St Helens acting coach Mike Rush saluted goalkicker Lee Gaskell after his late strike sealed a 24-23 derby victory at Widnes.
The Vikings, who had conceded 102 points in two previous defeats by Saints this season, were in front 23-18 until Josh Jones went over in the corner in the last minute.
Gaskell, who had booted all three previous conversions, coolly stepped up to boot the winning goal with the last kick of a thrilling contest.
Rush said: "It was a great touchline conversion by Lee but I don't think it should have got to that.
"We had a lot of possession and didn't take our chances.
"There were a couple of dubious calls and Paul Wellens got the ball over the line fair and square.
"I'm sure Lance Hohaia scored under the posts too and if I'm wrong when I look at the video I will be surprised."
Widnes had a hat-trick star in winger Patrick Ah Van, who suffered a nasty eyebrow gash after completing his treble, and Rush was quick to hail the Vikings' efforts.
"(Coach) Denis Betts is building a good side and they have shown a massive improvement in defence," added Rush.
"But we showed a lot of character to nick a victory at the death."
The Vikings' other touchdowns came from Chris Dean and Cameron Phelps, with Widnes outscoring St Helens by five tries to four.
But Rhys Hanbury crucially missed three conversions and Stefan Marsh another.
Hanbury did land a drop goal to make it 19-18 and thought one of his conversions had gone over.
Widnes coach Betts said: "It looked over to us but the referee said he could not give it because the touch judges ruled it didn't go over.
"It was a great game and we had a real dig.
"It feels like we won the game and we did what we came to do without a shadow of doubt.
"A couple of penalties against us were harsh but we are starting to reap the rewards we have put in this season.
"We are in a dogfight at the bottom but we improving and getting there.
"The fans at the Stobart are getting great value for money. Our scramble defence was great and defence is all about attitude.
"Our forwards lifted us and Ben Cross got us on the front foot."