After back to back away defeats Salford answered their critics with a thoroughly professional performance against Hull FC.
The first points of the match came from a Robert Lui penalty goal. Dean Hadley then edged Hull in front touching down on the end of a slick grubber. Mark Sneyd added the conversion and his penalty goal extended the visitors lead to 2-8.
Five minutes from half time the game was flipped on its head, young Salford forward Ben Nakubuwai showed great strength and determination to score his first try for the Red Devils. This seemed to be the catalyst the hosts needed, on the next set of six they went the full length with some bruising forward runs. The drop out was forced after tenacious Salford defence. A penalty followed which Lui converted to 10-8 half time.
The home supporters became increasingly frustrated by referee Scott Mikalauskas in the early stages of the second half. On the very first play a swirling high kick caused ructions for Hull full back Jamie Shaul. The drop out wasn’t forthcoming though and hull were off the hook with a penalty. Shaul then appeared to fumble another dangerous kick not once but twice. To the amazement of the home supporters the ball was signalled to have gone backwards.
The Red Devils were made of stern stuff tonight, a blockbusting break from wingman Greg Johnson put Junior Sau away. Jack Littlejohn was there in support brushing off the desperate defence to race over for his first try for the club.
It was a tense last ten minutes and when Hull were forced into a mistake Salford could smell blood and they went hunting. Leading 14-8 the drop goal was a good option but confidence was flowing and Robert Lui backed himself to charge over through a slight chink in the defence. On the very next play Sau showed just what he can produce putting Johnson over in the corner to make the game safe. Lui from the touch line agonisingly hit the post with his conversion but had a solid night with the boot.
Speaking after the game Hull coach Lee Radford praised Salford’s defence and resilience as he looked back on his sides mixed start to the season. Salford boss Ian Watson was delighted with the response he got from his players after a difficult week losing Gareth O’Brien. Niall Evalds was outstanding at fullback, Kris Welham proved a real thorn in Hull’s side all night but it was Salford’s pack that lay the foundations for Lui and Littlejohn to master a much needed victory.
Salford 24 Hull 8
Images by G Lyons