A spirited Salford Red Devils were beaten 30-24 by Wakefield Trinity in Round 7 of the Betfred Super League at the Be Well Support Stadium.
The Red Devils almost managed to pull off a stunning comeback in the second 40 after trailing 24-4 at the break, but Trinity were able to get over the line in a tense affair on Sunday afternoon.
After a back and forth opening eight minutes, Wakefield took the lead when Sam Johnstone found some space to break on the left. His run allowed time for Jacob Miller to receive an offload and stroll over the line.
There was an instant response by the Red Devils from the restart. Charging downfield, they put pressure on the Wakefield backline and forced a mistake. From the resulting scrum, they worked the ball left and Rhys Williams was able to dive over in the left corner.
The hosts retook the lead after Johnstone was first to a high kick from Miller in the left corner – Max Jowitt adding the extras.
Salford were putting massive pressure on the Wakefield try-line, but a rapid break that was started by Johnstone, ended with Reece Lyne skipping past a few challenges, and extending the lead.
Paul Rowley’s side were hit by a further blow just before the break, with Johnstone cutting inside from the left and racing through the middle, just to the right of the sticks.
Half-time: Wakefield Trinity 24 – 4 Salford Red Devils
Salford returned from the break fresh and determined to make their mark straight away. After a sustained period of pressure, some quick passing from left to right ended with Deon Cross skipping a challenge and reducing the deficit.
Salford were piling on more and more pressure, and Ken Sio scored his ninth try of the Betfred Super League season moments later – again in the right corner.
More brilliant defending resulted in Salford forcing another goal-line dropout. From the restart, Williams applied the pressure, plucked the ball out of the air, and touched down to send the Red Devils within one try of levelling the scores.
Wakefield broke the Salford momentum with 12 minutes to play, when another grubber kick was latched onto by Jay Pitts.
Sio went over again right on the final whistle after a Ryan Brierley offload, but there wasn’t time to restart, and Wakefield held on to a narrow victory.
Full-time: Wakefield Trinity 30–24 Salford Red Devils
Wakefield: Jowitt, Johnstone, Hall, Lyne, Kay, Miller, Lino, Batchelor, Ashurst, Pitts, Arona, Hood, Tanginoa, Whitbread, Battye, Crowther, Aydin.
Salford: Brierley, Williams, Cross, Lafai, Sio, Croft, Sneyd, Vuniyayawa, Ackers, Gerrard, Taylor (C), Lannon, Ormondroyd, Akauola, Burke, Atkin, Luckley.
Wakefield tries: Miller (8’), Johnstone (18’,39’), Lyne (33’), Pitts (68’)
Salford tries: Williams (11’, 62’), Cross (46’), Sio (54’, 80’)
Wakefield goals: Jowitt (5/5)
Salford goals: Sneyd (2/5)
Written by: Harry Siddall
Image credit: Steve McCormick