Two Rhyse Martin penalty-goals were the difference, as Salford Red Devils fell to a narrow defeat against Leeds Rhinos.
In what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive Betfred Super League campaigns in years, just eight points separates Catalans Dragons at the top, and Hull KR in eighth.
Paul Rowley was able to recall Ryan Brierley, Brodie Croft and Andy Ackers after their respective knocks, but lost skipper, Kallum Watkins to a injury of his own.
Deon Cross started really lively and put in a strong tackle that got Salford on the front foot. A few tackles later, Marc Sneyd tried to threaten the Rhinos line, but his short pass was spilled by Jack Ormondroyd.
Leeds took advantage of the metres and opened the scoring. Cameron Smith jogged across the line and darted into a wide-open gap to score.
Salford tried to respond and Sneyd’s high bomb was batted back by Cross. Brierley picked up the loose ball and made a dash for the corner, only to be nudged out of play by Richie Myler.
The Red Devils were starting to find their groove and Tim Lafai’s combination with Joe Burgess was proving a nightmare for the Rhinos to deal with.
A quick move from right to left allowed Croft the space to stab a grubber kick through to Lafai, who took his time to collect and ground.
Ten minutes later, Leeds hit back when Myler found Ash Handley in some space to charge past his man and slide over in the left corner.
Martin failed to convert, but made no mistake with his penalty-goal when Salford were penalised for one of eleven penalties across the contest.
HALF-TIME: Salford Red Devils 4-12 Leeds Rhinos
After the interval, Salford came out fast and cut the deficit with the exact same combination as our first try.
Croft cut the Rhinos defence open with a deft grubber kick and Lafai latched onto the bobbling ball to ground. Brierley – taking over kicking duties – added the extras from out wide.
It was only a few minutes later until we were over again. Croft’s high bomb was claimed well by Ken Sio and he raced over for career try number 98 in Super League.
A scuffle between both sets of players ended with Chris Atkin and Mikolaj Oledzki seeing yellow, but it was two further penalties that ultimately hurt Salford.
Martin had the simple task of converting from under the posts – twice – and handed his side a crucial two points.
FULL-TIME: Salford Red Devils 14-16 Leeds Rhinos
Photo credit: Steve McCormick