Salford fell to a narrow 24-20 in a hard-fought Super League fixture with Castleford Tigers at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
A second consecutive double from Jake Bibby alongside tries from Jansin Turgut and Joey Lussick weren’t quite enough to earn two points for Ian Watson’s men. Nathan Massey, Jordan Rankin, Greg Eden and Jesse Sene-Lefao scored Castleford’s tries.
Massey opened the scoring as he collected a low kick from Jake Trueman inside the opening ten minutes. Castleford furthered their lead midway through the half as Rankin capitalised on a mistake at the back from the Red Devils. Rankin converted both tries.
The Red Devils did get themselves on the scoresheet after 25 minutes with Bibby forcing his way over. Some flowing attacking play involving Rob Lui, Niall Evalds and Jackson Hastings gave the centre time to take on the Castleford line and find the line.
Paul McShane would spend ten minutes in the sin-bin for Castleford as he was the first man to run into an altercation in the middle of the field. However, Salford couldn’t take advantage and went into the break trailing by eight points.
The hosts started the second half the quicker as Eden managed to get around the outside of the Red Devils defence to further the Tigers lead. Rankin converted. But Ian Watson’s men wouldn’t lie down and replied with two tries in quick succession.
Turgut scored his first try for Salford as he stepped back inside to evade the onrushing Castleford defenders. Lussick converted.
Moments later, Jackson Hastings broke free of the Tigers defence and looked to find Lussick but the hooker was brought down off the ball by Alex Foster however referee Rob Hicks deemed a penalty sufficient. Salford did capitalise as Lussick saw a gap and fought his way over for his fourth try of the season.
Trailing by two points, Salford continued to push but it was Castleford who found themselves on the scoresheet next. Sene-Lefao burst through a gap in the Red Devils line to score. Rankin missed the conversion but would make amends a few minutes later as he kicked a penalty goal.
The Red Devils wouldn’t say die and – with seven minutes remaining – Bibby crossed for his second of the game after some great attacking play from halfback Hastings. Lussick’s conversion went wide of the posts and, unfortunately, Salford wouldn’t get another attacking opportunity.
Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Sio, Bibby, Welham, Olpherts; Lui, Hastings; Murray, Lussick, Dudson, Jones, Turgut, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Griffin, Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Walker.
Castleford Tigers: Matu’utia, Minikin, Foster, Shenton, Eden; Trueman, Rankin; Watts, McShane, Moors, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, Massey.
Interchanges: Milner, Cook, Egodo, Clarkson.
Salford Tries: Bibby (24’, 73’), Turgut (50’), Lussick (54’)
Salford Goals: Lussick (51’ 56’)
Castleford Tries: Massey (7’), Rankin (18’), Eden (47’), Sene-Lefao (61’)
Castleford Goals: Rankin (8’, 19’, 48’, 65’)
Castleford Sin-Bin: McShane (28’)
Referee: Robert Hicks.