Salford arrived in West Yorkshire above Wakefield in the table, however they faced an ever improving Trinity side brimming with confidence.
It was a fine afternoon as the game kicked off with quite a chilly breeze blowing.
Both sides traded sets in the early stages and completed well as the match ebbed and flowed. Salford seemed to be targeting the Trinity left side where Tom Johnstone was on the wing. This would prove a mistake, Johnstone had a wonderful first half and was indeed the difference between the two sides. His pace and power were a lethal combination and helped set the first try of the match up from a nice pass from young centre Corey Hall. Jacob Miller backed up well to wow the home crowd in the eight minute.
Salford’s response was imminent though with Welsh winger Rhys Williams squeezing in the corner from good ball distribution from hooker Andy Ackers.
Marc Sneyd missed the conversion 6-4.
Johnstone scored Wakefield’s second try after he out jumped Ken Sio from a kick to the corner. Max Jowitt extended the hosts lead with a successful conversion 12-4.
Trinity continued to stamp their authority with plenty of good attacks and spells of possession. Salford blew a big chance when Elijah Taylor burst threw but couldn’t find the pass to send the supporting Ryan Brierley over. It was a Red Devils attack that led to the next big moment of the half. Probing the Trinity line Salford we’re hesitant and indecisive. Wakefield swooped up the possession with some great work from Johnstone to go storming down the pitch for a wonderful try. Terrific support play saw Reece Lynne finish off the move with the try.
Former Salford player Liam Hood came close to scoring the hosts fourth try but was short of the line.
The Red Devils took a huge blow right on the half time hooter. Johnstone attacked from around thirty yards out charging through some woeful Salford defending to touchdown. Jowitt made it four from four with the boot to give the home side a convincing twenty point halftime lead 24-4.
To Salford’s relief Wakefield coach Willie Poching decided to rest Johnstone in the second half and he didn’t take to the field as the two sides came back out. With a huge Quarter Final in the Challenge cup at home to Wigan next Sunday Poching obviously wanted to rest his star man who did also take a big knock as he fell awkwardly towards the end of the first half.
Salford started the second half with renewed energy and momentum. Trinity seemed to go in to their shell a little. Perhaps they were content with the lead they had. Deon Cross finished off a nice Salford move to reduce the deficit to 24-10. Brierley, Brodie Croft and Sneyd all linked well in attack and Salford were in again with Ken Sio.
The pressure was mounting and when Trinity tried to fool Salford with a short drop out Williams was well alert to pouch the ball and dash to the line for a clever try. Sneyd missed the conversion to make it just one from four attempts but Salford were now just six points behind with fifteen minutes remaining.
Jay Pitts stopped Salford’s resilient comeback with a very important Trinity try nine minutes from time. This restored the two score lead and put the game to bed.
Ken Sio grabbed his second try in the dying seconds but it wasn’t enough and despite the two sides scoring five tries each Wakefield’s good first half display just about got them home.
Salford now have a break from action next weekend and next play Easter Thursday away at Warrington.
Wakefield 30 Salford 24.
Thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos