For the penultimate match of the Qualifiers Salford made the exciting trip to the capital to face London Broncos. The game was original scheduled for Sunday but switched at very short notice leaving supporters out of pocket and very disappointed having already purchased train tickets and hotels.
After the bitter pill of Headingley last Friday Ian Watson’s Red Devil’s we’re out to secure Super League survival and were still very confident of a top place finish in the Qualifiers. The Broncos have been a tough nut to crack at the Trailfinders Stadium this season with just 2 defeats in the regular season and a 32-48 reverse against Leeds in the Qualifiers.
The travelling Salford supporters knew that victory would confirm top flight status for 2019! The Red Devil’s were without the injured Josh Wood and Junior Sau, with Jack Littlejohn returning to the side to partner Robert Lui in the halves.
A damp wet afternoon was in store for both sides at kick off as summer seemed a distant memory.
The first points came from a penalty goal for the hosts, Jarred Sammutt kicking the two. Moments later The Broncos extended there lead when Jay Pitts powered over from close range to score. Sammutt again converted 8-0.
Salford struggled to complete sets and gain any sort of momentum. At times a lack of composure got the better of them especially on last tackle plays.
Things almost got a lot worse when Littlejohn gave an interception away, Sammutt charged down field for a certain try only for the referee to adjudge The Broncos were offside, resulting in a Salford penalty.
Sammutt continued to boss the game swapping his usual swashbuckling maverick style for a more conservative approach. Six minutes before the break London dropped a goal, that man Sammutt again giving the hosts a 9-0 half time lead.
Salford struggled to make any sort of progress as the second half started. A blunt attack with no penetration barley threatened London. The Broncos carried on there basic but effective tactics.
On the 56th minute Salford finally came to life Greg Johnson finished off a slick move to squeeze in at the corner. Ed Chamberlain was off the field so Joey Lussick took over the kicking duties. The conversion was missed 9-4.
An hour on the clock and the game was on a knife edge. Despite the low score the excitement and tension left eyes fixed on the action.
Salford began to ask more questions but London defended as if there lives depended on it.
With just six minutes left on the clock The Broncos were awarded a penalty within range and the calls rang out to ‘take the two’. Sammutt had no hesitation and edged the lead to 11-4 meaning Salford would need two scores.
With just three minutes remaining the lively Johnson finished acrobatically taking the corner flag out to touch down. Chamberlain fluffed his conversion attempt leaving just two minutes to rescue the match.
With the rain still hampering the playing conditions this was no match for spectacular last gasp break away tries. Mistakes followed and London held on for a famous win. It was nothing more than the Broncos deserved.
Head coach Danny Ward was delighted after the match. The likeable Yorkshireman was the first to admit it wasn’t a great spectacle but was proud of the resolute defence and game management his team showed.
A disappointing day for Salford and there travelling supporters who were there in good numbers once again.
London Broncos 11 Salford 8.