St Helens edged past current Challenge Cup winners Hull FC with a pulsating 25-22 victory.
St Helens coach Justin Holbrook made just one change to his side that beat Castleford Tigers last week. Tommy Makinson came in for Adam Swift.
Lee Radford made four changes to his Hull FC side that lost to Warrington Wolves last time out. Bureta Faraimo, Carlos Tuimavave, Albert Kelly and Scott Taylor replaced Cameron Scott, Liam Harris, Joe Westerman and Jordan Lane.
Dean Hadley left the field at the Totally Wicked Staidum in the opening stages and did not return.
St Helens piled pressure on the Hull FC defence from the start. Saints scored the opening try through Mark Percival as the centre barged over out wide. Danny Richardson converted to put his side 6-0 up.
Saints were in for another as Jonny Lomax threw a sublime cut-out pass to Regan Grace who finished brilliantly in the corner for St Helens. Richardson failed to convert but Saints were 10-0 to the good after 15 minutes.
Hull FC soon pulled one back midway through the first half. Kelly produced a fine solo effort to score. Jake Connor added the extras and FC were only 10-6 behind.
The Black and Whites took the lead in the 22ndminute. Chris Green powered over the line from close thanks to an explosive drive. Connor’s conversion put FC 12-10 in front.
In the 28thminute, Danny Houghton was sent to the sin bin for a crusher tackle on Richardson and they were dealt another blow just minutes later when Danny Washbrook was yellow carded for using knees in a tackle against Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook.
It didn’t take long for Saints to take advantage of having the two extra men. Grace picked up a loose ball and burst through a gap in the defence to score his second. Richardson converted and they were 16-12 ahead.
St Helens opened up the Hull FC defence in the 35thminute as Percival went through a big gap to score under the sticks. The conversion was on point from Richardson.
England Knights half-back Richardson added a drop-goal late on to give St Helens a 23-12 lead at the break.
Zeb Taia thought he had scored for St Helens at the start of the second half but it was chalked off by the video referee due to him failing to ground the ball.
Hull FC were certainly not giving up on their Challenge Cup trophy. Taylor bulldozed his way over the line for FC. Connor converted, St Helens 23-18 Hull FC.
Houghton went off in the second half and didn’t return, having failed a concussion assessment.
Discipline was costing Hull in the game and they had Masi Matongo sent to the sin bin for putting a late shot on Lomax. As a result of the penalty, Saints opted to take the two and Richardson slotted the penalty goal.
The Black and Whites made it a nail-biting finish. Hakim Miloudi rose high to collect a Kelly bomb to touch down in the corner. Connor couldn’t convert but they only trailed 25-22.
Hull FC threw the kitchen sink at it in the final moments but St Helens did just enough to keep them out and progress to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup with a 25-22 win.
St Helens: Barba; Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Grace; Lomax, Richardson; Amor, Roby, Thompson, Peyroux, Taia, Wilkin. Subs: Fages, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Knowles.
Hull FC: Shaul; Faraimo, Logan, Tuimavave, Miloudi; Kelly, Connor; Green, Houghton, Taylor, Minichiello, Manu, Hadley. Subs: Washbrook, Fash, Paea, Matongo.
Starman: Mark Percival was a constant threat for the Hull FC defence.