A LAST-MINUTE drop goal from scrum-half Leon Hayes helped Warrington Wolves’ academy side end the unbeaten record of counterparts St Helens.

In front of a bumper crowd at Victoria Park, Richard Marshall’s side secured a dramatic 17-16 win – their third in a row - on Friday evening.

> Read what academy head coach Richard Marshall had to say about the game by clicking here

Saints opened the scoring in the ninth minute when full-back Ben Lane linked into the line and kicked ahead before winning the race to touchdown on the right.

But then, the young Wolves took territorial control with a fantastic kicking game forcing several goal line drop outs and some ferocious tackling that kept Saints penned inside their own 40-metre area for long periods.

The pressure exerted was rewarded when Hayes found full-back Lewis Hughes linking into the line and he sent centre Jake Thewlis over in the right corner.

Hayes converted from the touchline and then four minutes before the break, the home side went over once again when a couple of repeat sets paid off.

A superb kick to the corner by stand-off Ben Tyrer was collected brilliantly by winger James Hartill and he slid over in the right corner.

Hayes added another great conversion from the opposite touchline to give his side a 12-4 interval advantage.

Eleven minutes into the second half, a kick from Saints scrum-half Will Roberts was lost close to their own line by the Wolves, Saints pounced on the loose ball and passed it out to centre Sam Haynes, who scored in the right corner.

Roberts converted from out wide but then, just after the hour mark, a fine kick by Hayes towards the Saints line was fumbled and centre Jack Darbyshire collected the ball before a quick play-the-ball saw Hartill go from dummy-half and score in the right corner.

Warrington were temporarily reduced to 12 men when second row Adam Holroyd was sin-binned for a late tackle and Saints made the extra man count as a long ball out wide found second row Jonathon Vaughan, who went through a gap to score at the left of the posts. Roberts added the conversion to level matters at 16-16 and set up a grandstand finish.

With two minutes left on the clock, the Wolves moved from deep inside their own half with several strong drives.

On the last tackle, hooker Aiden Doolan found Hayes, who coolly slotted over a drop goal to seal a thrilling and thoroughly deserved victory for the young Wolves.

Wolves: Lewis Hughes; James Hartill, Jack Darbyshire, Jake Thewlis, Zack Bardsley-Rowe; Ben Tyrer, Leon Hayes; Lucas Green, Aiden Doolan, Jamie Reddecliff, Adam Holroyd, Nolan Tupaea, Noah High. Subs: Bobby Shingler, Finlay Irwin, Ben Hartill, Jack Edge

Additional reporting by Dave Whalley