Dickson and Clark inspire Saints to scrappy win

Christian Day charges his way through during Saints' LV= Cup clash at Scarlets on Friday night (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

Christian Day charges his way through during Saints' LV= Cup clash at Scarlets on Friday night (pictures: Sharon Lucey)

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Lee Dickson and Calum Clark bounced back from their England snub by steering Saints to a scrappy 24-7 LV= Cup victory at Scarlets on Friday night.

The international duo, released by Stuart Lancaster on Tuesday, were introduced after the break and grabbed a score apiece to help Jim Mallinder’s men secure the win at Parc y Scarlets.

Llanelli Scarlets V Saints. NNL-140711-203114009

Llanelli Scarlets V Saints. NNL-140711-203114009

Alex Waller and Ben Foden were among the others introduced after the break as Saints proved far too strong for their hosts.

Howard Packman had put the away side ahead early on, but Steffan Evans responded for Scarlets, who were level at the break.

But Dickson and Clark popped up with quickfire scores and the assured boot of Will Hooley twisted the knife as Saints made it two wins from as many games in the competition.

They had produced a slick showing in the win against Newcastle Falcons on the previous weekend and were in control of the majority of the game in south-west Wales.

Llanelli Scarlets V Saints. NNL-140711-212955009

Llanelli Scarlets V Saints. NNL-140711-212955009

But they were dealt a blow early on with No.8 Jon Fisher forced off inside the opening two minutes.

It was the only point of note from a fairly low-key start, but Tom Stephenson sparked Saints into life, breaking from halfway and giving Packman the chance to score.

Hooley made the conversion superbly from the right touchline, but he was unable to replicate that effort soon after, missing a penalty earned at the scrum.

And Scarlets didn’t waste time in heading to the other end to restore parity.

Llanelli Scarlets V Saints. NNL-140711-204434009

Llanelli Scarlets V Saints. NNL-140711-204434009

James Wilson’s kick was horribly skewed, giving Scarlets territory, which they used to send the ball from left to right, with full-back Evans scoring unchallenged.

Shingler added the extras and Saints were left wondering how they had conceded, having bossed the game from the off.

They had a chance to edge back in front when Shingler kicked a penalty dead, leading to a scrum that yielded a shot at goal, but Hooley again failed to hit the target.

Overall, there was little for the sparse home support to get excited about, but they were on their feet just before the break, celebrating what appeared to be a try.

Llanelli Scarlets V Saints. NNL-140711-203134009

Llanelli Scarlets V Saints. NNL-140711-203134009

But the referee pulled play back, spotting a deliberate pull from flanker James Davies, who had burst clear to send Shingler in under the posts.

Scarlets were upping their game slightly and had another chance to go in front straight after the restart.

But the penalty won at a Saints scrum was wasted by Shingler, who, like Hooley in the first half, found kicking towards the west stand difficult.

Saints looked to make the home 10 pay, pushing on, with skipper Phil Dowson leading the charge with a strong break.

The sea of red shirts refused to be parted in the 22 though and the away side had to make do with another penalty, which Hooley easily landed.

The Scarlets fans were incensed with referee Tom Foley, but their protests fell on deaf ears and Saints pushed on in the bid to extend their lead.

Llanelli Scarlets V Saints. NNL-140711-214431009

Llanelli Scarlets V Saints. NNL-140711-214431009

Dickson and Clark were introduced as Mallinder’s men tried to tighten their grip on the game, and Scarlets were struggling to get out of their 22.

Eventually the pressure told as Saints, who had just brought on Alex Waller and Salesi Ma’afu, used a lineout well, with Dickson darting over for the score.

Hooley’s well-struck kick provided the away side with a 10-point cushion and things were about to get even more comfortable as Clark crashed over in the corner.

Hooley added the extras to put Saints seemingly out of sight at 24-7 up, before the Scarlets attempted to exert some pressure at the other end.

Replacement Aaron Warren looked likely to grab a late consolation but his run to the line was halted by Packman, who hunted his man down and dragged him out of play.

It was a sign of Saints’ determination to claim the win with as few blemishes as possible on a night when they again displayed their desire and strength.

Scarlets: S Evans; Williams, Hughes, Owen (Lewis 70), Climo (Warren 77); S Shingler, Hardy (R Davies 62); John (Jones 62), Myhill (Elias 76), Edwards (Adriaanse 50); S Jones, Earle (c) (Day 70); McCusker, J Davies, Pitman.

Saints: Wilson (Foden 62); Packman, Stephenson, Waldouck, Collins; Hooley (Mallinder 69), Hodgson (Dickson 50); E Waller (A Waller 60), McMillan (Williams 64), Mercey (Ma’afu 60); Woolford, C Day; Dowson (c), Nutley, Fisher (Harrison 2 (Clark 51)).

Referee: Tom Foley

Llanelli Scarlets V Saints. NNL-140711-215852009

Llanelli Scarlets V Saints. NNL-140711-215852009