A final ten minutes of ascendency by the Warrington Wolves brought to an end the most heartwarming of fightbacks, by Salford’s Reserve players, who had hitherto dominated the second half proceedings. For indeed, this was, in some respects, almost two games in one, with the first half featuring a number of first team players of both sides, while the second half was given over, predominantly, to the Reserve squads of each club.
The resultant outcome on the field was a most enthusiastic and entertaining contest and tribute to our highly respected former player, and captain. Lee Mossop, over the eighty minutes, though with some quite interesting differences in emphasis, strengths, and dominance between the two forty minute periods. There was also the added interest of the return of scrums, the very first of which was won by the Wolves, and led, indirectly, to their first try, in the third minute.
After having been caught a little cold at the outset, the Red Devils’ defence was then put under some significant pressure by their hosts, for a full ten minutes, as a result of two set-restarts, two penalties, and two goal-line drop-outs, all of which favoured the Wolves.
Salford’s response, however, was magnificent as they repelled each wave of attack, until eventually they were able to regain possession and counter-attack, then going very close to scoring, before the momentum balanced out and the two sides got into the grind of an arm wrestle, for almost twenty minutes.
When this was eventually broken it was the Reds who did so, with a try by Ryan Lannon, shortly before the interval, bringing them to within two points of the home side, and, if only they could have held on to that differential, the team would have been well-placed for the second period.
Unfortunately, the mistiming of a pass, on the restart, gave Warrington possession, and, from the resultant scrum, Ellis Robson scored by the posts, for his side to troop off at the interval, eight points to the good.
Despite an almost identical a start to the second stanza, as their more experienced counterparts had undergone in the first half, with an opening score to the Wolves putting them 16-4 into the lead, the young Salford players responded most creditably. Putting their best foot forward, they took the game by the scruff of the neck, secured a dominance of possession, which gave them momentum and good field position thereby penning Warrington close to their own line for an eight minute spell, which culminated in their scoring their second try of the match, this time from left winger, Joseph Brady.
Having found a way of containing their opposition, the Salford lads set about repeating the process, and, after a further period in almost complete control, they pulled back to within two points, when Jacob Lee scored to the left of the posts, and Jack Stevens converted.
Sadly, this score only served to sting the Wolves into a somewhat urgent response, and another early Salford error, upon the resumption, gifted them possession, through which they promptly restored their six point lead, which soon became ten, and finally sixteen.
There was, nevertheless, much about which to be positive in the overall Salford performance over the full eighty minutes, and for all the players involved, it has to be said that to go to a top flight club such as Warrington, who must surely have high aspirations for themselves, at both Super League and Reserve levels, and then match them throughout, is most praiseworthy, and augers well for the coming season for both sets of Salford players.