Salford Red Devils were beaten by World Champions, St Helens this afternoon.
Much like our previous two home fixtures, narrow margins have cost Paul Rowley’s side, with some controversial moments certainly taking centre stage.
Saints got on the board early via a penalty-goal, but from that point on in the first 40, it was all Salford.
A combination of Oliver Partington and Tim Lafai forced an error, with Ryan Brierley’s neat grubber kick allowing us another full set just 20 out.
Sam Stone’s fantastic charging run got us into prime position and some quick hands down the right set through the returning skipper, Kallum Watkins to crash over.
The atmosphere was electric and it got even louder when Joe Burgess chased down a skidding grubber kick from Marc Sneyd to force a drop-out.
From the restart, a chipped kick caught Saints off-guard and Brierley was one step ahead of everyone on the field to collect, and slide under the sticks.
Sneyd added the extras and then two more ten minutes later via a penalty-goal.
There was some resolute defending by Brodie Croft to deny Saints under the sticks and just before the hooter, Sneyd slotted a drop-goal to extend our advantage.
HALF-TIME: Salford Red Devils 15-2 St Helens
Five minutes into the second period, a crazy passage of play completely turned the tide.
Tee Ritson made a break down the left and Croft’s superman, try-saving tackle seemed to bundle the Saints winger out of touch.
The referee disagreed, waved play-on and Deon Cross was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul, after pulling back Jonny Lomax.
Salford had to defend tough and for the most part did.
The pressure eventually told; albeit in – again – very controversial fashion. Morgan Knowles spilled the ball after a strong tackle and the ricochet bounced kindly for Matty Lees to claim and slide under the sticks.
There was no faulting Salford’s defensive efforts. Brierley in particular cleaned up a lot of testing kicks and Sneyd’s 40-20 was a huge pressure-reliever at a crucial time.
Cross returned to the field, but the ten minutes of pure graft was starting to show and despite Stone somehow keeping out Jack Welsby, quick hands on the next play allowed Tommy Makinson to go over in the right corner.
The World Champions took control of the contest and Welsby was over again ten minutes later when he spotted a gap in the Salford line – a try that proved to be the difference come the full-time hooter.
Rowley’s men will dust themselves down and go-again against an in-form Huddersfield Giants in just under a fortnight.
FULL-TIME: Salford Red Devils 15-18 St Helens