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Salford’s pocket picked by battling Vikings – Widnes 24 Salford 16

Ian Watson described it as a weird feeling at the final hooter. He was obviously disappointed with the score line but in a game Salford dominated for long periods they still managed to self destruct in the second half.

Derrell Olpherts made his debut and it was a good start for the Red Devils who were on the front foot in the opening exchanges asking all the questions.

Wing man Olpherts finished off a slick Salford move to squeeze in at the corner. Referee Ben Thaler checked with the video referee after calling a try as his on field decision. After a good few minutes the try was turned down.

Moments later though Robert Lui’s high kick was allowed to bounce, Josh Jones is alert and kept a cool head to send Craig Kopczak in for the opening try. Lui adds the goal 0-6.

Widnes were then denied a try from the video referee before scoring on the very next play. Chris Dean slicing through a gap in Salford’s defence. With the conversion the scores were level.

Robert Lui added two penalty goals in the closing stages of the first half to edge Salford in front 6-10 at half time.

Widnes seemed to up the tempo at the start of the second half. Lama Tasi was sin binned after just four minutes for a high tackle. The Vikings made the extra man count and it was good hands from half back Joe Mellor that put Christian Inu over. Inu added the conversion off the touch line to put the hosts in front 12-10.

Weller Hauraki grabbed a try to restore the lead for Salford, the video referee this time giving the Red Devil’s the nod.

With just over 15 minutes to go the match hung in the balance with the Vikings trailing 12-14. Lui added another penalty after a Widnes drop out failed to go ten meters 12-16.

The last ten minutes the game turned around completely. Back to back penalties got the Vikings on the front foot before: Greg Burke crashed over from close range to level the scores. Inu had a simple conversion 18-16.

In the final few minutes Niall Evalds who had been a star performer all night for Salford couldn’t prevent the busy Aaron Heremaia scoring the game clinching try. It was really tough on young Niall who had took every high ball as safe as houses and looked really sharp.

Ian Watson felt there were some harsh penalties that went against his side in what was a frustrating night for Salford. Widnes with a near faultless second half completion rate just did enough to take the points.

Catalan Dragons visit The AJ Bell Stadium on Good Friday with a 12pm kick off.

Paul Whiteside.

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