For the second week running Salford coach Paul Rowley had the luxury of naming the same twenty one man squad. Last week’s victory at Huddersfield had put smiles back on faces and help to reignite the Red Devils playoff hopes. Looking at the League table it’s so close at the moment and a win over Wakefield would set Salford up nicely for the remaining four fixtures of the run in.
Salford’s line up was identical to the side that beat Huddersfield last Friday. Trinity lined up with with Mason Lino and the experienced Luke Gale in the halves. Former Salford centre Josh Griffin started and the talented Max Jowitt was at fullback. David Fifita and Kevin Proctor made the bench.
Weather wise it was a pleasant evening cooler than of late with a gentle breeze. Perfect conditions for Rugby League and as ever the immaculate pitch looked like a very expensive green carpet.
Salford made their intentions known right from the kick off. The ball went wide early in the tackle count as the Red Devils chanced their arm against a Trinity side low on confidence. It was a super Kallum Watkins pass that set up the games first try. Ryan Brierley was in support as Salford struck straight through the middle of Wakefield. Marc Sneyd converted, 6-0.
Gradually Wakefield crept into the match and enjoyed plenty of possession. Thy did however lack that cutting edge. Passes went to ground and their timing was way off the pace. Sneyd caught Lino late after a kick and the Trinity stand off took exception chasing Sneyd up the pitch. The two of them continued to niggle each other which added to the competitive nature of the first half. Wakefield rarely threatened but they worked hard in defence and showed a lot of courage and dogged determination.
Sneyd added a penalty goal to extend the lead to 8-0 before a wonderful passage of play down the left edge. Joe Burgess shot through a gap and looked to turn Trinity fullback Jowitt inside out. Jowitt managed to ankle tap Burgess when a try looked certain. The Red Devils deserved their 8-0 half time lead and really should of posted more points.
Former Salford back rower Matty Ashurst broke early in the second half but once again Trinity lacked conviction and the chance went begging.
Salford’s defence looked strong and well organised. When that enthusiastic defence forced Trinity to drop out the visitors attempted a short kick. This went badly wrong, Andy Ackers pocketed the kick and had an easy run to the line to score. Sneyd converted and the trap door was almost closed on Wakefield’s chances.
Trinity seemed a shadow of the team that beat Salford two months ago at Belle vue. In fact they’ve looked a completely different team away from home this season.
As the clock counted down Ken Sio broke clear and the script looked to be written for him to score on his one hundredth Salford appearance. Sio didn’t quite have the legs but Brierley was in support to finish the chance scoring his second try to thrill the crowd. Sneyd converted off the touch line to wrap the two points up.
After three close home defeats it was finally a welcome victory for Salford. It wasn’t the most polished performance you will see but at this stage of the season a scruffy victory is better than a glorious defeat.
Wakefield live to fight another day but with four games remaining and two points behind Castleford with an inferior points difference time is running out on Trinity’s top flight ambitions.
Salford stay sixth place in the League table with a tough trip to Wigan next Friday. The supporters can enjoy the bank holiday weekend after a job well done and the added bonus of keeping Wakefield scoreless.
Salford 20 Wakefield 0.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos.