).

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see also
Leeds 16-30 St Helens
18 Mar 11 |  Rugby League
Bradford 18-14 Castleford
20 Mar 11 |  Rugby League
St Helens 30-34 Bradford
24 Apr 09 |  Rugby League

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