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Page last updated at 15:38 GMT, Monday, 2 May 2011 16:38 UK

Hull FC 24-24 St Helens

Hull FC (18) 24
Tries: Yeaman 3, Briscoe
Goals:
Tickle 4
St Helens (4) 24
Tries: Foster, Roby, Gardner, Puletua
Goals:
Foster 4


Kirk Yeaman
Hull centre Yeaman has now crossed the whitewash 14 times this season

Jamie Foster kicked a late penalty to earn St Helens a draw at the KC Stadium after Hull FC threw away an 18-0 lead.

After tries for Kirk Yeaman (2) and Tom Briscoe, Jamie Foster pulled one back before second-half efforts from James Roby, Ade Gardner and Tony Puletua.

Super League's top try scorer Yeaman then looked to have won it when he completed the fifth hat-trick of his Hull FC career six minutes from time.

But, on a day when Saints could have gone top, Foster's kick earned a draw.

Bath-bound soon-to-be rugby union convert Kyle Eastmond was recalled as a result of injury-hit Saints' crisis at half-back, where they were without Jonny Lomax, Scott Moore, Lee Gaskell, Leon Pryce and Gary Wheeler.

But, despite having the England international back after missing Saints' last seven matches, the injury-hit visitors wasted their chance to return to the top.

In the tightest title race in years, which has already seen the leadership change hands 17 times, Saints now stand third - in a four-team group which also includes leaders Warrington, Huddersfield and fourth-placed Wigan all tied on 18 points.

But Hull, who stay eighth, were equally frustrated at not completing a third straight win, after last weekend's Easter double, having got out of the traps fastest, going 18-0 up inside the first half an hour.

Stand-in Saints full-back Tom Armstong's spill proved costly when the Black and Whites went in front on 10 minutes.

Armstrong's error set up the attacking platform from which Willie Manu's one-hand offload freed home centre Yeaman to stroll in for his 12th try of the season.

That took him clear again as Super League's top scorer. And Hull looked in the clear too when they struck twice more.

Straight from a play-the-ball, Briscoe weaved his way in from the left wing for a brilliant solo effort, an eighth try in 13 games this season for the 21-year-old England international.

Then Yeaman struck again, Danny Tickle adding his third conversion.

But Saints had hope four minutes before the break when, after having one near miss chalked off when he was adjudged to have received a forward pass, Foster went in at the left corner.

Foster missed the touchline kick, for an 18-4 half-time scoreline. But, 10 minutes into the second half, Saints suddenly found the key to unlocking the Hull defence.

Hooker Roby sneaked under the posts, Foster duly adding the extras. Then, just five minutes later, Eastmond's superb pass created the space for Gardner to go in at the right corner.

And Puletua completed their burst of three tries in nine minutes, Foster once again converting to put his side 22-18 up.

Manu had one effort chalked off before Yeaman crossed to complete his hat-trick, Tickle's kick putting Hull back in front at 24-22 with just six minutes left.

But, within two minutes, referee Steve Ganson gave a controversial call, adjudging a high challenge on Saints debutant Nathan Ashe - and Foster held his nerve to slot the resulting penalty from 45 metres.

Even then, there was one last chance for both sides to snatch it, Tickle and Eastmond both having a go at drop-goals.

But, for the second time this season, just as with Saints' previous draw - the season-opening 16-16 thriller against Wigan at the Millennium Stadium in February - Eastmond was left frustrated with a drop-goal attempt.

While Tickle's barely left the ground, Eastmond's effort was charged down.


Hull FC coach Richard Agar:
"I thought we had put ourselves in a position at the death to come up with a victory and the way it transpired was a bit of a disappointment.

"We had a tough Easter but five points from six is a good return. We are just disappointed it's not six."

On Kirk Yeaman:
"Kirk has been very hungry this season. We've set him some targets, some tangible goals, and he's set about them in good style.

"He's playing strongly. He's got the bit between his teeth and he's determined to force his way into international selection, which is great for us.

"The fact that he didn't make it in either England squad is really good for us. It seems to have given him that extra spur and, if he keeps performing like this for us, he won't be far off."

St Helens coach Royce Simmons:
"It's a point I suppose. Our ball control in the first half was poor and that tells you you're going to come in well behind on the scoreboard.

"If you'd have said then you're going to get a point I'd have taken it. I did mention to the boys that we could get back in the game but I thought doing all that defence in the first half came back to bite us."


Hull FC: Whiting; Sharp, Gleeson, Yeaman, T Briscoe; Horne, Obst; O'Meley, Houghton, Moa, Manu, Tickle, Fitzgibbon.

Replacements: Washbrook, Westerman, Dowes, Lauaki.

St Helens: Armstrong; Gardner, Shenton, Meli, Foster; Wilkin, Eastmond; Graham, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Ashurst, Soliola, Puletua.

Replacements: Magennis, Dixon, Perry, Ashe.

Attendance: 11,933.

Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens).



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see also
Hull FC's Long out for six weeks
28 Apr 11 |  Hull
St Helens 22-20 Castleford
25 Apr 11 |  Rugby League
Warrington 10-24 Hull FC
25 Apr 11 |  Rugby League
Eastmond suspended by St Helens
17 Mar 11 |  St Helens


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