As the curtains started to draw on Salford’s 2020 season the clubs final assignment of a very long and testing year was a match with Wakefield Trinity. Since Wakefield’s promotion to Super League at the end of the 1998 season, Salford have won this fixture on just three occasions from 21 attempts. Tonight’s match was very different from previous years and was played once again behind closed doors at Headingley.
It was a very chilly evening just before kick off with plenty of mist in the air and the odd loud boom from the fireworks near by. After thumping Catalans on Monday Salford coach Ian Watson made one or two subtle changes to his side. Sadly departing duo Kris Welham and Joey Lussick both missed out on the seventeen.
Connor Jones started at hooker and Jack Ormondroyd returned in the pack. Another player saying farewell in a Salford shirt tonight was Mark Flanagan. A model of commitment, consistency and quality over the last five seasons he started his final appearance at loose forward.
It was a perfect start for Salford, forcing a drop out from the kick off then on their first attacking set, points machine Krisnan Inu touched down for a try.
The Red Devils looked the more enthusiastic side in the opening exchanges and it was more good work from Inu and Tui Lolohea that set up a try for Niall Evalds. This time Inu converted to put Salford into a 0-10 lead after just ten minutes.
Lolohea’s kicking game was proving very productive and Salford remained very economical in the early stages in both attack and defence.
Against the run of play Wakefield went over through Ben Jones-Bishop but after consulting the video referee no try was the decision.
Trinity did get on the score sheet just after the half hour mark with a try from Ryan Hampshire.
Salford continued to work hard in defence and were rewarded with another excellent try. Nice work from Andy Ackers before Lolohea raced through to score a fine try. Inu goaled it to send his side in at half time 4-22 up.
Inu thought he’d grabbed his second try in the early stages of the second half only to be denied by referee Liam Moore for an obstruction in the build up.
Trinity needed a try desperately and got one on the back of a grubber kick into the in goal area Kelepi Tanginoa touching down.
Another defensive clock off from Salford allowed Wakefield right back in to the match. Ryan Hampshire finished off some good support play but failed to add the conversion leaving themselves with an eight point deficit going into the final fifteen minutes.
Lee Mossop was sent to the sin bin to add to Salford’s worries and as a result Tanginoa crashed over for his second try to put Wakefield right back in the contest. Hampshire converted to leave his side just two points adrift 20-22.
Salford needed to compose themselves after really fluffing their second half scrip. Lolohea forced a drop out then his teasing kick on the last tackle forced a Trinity mistake and Tyrone McCarthy was on hand to snatch the try. Inu goaled it off the touch line to ease Salford nerves.
As the clock ticked down on Salford’s season the defence was solid preventing any real Trinity pressure. Another victory at Headingley but the Red Devils were pushed all the way by a very valiant opposition in the second half.
Wakefield 20 Salford 28