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Second half tries for Jamie Lyon, Jason Hooper and Maurie Fa'asavalu sent Saints clear at 40-18.
But two reply tries in three minutes for halfbacks Ben Jeffries and Sam Obst just before the hour turned the heat up on the game.
Saints made the result safe with two tries in four minutes against a very tired defence for Jon Wilkin and Paul Wellens before Jeffries scored a consolation try for the hosts four minutes from time.
Two tries in four minutes at the back end of a seesaw first-half put St Helens back in the driving seat after taking an early lead through Wellens.
Sean Long pounced on a rare David Solomona fumble to touch down five minutes from the break.
Leon Pryce eased through a tired defence four minutes later, both being converted by Lyon, who went on to finish with 20 points to his credit.
Wildcats rallied with two tries in three minutes midway through the half, scored by influential scrumhalf Obst and wing Semi Tadulala.
Wakefield: Saxton, Halpenny, Demetriou, Atkins, Tadulala, Jeffries, Obst, MacGillivray, March, Griffin, J. Field, Elima, Betham. Replacements: Korkidas, Solomona, White, Watene.
St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Hardman, Pryce, Long, P. Anderson, Cunningham, Cayless, Gilmour, Wilkin, Hooper. Replacements: Roby, Fozzard, Fa'asavalu, V. Anderson.
St Helens: (22) 52. Tries: Wellens 2, V. Anderson, Long, Pryce, Lyon, Hooper, Fa'asavalu, Wilkin. Goals: Lyon 8.
Referee: R Laughton (Barnsley)