Saints 34 Widnes 16

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Tommy Makinson took the honours as Saints ended their dismal run of only one victory in their previous five Super League matches with a 34-16 triumph at home to Widnes on Friday night.

Full-back Makinson scored a spectacular long-range try to seal the win eight minutes from time and also set up another touchdown for youngster Matty Fleming.

Luke Walsh, making his first start of the season after breaking his leg last July, had only made two substitute appearances recently but also showed what Saints have been missing with a top show.

The 27-year-old scrum-half scored a try and helped create two others for Travis Burns and Alex Walmsley. Widnes went into the clash having won only once on their last 12 visits to their neighbours - but that jinx continued despite a battling effort.

St Helens welcomed back Mark Percival off the bench after a seven-match absence with a knee injury but Lance Hohaia, Jonny Lomax, Paul Wellens, Joe Greenwood and Atalea Vea were sidelined.

Widnes, without an away win this season, brought back Joe Mellor who pulled out of last week’s win over Castleford through illness. Mellor replaced Tom Gilmore but Patrick Ah Van was missing with Chris Dean switched back to the centre from the pack.

Widnes did well to keep out the rampaging Mose Masoe with Saints on the attack from the start, while the hosts tested Rhys Hanbury with high kicks but the Vikings full-back dealt competently with the aerial threat.

Play was held up for several minutes with Cameron Phelps needing treatment before the Vikings centre was helped off in a daze before returning in the first half.

Walsh wasted a chance for Saints by spilling the ball close to the line with Masoe’s charging runs causing problems for Widnes.

The Vikings’ solid defence stood up to the test and then rocked Saints by snatching a 22nd-minute lead when Kevin Brown sold Walmsley a dummy to stroll over unopposed with Jack Owens tagging on the conversion.

But Saints levelled five minutes later when Walsh intercepted a Manase Manuokafoa pass to dart 25 metres with Travis Burns converting.

Then Walsh sent Burns crashing over for his first try for the club to make it 12-6 on the half-hour mark.

Widnes refused to lie down with Mellor replying with a scorching try just before the break after taking a pass from Aaron Heremaia to shoot through a gap.

Owens converted to level the scores 12-12 at half-time.

Neither side could take control early in the second half until Walmsley took Walsh’s pass to bulldoze over after 53 minutes and stretch the advantage to 18-12.

Then Makinson pulled off a try-saving tackle on Matt Whitley before Saints had a Jordan Turner touchdown disallowed.

Matt Whitley was not to be denied after 62 minutes when he took Kevin Brown’s short pass to charge over, but Owens missed the touchline conversion to leave the Vikings trailing 18-16 after 62 minutes.

Makinson ripped Widnes apart up the middle with an electrifying run for Fleming to notch his first senior try with 15 minutes left and the former sealed the win when he collected a kick to race 80 metres for a spectacular try eight minutes from time.

Percival celebrated his return with the sixth and final try in the last minute as Saints added 16 points in the last 15 minutes.