For everyone who remembers the Easter fixture between Leigh and Salford in 2008, well today was certainly the complete opposite weather wise!
The two sides warmed up in glorious sunshine and pleasant temperatures. Once again the Salford supporters travelled in good numbers to create a buzzing atmosphere behind the sticks prior to kick off.
The Red Devils were boosted by the return of Andy Ackers and despite a nasty rib injury last Sunday Joe Burgess started on the wing.
After a solid opening and a good few sets defended Salford were opened up by the Leopards on their left edge. A floated pass found Josh Charnley and he finished superbly in the corner. Ben Reynolds missed the conversion but shortly after made amends with a penalty goal, 6-0.
Salford hit back with the perfect response. Ryan Brierley measured a delicate kick for Ken Sio to pounce. Marc Sneyd hit the post with the conversion but Salford’s tails were up.
After forcing a drop out Salford cranked the pressure up on the home side. Sam Stone produced a super try from nothing with a great step to fool the Leigh defence.
The introduction of Chris Atkin added an extra dimension to the Red Devils. Atkin is an astute operator and the extra pivot role gave Leigh a massive headache.
Atkin slotted in at loose forward and his pass sent Shane Wright on the gallop and Brodie Croft backed up well to score a fine try. Sneyd converted to give Salford a ten point advantage which they took into the halftime break, 6-16.
Leigh started the second half with a renewed intensity. Brierley came up with a super try saving tackle but was sin binned in the aftermath. Salford defended desperately and at times it was heroic. Eventually Leigh found the space and Luke Briscoe touched down. Reynolds failed to convert leaving Leigh six points adrift.
Salford needed a big play to cut loose and that’s exactly what they got. Tyler Dupree run a perfect line to hit the ball on the burst and no one was going to stop him as he powered over with the biggest grin in the stadium. Dupree is becoming a real favourite with the supporters with his all action, hard working performances and the lad can certainly play.
The video referee was called upon to check Josh Charnley’s effort. No try was given on the field but after a good few minutes checking the replay the try was awarded.
Dupree was caught high deep in the Leigh half and both sides came together in a heated few minutes. The referee eventually awarded Salford the penalty. They decided to run it but the ball ended up in touch.
As the clock counted down Reynolds took a slice of good fortune to score a try which he converted to leave Leigh two points behind with eleven seconds to play. Salford kicked off and repelled one last Leopards attack to clinch a very well deserved victory.
The Red Devils have now won three games on the road and will be hoping for some home comforts against an improving Castleford Tigers side next Thursday.
Leigh 20 Salford 22.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos.