Playing St.Helens is a pretty stern test most times but backing up a couple of days after a bruising encounter with Wigan made tonight’s match even tougher for Salford.
It was a showery afternoon in West Yorkshire with quite a heavy down pour an hour before kick off leaving the playing surface fairly greasy.
Dan Sarginson returned to the Salford starting line up after his isolation period. Ed Chamberlain started in the centre and the only other significant change from last Friday’s match saw Connor Jones make the bench.
St.Helens coach Kristian Woolf also made changes to his side handing debuts to five young players, Nico Rizzelli, Ben Davies and Tom Nisbett all in the starting thirteen. Matty Foster and Jake Wingfield made the bench.
With the clocks changing yesterday their was a really winter feel to this match as we approach November.
Saints got off to the perfect start. Young hooker Josh Eaves scoring after good build up play from Dom Peyroux.
Salford struggled to complete sets early on with a few knock ons hampering their progress. Penalised for a ball steal Saints took advantage and kicked the goal to extend their lead to 8-0.
Saints were playing with a little more enthusiasm, running harder, tackling with purpose and moving at a quicker tempo. Another Dodd penalty made the score 10-0. From the restart Krisnan Inu kicked out on the full to sum up a miserable opening twenty minutes.
It was just over half an hour before Salford’s first real threatening attack. A repeat set but a knock on stopped the pressure.
Saints continued to chance their arm and sometimes over played it slightly.
Salford with not much structure to their play grabbed a try right on half time when Pauli Pauli powered over on the back of a Saints mistake. Inu booted the conversion to send his side in just four points adrift at half time.
Both sides went toe to toe in the second half, trading sets in what became a real physical arm wrestle.
Quick hands from Saints provided a chance in the right corner. The video referee was consulted and no try was awarded.
Luke Yates dropped a bullet pass with a real chance on just before the hour mark.
A tremendous cover tackle from Dan Sarginson saved a certain as the game remained on a knife edge entering the final quarter.
A panicked last tackle Saints kick sailed out on the full and in the next set Tui Lolohea was tackled inches short.
A Saints knock on under pressure deep in their own half provides Salford a chance. Pauli Pauli gets out a super offload and Inu does an amazing job to bump off his opponent and stay in the field of play. Inu then booted the goal off the touch line to give Salford the lead for the first time in the match.
Saints attack frantically at the death but super Salford defence saves the day.
Salford 12 St Helens 10