What a glorious day Friday was. Possibly the warmest day of the year so far, lovely blue skies and a cup tie to kick off the weekend in the prestigious competition that is the Challenge Cup.
Salford’s only Challenge Cup triumph came in 1938 with a 7-4 win over Barrow at Wembley. Disappointingly for the club and the supporters the wait will go on at least another twelve months.
The Red Devils just couldn’t get going. Credit to Wigan their defence was robust and very well organised. Salford rarely looked like scoring and frustrated themselves with lots of errors which in turn hampered any sort of progress.
Wigan got their first try on the back of a Salford mistake. Liam Byrne powered over through some poor tackling and Zak Hardacker converted 6-0.
Four minutes later Liam Marshall who’s by know means the tallest out jumped the Salford defence to touch down. With fifteen minutes gone Salford were on the back foot 12-0 down.
Salford’s only really threat came when the ball went out wide for Rhys Williams. The welsh winger had little space to work in and Wigan’s cover defence bundled him in touch.
The Warriors extended their lead with a penalty goal. Elijah Taylor was penalised for a high tackle, on first glance this decision looked a little harsh.
The Red Devils were then dealt a huge blow just before half time. James Greenwood who’s had terrible luck with injuries came off badly in a challenge from Thomas LeuIuai. I don’t think that will be the last that’s heard of that incident. Referee Robert Hicks placed it on report. This rounded off a miserable first half for the Salford faithful in the East stand.
The only try of the second half came from a kick through that Salford failed to sweep up. John Bateman touched down to seal the victory and send Wigan comfortably into the Quarter Finals.
Salford coach Paul Rowley fears Greenwood could be missing for a number of months and this leaves them light in the second row with Shane Wright also out injured with his hamstring. It will be interesting to see if the club try and get players in on loan in the near future to boost the squad.
It was a disappointing night to say the least. Wigan were organised and methodical in their approach. They did the basics right and at times rolled Salford down the middle of the pitch. That’s two matches now this season where Salford have failed to score a try.
The Red Devils are back in action next Sunday when they travel to Wakefield to face Willie Poching’s Trinity side.
Wigan 20 Salford 0.
Thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos