IS there some light at the end of the dark tunnel Warrington Wolves currently find themselves in?

The result may not suggest that, but anyone who watched the game would be able to tell you The Wire took several steps forward in terms of performance.

The fact the only boos to be found at The Halliwell Jones Stadium at full time were for referee Jack Smith and his team of officials tells you all you need to know – fans have been thoroughly dissatisfied with what they have been watching over the past month or so but on this occasion, there could be few complaints on that front.

That was because the team showed its followers what they have been wanting to see – a team that appears to be united and willing to dig to the deepest depths for each other.

Of course, those sorts of things should be the bare minimum on a rugby league field every week but if it can be seen that a side has completely emptied its tank in search of victory, defeats don’t seem so bad.

With several key players missing and with square pegs jammed into round holes again, they went toe-to-toe with a champion St Helens side and came up just short. In that, there is little disgrace.

At one point, it looked as though they were going to take home a victory that would have arguably been the most impressive since Daryl Powell took over after Matt Dufty had finished off a superb try to put his side eight points ahead.

At that point, the stadium was alive with noise and the visitors were completely on the ropes – and herein lies the only potential frustration.

Warrington’s stated aim is to compete with the likes of St Helens for the game’s major honours, but you very rarely see sides of that ilk surrender a two-score lead at home inside the final quarter.

Credit has to go to the visitors on that front – they remained calm, brought key men such as Alex Walmsley, Morgan Knowles and James Roby back onto the field and were able to just nudge the intensity to a level Wire could not quite stay with.

In the end, the four-point margin demonstrates just how well-contested this game was and makes the annoyance among Wire fans about some tough calls that went against them earlier in the piece a little more pertinent.

There was a hint of a forward pass about Lewis Dodd’s winning try and while that was marginal, the pass to send Jack Welsby through the line for the break that set up James Bell’s first-half effort was not.

Forward passes get missed most weeks – officials are human, the game is being played at break-neck speed and there is no scope for adjudication on them from video referees – but this one appeared so clear the mind boggles as to how it was not picked up.

Still, Wire did not let the perceived injustice derail them – this time, there was no collapse at the first sign of trouble. Instead, they kept going and going and going.

It is another defeat and it puts more pressure on the tough games that are to come, but it is crucial this level of performance is carried forward as a minimum standard.

If they do that, a corner will surely be turned very quickly.