Saturday afternoon rugby league was back at Craven Park. The sun was out with perfect playing conditions for the two sides.
Hull Kingston Rovers a tough opposition on there home patch with two wins from two so far there this season. Salford were looking to bounce back after last weekends thumping at home to Leeds.
It wasn’t the best start for the Red Devils with mistakes on there opening two sets handing the initiative to The Robins.
The hosts went ahead in the 7th minute. Danny McGuire with a precision kick which popped up nicely for Weller Hauraki to touch down.
Four minutes later Robert Lui ghosted through for a try after a patient Salford build up. Ken Sio failed to convert, 6-4.
The Robins continued to press throwing a lot in attack, Salford however stood firm in defence.
Salford took the lead after switching the ball from left to right stretching Rovers with relentless pressure. A drop out was forced before Salford took the lead. Josh Jones powering over for a well deserved try to edge the visitors ahead 6-8.
Hull Kr then sprung in to action scoring three quick fire tries. First Craig Hall scored in the corner off another deft Josh Drinkwater kick.
Derrell Olpherts had already made a few mistakes then his knock on near his own line cost more unforced pressure. George Lawlor spinning out of the desperate tackles to score. Ryan shaw extending the lead with the conversion 16-8. Yet another Salford error this time from George Griffin saw them pay the price yet again. Jimmy Kienhorst taking full advantage to romp to the line leaving the traveling Salford supporters shell shocked.
Trailing 22-8 at half time Ian Watson’s men needed a response in the second half. Both sides traded sets but neither really threatened as time ticked away.
After a mistake filled first half Olpherts pulled a try back for Salford with 23 minutes remaining. Credit to the winger who kept going and never let his head drop. Sio this time converting 22-14.
It still seemed a long way back and when Joel Tomkins followed a kick through into the in goal it looked all over. Referee Liam Moore ruled a knock on leaving Tomkins furious. Perhaps this was the lifeline Salford needed.
Daniel Murray came off the bench for his first appearance of the season and the young props enthusiasm seemed to lift the whole Salford pack.
The momentum of the game seemed to be swinging as Rovers got frustrated and possibly a little panic set in.
Super quick hands and a real slick move saw Ken Sio touchdown in the corner against his former club. This time his conversion agonisingly hit the cross bar, 22-18.
The Red Devils tails were up as they looked to land the knock out blow. Rovers were clinging on like a boxer on the ropes.
Junior Sau almost levelled the scores but a fantastic last ditch Danny McGuire tackle save Rovers. The Salford pressure continued to mount. Defenders charged in hunting the mistake and then it came. A knock on from the hosts in deep in there own half. The tension was unbelievable, not quite the Million pound game but thrilling intensity all the same.
Joey Lussick scooted from dummy half to crash over under the sticks to level it 22-22. Sio with a straight forward conversion under pressure made it 22-24.
With ten minutes now remaining there was still time remaining but Salford held firm to take an unlikely victory.
Coach Ian Watson said after the match “if you keep inviting teams to attack you your going to concede points.”
Speaking about the second half “that game was really good for us, how long has it been since we saw a Salford team show that character to go behind and comeback in the fashion we did do”.
Salford are back in action next Thursday at The A J Bell Stadium when they face St. Helens.
Hull Kr 22 Salford 24.