Salford Red Devils succumbed to a second successive Super League defeat as Wakefield Trinity triumphed 14-12 in a nail-biting clash at the Mobile Rocket Stadium on Friday evening.
The hosts were dominant in the early stages and took the lead in the 5th minute when Scott Grix spotted a gap in the Salford backline before breaking 20m to power over the whitewash, Liam Finn successfully kicked the extras to extend the lead to 6-0.
Salford responded well and were unfortunate not to have claimed their first score of the contest less than ten minutes later as Josh Wood attempted to find the onrushing Jake Bibby in the right-hand corner, but the ball was out of the winger’s reach and saw him knock the ball on.
The home side almost claimed their second try of the contest as confusion in Salford’s defence saw Referee James Child call upon Video Referee Ben Thaler to determine whether the ball was touched down by a Wakefield player or not, fortunately Thaler did not award a try.
However, Wakefield extended their lead to an 8-point margin two minutes prior to the interval as Liam Finn converted a penalty in front of the posts.
Salford’s perseverance paid off seven minutes into the second period, an excellent break from Bibby kick-started the move before Rob Lui dived over from acting half-back which appeared to deceive the entire Wakefield line, Gareth O’Brien was unable to score the resulting goal.
Lui’s effort seemed to spur some life into the Salford ranks, seven minutes later The Red Devils levelled the scoring as Junior Sa’u broke down the left-hand side before finding the unchallenged Niall Evalds who had the simple task of crossing the try line, O’Brien again failed to convert the extras.
Despite a good spell of pressure from Salford, Trinity restored their lead after a looping cross-field kick from Ryan Hampshire outwitted everyone but Jacob Miller who caught the high ball before crossing over to claim his first try of the evening, Finn landed the goal to prolong his 100 percent kick record.
Wakefield were denied a try for the second time of the evening in the final ten minutes, Referee Child adjudged Tom Johnstone to have knocked on before the ball was grounded.
Salford showed determination throughout and scored in the final minute of the game as Kris Welham spun around the Wakefield line to touch down in the corner, O’Brien was unable to salvage Salford a point as his goal landed narrowly wide.
Wakefield Lineup: Grix, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone, Miller, Finn, Fifita, Wood, England, Ashurst, Horo, Arona. Interchanges: Hampshire, Kirmond, Pauli, Huby
Salford Lineup: O’Brien, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Evalds, Lui, Littlejohn, Mossop, Wood, Tasi, Jones, Hauraki, McCarthy. Interchanges: Kopczak, Tomkins, Burgess, Nakubuwai
Wakefield Scorers: Tries- Grix (5’), Miller (65’)
Goals- Finn (6’, 37’, 66’)
Salford Scorers: Tries- Lui (47’), Evalds (54’), Welham (80’)
Man of the Match: Weller Hauraki.
Referee: James Child
Touch Judges: J Roberts & R Thompson
By Ryan Booth