After two defeats on the road in Yorkshire, Salford were looking for some home comforts on their return to the AJ Bell Stadium. Visitors Hull Kingston Rovers had just one victory from their first four matches and were also looking to kickstart their 2022 season.
After a much pleasanter week weather wise the rain had returned leaving a pretty damp and grey evening just before kick off.
Salford coach Paul Rowley made a couple of changes with Tim Lafai returning to replace Matty Costello at centre. James Greenwood came back in after injury and Danny Addy started at loose forward with Elijah Taylor on the bench.
Alex Gerrard also made the bench with Rowley opting for four forwards.
The Robins had Will Dagger at fullback for the injured Lachlan Coote. Jordan Abdull and Mikey Lewis were the half backs with Matt Parcell at hooker.
The pitch looked in good shape as the match kicked off, perhaps a touch greasy which would help a clever kicking game.
Salford were pinged by early penalties and the Robins thought they’d scored a try but referee Jack Smith ruled it out.
It was a short kick that brought the first try. Salford couldn’t deal with it and Elliot Minchella scored under the posts.
Jordan Abdull’s huge high kicks were also causing Salford problems. The Robins scrum half booted them right into the night sky and they were difficult to see in the glow of the floodlights.
Ken Sio went sniffing a try from a Ryan Brierley kick but Ryan Hall cleaned up the loose ball.
The visitors increased their lead with a soft try close to the line. Matty Storton took a flat pass and crashed over. Abdull converted 0-12.
Another high Abdull kick caught Brierley out and he spilled the ball. On the next set Ryan Lannon was sin binned for the second week running to add the Salford’s problems. The Red Devils were conceding set restarts at an alarming rate. Another kick through and Mikey Lewis scored. Abdull converted as the hooter sounded for half time.
Salford were desperately searching for points and a Rovers mistake deep in their own half provided the opportunity. The ball flew to the right and a text book finish from Ken Sio got Salford off the mark. Sneyd floated the conversion over off the touch line, 6-18.
Sio looked so lively every time he had the ball the crowd felt something could happen.
Salford began to grow in confidence and were in again when Sneyd measured a perfect kick for Shane Wright to tough down. Sneyd surprisingly missed the conversion and Salford then coughed the kick off up to present Rovers with a chance. The visitors cranked the pressure up forcing a drop out and then claiming another set. The game then burst into life with another almighty twist. Sneyd raced away with an interception turned Ryan Hall inside out and Joe Burgess was in support to score. Sneyd bagged the goal 16-18 with seventeen minutes remaining.
One man who seemed to give Salford that bit more grunt down the middle was Alex Gerrard. His strong running was helping to gain valuable field position and he put in a hard working shift in the pack.
Out of nothing the Robins plucked a try with Lewis going over for his second try. Salford caught short by another kick. Abdull made it four from four with the conversions to give the Robins an eight point cushion.
Salford began to force the pass and chance their arm. They had no choice with the clock counting down time was against them.
Rovers half back combination of Lewis and Abdull toyed with the Red Devils at times. As the final hooter sounded Abdull kicked a penalty to finish a good nights work for his side.
Salford 16 Hull Kingston Rovers 26.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos