Salford Red Devils were edged out in a high-scoring match against Hull FC at the KCOM Stadium.
A dramatic finale, with tries from Jake Bibby and Niall Evalds in the last five minutes, saw Salford get within three points of completing a comeback, but their hosts held on to secure the victory.
Salford almost opened the scoring through Ken Sio, but play was called back for a tap on the Hull 20.
The hosts then punished the Red Devils with tree tries in quick succession. Albert Kelly got the ball down beneath the posts, before Jake Connor and Mark Minichiello finished of breaks down the right and left channels respectively.
Salford made a double change, with Adam Walker and Pauli Pauli entering the field. The impact was immediate, with Pauli forcing his way over to get his side on the scoreboard.
Kelly swung the momentum back in favour of the hosts, before Jake Bibby dived over in the right corner to ensure the game did not get away from the Red Devils. Krisnan Inu then converted from the touchline, meaning the difference was back to two scores with 28 minutes gone.
Jamie Shaul then raced away to give the hosts another try at the end of a high-scoring half.
Half-time: Hull FC 28-12 Salford Red Devils
The Red Devils started the second-half brightly, with Rob Lui struggling over and grounding the ball with a determined effort.
43' SALFORD TRY!!!
Rob Lui forces his way over to score for Salford. Krisnan Inu's conversion goes wide.
— Salford Red Devils (@SalfordDevils) June 7, 2019
Evalds then went close to adding another, but was forced into touch by Hull’s defence, before Marc Sneyd restored the hosts’ three score cushion with a drop-goal in the 63rd minute.
A 90-metre-break from Ratu Naulago then extended Hull’s lead further, before Salford cut it back once again. Pauli Pauli crashed over in a similar fashion to his try from the first half.
Tempers flared in the final ten minutes of the game, with Chris Green and Adam Walker sin-binned before Hull’s Josh Griffin was shown red.
Salford took advantage of their extra-man. Bibby found his way over down the right flank and then Evalds dived in to cut the gap to three points with two minutes remaining, but Hull managed to hold on and take the win.
The Red Devils’ focus now turns to their return to the AJ Bell Stadium. Tickets for the match against Wakefield Trinity are available here HERE.
Hull tries: Kelly (8, 25), Connor (11), Minichiello (14), Shaul (35), Naulago (65)
Hull goals: Sneyd (5/7)
Hull drop-goals: (1/1)
Sin-bin: Chris Green (74)
Sent-off: Josh Griffin (75)
Salford tries: Pauli (16, 70), Bibby (28, 76), Lui (42), Evalds (78)
Salford goals: Krisnan Inu (4/5)
Sin-bin: Adam Walker (74)
Hull FC: Shaul, Faraimo, Griffin, Connor, Naulogo, Kelly, Sneyd, Green, Houghton, Paea, Minichiello, Manu, Westerman, Bowden, Hadley, Fash, Savelio
Salford Red Devils: Evalds, Sio, Welham, Inu, Bibby, Lui, Hastings, Murray, Lussick, Dudson, Jones, Griffin, Burke, Walker, McCarthy, Tomkins, Pauli
Referee: Liam Moore