With these two sides meeting in the Challenge Cup semi finals on Saturday evening this league match had something of a dress rehearsal feel to it. Both coaches had made changes to their respective squads. Their is an old saying though ‘your only as good as your last match’. No team wants to go into a big cup match on the back of a defeat. Three years ago when Salford met Wigan in the cup semi final they had been comprehensively beaten at Leigh the week before 25-0.
Both sides were looking for a positive performance. The Red Devils may well have lost Luke Yates for the semi final due to suspension and the next few days will be tense as the club appeals this. Big news this afternoon was that Dan Sarginson’s suspension has been overturned.
Although this match was once again behind closed doors, it was at the AJ Bell Stadium. Salford’s first fixture on their home ground since the 13th March.
Ian Watson handed debuts to loan signings Olly Ashall-Bott and Tom Gilmore. Exciting youngster Luis Roberts also made the starting lineup on the wing. Captain Lee Mossop started at prop after his injury layoff.
Ashall-Bott playing at full back was tremendous under the high ball and safe as houses in the early stages. Luis Roberts was also put under plenty of pressure but the youngster did not look out of place.
Salford had most of the territory in the first quarter and Warrington stood firm in defence.
The games opening try went to Warrington. On the back of a six to go the Wolves cranked the pressure up before Nathan Roebuck raced over. Declan Patton added the conversion 0-6.
Warrington were starting to grow in confidence and the first half momentum really started to swing in their favour. A lovely flat pass from Patton sent young full back Josh Thewlis in for a try. Patton again converted.
Some desperate Salford defence prevented a try but it wasn’t long before Warrington had their third try. Riley Dean danced through some suspect Salford defence.
Salford’s Welsh edge combined well just before the break. Elliot Kear finding wing partner Rhys Williams who squeezed in at the corner. Krisnan Inu nailed the touch line conversion. 6-18 at the break.
You got the feeling Salford needed to score first in the second half and they did. Elliot Kear went blind side to score a clever try. Inu again converted off the touch line to put the Red Devils right back in the contest.
Warrington continued to defend stoutly holding Salford up over the line on a number of occasions.
Salford began to take control in the final fifteen minutes as they put their foot on the pedal. A lovely break and good support play saw Tom Gilmore score a debut try leaving Inu a chance to level the scores. Inu has become a very reliable kicker in recent weeks and made no mistake, 18-18.
Inu attempted a drop goals in the closing stages, one went wide and one was charged down.
Unfortunately for the brave Wolves they were penalised with around two minutes remaining leaving Inu a chance to put Salford ahead for the first time in the match. On a night when a draw would probably have been a fair result Inu snatched victory for Salford with his conversion.
Warrington went short with the following kick off but it wasn’t to be.
Salford 20 Warrington 18.