With the arrival of Jackson Hastings there was a slight sense of optimism before kick off at The AJ Bell Stadium.
The excitement seemed to get the better of Salford though and a mistake deep in there own half on the very first set gifted Leeds possession. Brad Dwyer darted over to put the visitors ahead.
The Red Devils response was quite spectacular, Ed Chamberlain shot through the heart of the Rhinos defence. Moments later Ryan Lannon was in to score.
Good work from Josh Jones going forward laid the platform and a quick play the ball saw Hastings spot a gap to race away. Niall Evalds was in support to score a thrilling try.
Salford began to turn the screw, forcing Leeds in to a mistake in there own half. A razor sharp kick in to the in goal area caught The Rhinos out and Hastings pounced for a debut try.
With just 18 minutes on the clock a near perfect first quarter was completed by Salford’s fourth try. This time Chamberlain showed his tremendous pace to open up a 22-6 lead.
Lee Mossop was then sent off after an alleged head butt. From the resulting penalty Liam Sutcliffe scored for Leeds 22-12.
Right on the half time hooter out of nothing Robert Lui scooted over to give the 12 men of Salford a deserved 26-12 cushion.
Former Salford player Joel Moon showed some nice footwork before sending the ball out wide for Tom Briscoe to score the first points of the second half.
Despite being a man down and losing Jackson Hastings in the first half to injury Salford kept there shape and really dug deep in defence.
With an hour on the clock Ed Chamberlain attempted a penalty kick from 40 yards out. The kick just shaved the post, as Leeds regathered possession Robert Lui managed to snatch the ball back. Niall Evalds glided over for his second try of the match.
By this time the rain had made the pitch quite greasy and Salford played the conditions immaculately. Lui pegging The Rhinos back drilling the ball in to touch whenever possible.
It was another attacking kick however that saw the The Red Devils put the game to bed. Josh Jones on the end of it to touch down, 38-16.
Matt Parcell grabbed a late try for Leeds but this match was all about Salford Red Devils. The home crowd were delighted at the final hooter, Jackson Hastings received a rousing reception as the doom and gloom of the last few weeks seemed to lift away leaving light at the end of the 2018 tunnel.
Ian Watson was delighted with the spirit his side had showed. Not only had they scored 7 well worked tries but to defend so well with 12 men for an hour against the Super League champions was a satisfying nights work.
Salford will now head in to the Qualifiers with renewed confidence.
Final score Salford 38 Leeds 22.