Saints captain Jon Wilkin scored the match-winning try to help his side banish the memory of their Magic Weekend maulings by Warrington in Manchester.
Wilkin, who was back in the side after serving a one-match ban, had spoken of his recurring nightmares over their 41-24 and 48-22 derby defeats at the Etihad Stadium but he will have fond memories of St James’ Park after he guided Saints to a 20-16 victory in a tense contest in Newcastle.
Warrington, inspired by superb full-back Stefan Ratchford, led for most of the match but Wilkin forced his way over after 58 minutes to bring his side level and Tom Makinson added two more goals to make sure of a win that takes St Helens back up to second in the Super League.
The Wolves piled on the pressure in a frantic finale but Saints scrambled magnificently to keep them out.
Saints had earlier carved out the first tryscoring opportunity when right winger Makinson broke down the flank but his inside pass to full-back Shannon McDonnell was knocked dead by defender Ben Currie and Warrington went on to boss the rest of the first half.
Ratchford demonstrated his class by gliding through the Saints defence for a solo try before loose forward Ben Harrison touched down a neat grubber kick from stand-off Declan Patton.
Ratchford was wide with both conversion attempts and St Helens, who lost hooker James Roby for a 14-minute spell after taking a head knock, found a purple patch to fight back and level the scores.
Second rower Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook grabbed a try after Wilkin’s grubber kick took a wicked deflection to deceive Ratchford and Makinson kicked the conversion as well as a 25th-minute penalty.
However, Saints produced too many errors to be able to maintain the momentum and it was no surprise when the Wolves went back in front, with Patton getting centre Ryan Atkins through a chink in their defence for a third try.
This time Chris Bridge kicked the conversion and stretched his side’s lead to 16-8 by half-time with a penalty.
Warrington ought to have gone further ahead - when scrum-half Richie Myler broke clean through the first line of defence - but Saints scrambled superbly to keep their line intact and it proved to be a pivotal moment.
The game was blown wide open after 48 minutes when St Helens centre Jordan Turner skipped out of a tackle 20 metres out from the Warrington line and sent left winger Adam Swift over for his 11th try of the season. Makinson was unable to add the goal but the score gave St Helens just the encouragement they needed.
Makinson went close to scoring at the corner after taking Travis Burns’ high kick before Wilkin forced his way over from close range after 58 minutes to tie the scores.
Makinson kicked his third goal to put Saints in front for the first time and McCarthy-Scarsbrook was held up over the line as they continued to enjoy most of the play.
Another piece of magic from Ratchford looked to have got winger Gene Ormsby over at the corner but video referee Phil Bentham disallowed the try for an earlier infringement and Makinson wrapped up the scoring with a penalty six minutes from the end.