All the talk leading up to the match was about how well Wigan were playing and rightly so. The Warriors opened the scoring with a penalty goal from Chris Hankinson after five minutes.
The Red Devils struggled to get over the half way line in the early stages and had plenty of defensive work to do.
Tui Lolohea levelled the scores with a penalty goal but when Ken Sio knocked on from the kick off Salford we’re back under the cosh. Wigan profited from the set scrum as Jackson Hastings dropped his shoulder to score a fine try against his former club.
A clever kick through from Kevin Brown and a nice break from Niall Evalds showed attacking promise but Salford seemed to be unable to build significant pressure. In the closing stages of the half Sam Powell scored a real sucker punch try as a Salford attack collapsed at one end leaving the Wigan hooker to pinch a simple try at the other end. Hankinson missed a penalty goal on the half time hooter to leave the visitors 2-14 up at the break and looking fairly comfortable.
Sebastine Ikahihifo knocked on ten yards from his own line in the first set of the second half. Salford battened down the hatches to defend their line frantically.
It needed something special to put some life back into the game. Niall Evalds was the man to provide it. The hot stepping fullback showed some individual brilliance to fool the Wigan defence. Lolohea’s conversion reduced the deficit to 8-14 with just over twenty minutes left.
The Warriors began to panic, they seemed shell shocked at Salford’s spirt. Ian Watson’s men had renewed confidence, they were fighting for each other in what was a monumental effort.
Looking to kill off Salford’s resistance the Warriors went on the attack. A dangerous kick through was picked up clean by Evalds close to his own line. He shot through the gap and went the full length of the field much to the delight of the home supporters. Lolohea levelled the scores at 14-14 with just over ten minutes remaining.
Another thrilling Salford break was cut short by referee James Child who adjudged a pass to be forward. By now it was end to end action and one tremendous contest. Live wire Rhys Williams made another swashbuckling break with his long hair flying in the breeze. From close range their was no stopping Kevin Brown who crashed over to raise the roof on the AJ Bell Stadium. Lolohea missed the goal but Salford hit the front for the first time in the match 18-14. A remarkable turn around!
Wigan came out swinging though in the final minutes and forced a drop out.
Former Warriors centre Dan Sarginson who had been sensational all night came up with the tackle of the match. An absolute bell ringer to force a knock on. A huge roar erupted around the ground. Salford battled out the final minute to take a famous victory and a thoroughly deserved one.
Ian Watson remained grounded after the match but the glint was back in his eye. “It’s got to prove a point this, you play the way you train and your a good team. We’ve got to believe and the proof will no be in the pudding going forward. It’s great getting up for a game against Wigan but we’ve got to back this up.” Watson praised the efforts of Niall Evalds and Dan Sarginson who both put in fantastic performances.
After a disappointing few weeks the Salford supporters went home delighted on a famous night for the whole club.
Salford 18 Wigan 14.