Salford continue Super League progress
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, Feb 21 Salford underlined their ambitious Super League credentials with a hard-fought 28-20 win over top-of-the-table Widnes at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Tim Sheens’ side made it two wins from three with a very efficient 80 minutes against the high-flying Vikings who had their perfect start to their 2016 campaign shattered.
A sensational first-half effort from the home side was the foundation for this victory. They led 22-0 after half-an-hour before letting Widnes back into it just before the break to make a game of it.
The Red Devils should have had things sewn up by the break after tries from Justin Carney, Mark Flanagan, Greg Johnson and Josh Griffin had put them in charge.
Widnes fought back to give them a shot at it in the second period as the impressive Rhys Hanbury and Chris Houston pulled two scores back.
Stef Marsh and Corey Thompson put them to within two points with 10 minutes to go with opportunist tries, but Salford held on with Flanagan having the final say four minutes from time.
Salford got off to a dream start with two tries in the space of six minutes as Widnes got caught cold right from the off.
Carney plundered the first points of the day after four minutes as Salford fizzed the ball from right to left with Michael Dobson sending over Carney after Marsh stepped out of the line for Widnes.
Dobson added the extras and was called into again as the Red Devils split the Widnes defence in two after a weaving run from Robert Lui.
It was his pass that sent Jones clear and right over the top of Charly Runciman and on his way to a solo score under the posts.
The Red Devils were not done and they registered their fourth try of the afternoon as Griffin rampaged over the top of his opposite number Chris Bridge to make it 22-0.
After a half-time ear bashing from Widnes boss Denis Betts, the visitors came out fighting and they put themselves well and truly back in it as mini atom, Hanbury, sprinted clear to deliver a delightful offload to Marsh who scooted in for his 50th career try.
The Red Devils hit back with some classy footwork and skill from Johnson who would have scored were it not for Hanbury’s excellent try-saving tackle a yard from the line.
Thompson got another back for the Vikings to make it interesting, but Salford had enough in the tank to see it out, with Flanagan crashing over at the death.
Wakefield ensured history did not repeat itself as they claimed their first win of the season with a 14-12 victory at Hull KR.
The Wildcats were the opponents when Rovers made a winning start to Super League in 2007 courtesy of a 14-9 success.
Rovers marked their 10th season in the top flight by reducing ticket prices to create an atmosphere similar to that night, but it was another day to forget for the Robins.
With both sides looking for their first win of 2016, it was the Wildcats who claimed the two points in a very scrappy affair.