Challenge Cup: Huddersfield Giants 16-17 St Helens
Huddersfield Giants (10) 16
- Tries: Lunt 2, Wardle
- Goals: Brough 2
St Helens (8) 17
- Tries: Swift, Makinson 2
- Goal: Walsh 2
- Drop-goal: Walsh
Super League leaders St Helens beat 12-man Huddersfield in a controversial Challenge Cup fourth-round tie.
Saints led with scores from Adam Swift and Tommy Makinson, but Shaun Lunt and Joe Wardle responded for the hosts.
Lunt added his second before Giants forward Brett Ferres saw red for a dangerous tackle on Jonny Lomax.
Makinson went over again, and after Danny Brough's drop-goal attempt was ruled out, Luke Walsh landed a one-pointer to send Saints through.
Saints trailed 16-8 and Nathan Brown's men looked set for their first defeat of 2014 before England international Ferres was sent off with 15 minutes remaining for lifting Lomax and dropping the full-back on his head.
Further controversy followed when it appeared skipper Brough had kicked the Giants into round five, only for referee Phil Bentham to rule the effort had gone wide.
The visitors had not looked like they would require such a desperate finish when they made a blistering start and scored two excellent early tries.
Lance Hohaia's superb offload set up Swift for an easy first score, before fellow winger Makinson finished off a terrific team move involving five Saints players.
But the Giants fought back, with hooker Lunt powering his way over from close range before centre Wardle jumped above Jordan Turner to claim Luke Robinson's high cross-field kick and add a second.
Huddersfield's wait goes on
Huddersfield have not won the Challenge Cup since 1953. On that occasion, they beat St Helens 15-10 in the final at Wembley.
And Brough converted with the only successful attempt at goal in the first half to give Huddersfield a two-point lead at the interval.
Paul Anderson's side then extended their advantage when full-back Scott Grix broke through a gap and passed inside for Lunt to score his second of the match.
Saints were becoming frustrated in their attempts to fight back, before they were given a lifeline when Huddersfield were reduced to 12 men.
Willie Manu set up Makinson for his second try from the resulting set of six tackles and Walsh converted, before kicking a simple penalty to level the scores at 16-16.
Brough's drilled kick-off gave Huddersfield field position and, after last year's Man of Steel saw three drop-goal attempts charged down, Bentham ruled his fourth had failed to bisect the posts, much to the annoyance of the Huddersfield captain and the home crowd.
And in a dramatic conclusion, St Helens went straight up to the other end, Walsh calmly landing a one-pointer to seal the win.
Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson:
"Brough's adamant he's kicked it. I've not seen it yet but I'll stick with my captain. He's telling me it's gone over.
"My question is, we go to the video referee for every little decision with regards to points - why couldn't we go for that?
"When there's an actual match-deciding moment we don't bother."
St Helens coach Nathan Brown:
"It was a shocking tackle and he probably got what he deserved but Brett Ferres is not a dirty player.
"I hope the match-review take that into account. There was a lot of punishment because it cost them the game.
"It was an unfortunate incident but the good thing is that Jonny's fine."
Huddersfield Giants: Grix; McGillvary, Murphy, Wardle, Broughton; Brough, Robinson; Crabtree, Lunt, Kopczak, Ferres, Chan, Lawrence.
Replacements: Bailey, Faiumu, Wood, Kaufusi.
St Helens: Lomax; Makinson, Turner, Jones, Swift; Hohaia, Walsh; Amor, Roby, Walmsley, Manu, Flanagan, Soliola.
Replacements: Walker, Wellens, Greenwood, Masoe.
Referee: Phil Bentham