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Page last updated at 18:46 GMT, Sunday, 12 June 2011 19:46 UK

Bradford 14-14 St Helens

Bradford (12) 14
Tries: Kearney, Lynch Goals: Ah Van 3

St Helens (12) 14
Tries: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Makinson Goals: Foster 3


Jamie Foster
Jamie Foster kept his nerve to kick Saints to within a point of the top

Jamie Foster secured a dramatic draw for St Helens against Bradford with the last kick of the game at Odsal.

Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook grabbed the first try for Saints but Brett Kearney and Andy Lynch both ran on to high kicks to cross for Bradford.

St Helens deservedly hit back through Tommy Makinson but a Patrick Ah Van penalty put the Bulls back in front.

They looked set to win until conceding a penalty in the dying seconds, Foster slotting over from 30 yards.

It was no less than St Helens deserved after dominating possession against their former coach Mick Potter's Bulls.

With Wigan also held to a draw at Castleford and Warrington and Huddersfield suffering losses to lowly Salford and Wakefield, the stage was set for Saints to steal a march.

And, in conditions made difficult by heavy rain, it was the visitors who coped best. But they had to settle for a draw from a error-strewn yet exciting contest to take them within a point of the top two.

Not even the bravery of James Roby could help them overcome a dogged Bradford side, who looked set to record a third successive victory until referee James Child awarded a penalty for obstruction as the final hooter was about to sound.

The outcome was tough on the Bulls forwards who produced a tremendous defensive effort to lay a victory platform.

And, to add to their frustration, hooker Heath L'Estrange's season could be over if initial fears of a cruciate ligament injury are confirmed.

But Bradford were also indebted to the all-round skills of Kearney, who marked his comeback from a broken hand with one of his team's two tries.

It was definitely a point lost. I thought we did enough to win

Bradford coach Mick Potter

Saints, looking stronger than they have for weeks, had Kyle Eastmond at centre in the absence of Francis Meli, but Sia Soliola and Tony Puletua backed up from Friday's Origin match, along with England internationals Michael Shenton, Jon Wilkin and James Graham.

Saints also also received a boost when full-back Paul Wellens declared himself fit after picking up a "dead leg" in last week's win over Crusaders while Australian forwards Josh Perry and Chris Flannery returned from suspension and injury respectively.

Roby maintained an ever-present record going back exactly 12 months, despite a fractured eye socket which ruled him out of England's game against the Exiles on Friday night and it took him just six minutes to make an impact as he sped away from dummy half to get prop Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook charging over for the game's opening try.

Saints looked threatening every time they had the ball and would have held a healthy lead by half-time but for having two tries disallowed by the video referee.

But Bradford grew in confidence as a result of the let-offs, using the conditions well to establish a 12-8 lead.

The excellent Kearney beat Wellens to gather the ball from Marc Herbert's high kick and touch down. And skipper Andy Lynch then romped through a gap in the Saints defence, Patrick Ah Van adding both conversions.

But he then missed an easy penalty goal and Saints drew level five minutes before half-time when Roby's lightning pass caught out the Bradford defence, allowing winger Makinson in unopposed at the corner.

As the already tricky conditions deteriorated further, scoring chances were few and far between in the second half.

The Bulls had a glorious opportunity when Foster lost the ball a couple of feet from his own line but prop Craig Kopczak could not gather it cleanly and they had to settle for a 40-metre penalty from Ah Van which went in off an upright to put them back in front on the hour.

That looked to be enough to give Bradford the points but Foster kept his nerve at the end to ensure the spoils were shared - Saints' third draw this season.

POST-MATCH VERDICT

Bradford coach Mick Potter:

"It was definitely a point lost. I thought we did enough to win and we're disappointed to come away with one point.

"It wasn't a day for attacking. I thought we forced errors on them and we won the battle for field position. There are certainly some positive aspects.

"On first inspection, it doesn't look good for Heath L'Estrange. On the flip side, I thought Matt Diskin did a real good job to play the rest of the match."

St Helens coach Royce Simmons:

"I felt we should have got the two points. I thought we were slightly the better side.

"We created more opportunities than they did. They had to go the air to get their two tries and we got over the line a few times and had a couple disallowed. We'll be looking at that closely.

"James Roby was really brave. He wasn't going to play but he had a fitness test really late and, at the last minute, decided he'd play."

TEAMS

Bradford: Kearney; Crookes, Ah Van, Whitehead, Raynor; Jeffries, Herbert; Lynch, Diskin, Kopczak, Elima, Sibbit, Langley.

Replacements: L'Estrange, Olbison, Donaldson, Burgess.

St Helens: Wellens; Makinson, Shenton, Eastmond, Foster; Gaskell, Lomax, Graham, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Soliola, Wilkin, Puletua.

Replacements: Perry, Flannery, Dixon, Armstrong.

Attendance: 13,224.

Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).



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see also
Harlequins 16-30 Bradford
04 Jun 11 |  Rugby League
St Helens 42-16 Leeds
03 Jun 11 |  Rugby League
Kearney injury blow for Bradford
22 Apr 11 |  Bradford
St Helens 28-16 Bradford
25 Mar 11 |  Rugby League
Rugby League on the BBC
15 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby league commentaries
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby League


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