RED DEVILS RESERVES OVERCOME SETBACKS TO SECURE WIN

Salford 23  Wakefield 16                         Match Report

Two first half tries, one from fullback, Nathan Connell and the other by centre, Josh Wagstaffe, put the Salford Red Devils Reserves on their way to a home victory over Wakefield Trinity Reserves, last Saturday, after they had weathered early pressure from the visitors in the initial arm-wrestle.

The first of these came in the fifteenth minute when Wagstaffe scythed through the defence to put Connell, over, go round towards the posts, and give scrum-half, Kai Morgan, a straight forward kick at goal.

Seven minutes later, it was Wagstaffe’s individual skill which enabled him to spin round and wrong-foot the Trinity defence, after the ball had been moved to the left of the field, this time too far out for the conversion attempt to be successful.

The Red Devils dominance was by now so evident that they were able to force a Wakefield knock-on under their own posts, on thirty minutes, which resulted in the Reds gaining further possession from the resultant goal-line drop-out, and then as the clock was running down towards the final moments of the half, Morgan took advantage of having possession near Trinity’s line to drop a goal, and take the half-time score to 11-0.

It is almost inevitable, in by far and away the majority of games, that the momentum will suddenly swing away from one team to the other, and Saturday’s encounter was no different in this respect, upon the resumption.

Still taking the game to their opponents it was a well-intended pass, after only five minutes, which was intercepted by a Wakefield three-quarter, on his own twenty metre line, who sped down the left wing to open his team’s account with a converted try under the posts.

Dramatic turnaround as this was, things got a whole lot more unsettling as the visitors exploited this new-found scoring potential on their left flank, and, in their very next set, succeeded in launching yet another, almost identical, clean break down this wing.  This time, Connell was in position to stall the approach with a well-executed tackle, but a quick play-the-ball set the visitors off on a continuation of the attack to score by the posts and, with the added goal, take an 11-12 lead.

Now on the crest of a wave, Trinity revelled in a surfeit of possession, and on 51mins Connell was called upon again to snuff out another Wakefield break.  Four minutes later, however, there was no denying them as they crossed for a third try, this time in the right-hand corner, to stretch their lead to five points.

Things were beginning to look quite bleak for the Red Devils, especially when Jamie Pye, who alongside fellow prop, Jordan Brown, had been quite magnificent, had to retire with injury.  

Under such setbacks, many a team would have cracked, but step forward John Hutchings who had come off the bench to the second-row, and who now moved to prop to fill the gap.  Add, also the return to the fray of Ben Hellewell, and, credit to the Salford players they all stuck to their task of making the hard yardage up the field, completing their sets.

All of this consequently turned the game around in their favour, on 60 mins, when stand-off, Joe Purcell, fooled the Wakefield defence into thinking he was about to pass the ball to Brown, but instead shot through the gap that had opened up, to score under the posts.  Morgan made no mistake in putting Salford back in front, at 17-16.

Indeed, they came very close to scoring again, on 68 mins, only for the try in the corner to be disallowed for a forward pass, but the highly talented youngsters, Morgan and Connell, combined to put the game to bed, on 71 mins. 

On the last tackle of the set, Morgan showed great vision to notice that the Wakefield fullback had been sucked out of position, so he carried the ball forward to put in an overhead kick to just short of the try line, and Connell appeared from nowhere to dive onto the ball, and, despite the best efforts of a couple of Wakefield defenders, roll sideways over the try-line to ground it.  Just for good measure, Morgan added the goal-points from one of his more difficult kicks.

They then had just one more scare to overcome, when an end-of-set Wakefield kick to the left corner was taken by one of their chasers, close to the Salford line, but Ethan Fitzgerald, who had come onto the wing to counter the Trinity threat on their left wing, was equal to the task and forced the carrier into touch with a magnificent try-saving tackle.

SALFORD:

Connell, Egan, Hammond, Wagstaffe, Nofoaluma, Purcell, Morgan, Brown, Yates, Pye, Davies, McCurrie, Hellewell

Interchanges

Fitzgerald, Hutchings, Appleby, Wells

18th Man: Davidson

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