Leigh were in good form coming in to tonight’s clash after turning their league form round in the past few months. Salford were on the back of two heavy defeats to St. Helens and Wigan and looking to get back on track in the Challenge Cup.
Ben Nakubuwai, George Griffin, Niall Evalds and Mark Flanagan all returned to the Salford line up after missing last week.
Former Red Devil’s forward Harrison Hansen started in the pack for the Centurions, theit side boasting plenty of Super League experience.
Jamie Acton’s mistake on the second tackle of the match paved the way for a Salford attack. After good strong running from Nakubuwai, Evalds bags the first try of the game.
Both sides traded sets in the opening quarter before George Griffin powered over from close range to double the lead.
Leigh full back Peter Mata’utia sets up a well worked try for half back Ben Reynolds to scoot under the posts to put the Centurions right back in the contest. Moments later a Salford mistake gives Leigh the opportunity to attack. Sloppy tackling and Harrison brushes off defenders to level the scores. Reynolds conversion edged Leigh ahead at 12-10.
As the first half progressed both sides created chances with the game being played at a frantic pace.
Greg Johnson came close to giving Salford the lead just before the break but tremendous goal defence from Leigh kept there line intact.
Salford’s start to the second half can only be described as lacklustre. Two mistakes in the opening two sets.
Leigh were denied by the video referee but moments later hooker Daniel Mortimer burrowed over from dummy half. Reynolds conversion opened up an 8 point lead 18-10.
As the game entered the final quarter Leigh continued to dictate proceedings piling on the pressure. For Salford the silly errors continued to hamper their progress.
The Centurions veteran hooker Mickey Higham played a key role leading his side around the park. Half backs Drew Hutchinson and Ben Reynolds bossed the game for the home side and were rewarded with their fourth try of the night to seal the place in the quarter final draw. Drew Hutchinson scoring from close range with three minutes remaining.
Salford’s errors and poor defence really cost them. Leigh were far superior in every department.
Ian Watson speaking after the game said “we’ve completed 4 sets out of 21 in the second half and that’s not good enough whatever level you play at”.
Final score at The Leigh Sports Village Leigh 22 Salford 10