Salford City Reds v Wigan Warriors
30th March 2012 5.30pm
Salford City Reds ran out 38-34 winners in this Valvoline Cup tie despite a late Amos Roberts try, which proved to be not enough to avoid defeat as Wigan paid the price for a slow start.
After the poor start, which saw Salford race into an 18-6 lead after just 12 minutes, the Warriors found enough rhythm to draw level until just before the break, despite being generally unconvincing by their own high standards.
The City Reds only had to wait 2 minutes to get on the scoresheet as Theo Fages strolled through some slack defending to score beneath the posts, and a Forty-20 kick shortly after wards provided the ideal opportunity to set Jon Ford up to extend their lead. Marc Sneyd's boot adding a second conversion to make it 12-0.
Wigan full-back, Jack Murphy, managed to strike back for Wigan, but straight from the following kick-off, Salford's Fages added to his tally by collecting the bounce and running in unopposed.
It could have been worse for Wigan as Murphy missed a Sneyd kick and Salford re-gathered the bounce, but they couldn't quite score as Alex Davidson was held up.
The ferocious start by the home side seemed to jostle the Warriors into moving into gear and John O'Donnell broke on 22 minutes after snatching a shallow kick through to race in from his own half.
A period of indiscipline by the City Reds then allowed Wigan to make further territorial gains and it eventually paid off when Scott Leatherbarrow snuck in under the posts from a couple of yards out. Murphy made the simple conversion to tie the scores, but a penalty in the dying moments of the half allowed Sneyd to edge Salford in front for the interval.
After a physical start to the second half, where Wigan had to defend well not to allow the home side in after conceding two goal line drop-outs, Scott Leatherbarrow leapt to win the ball from a kick attacking the Wigan line to break clear from danger. On the next play, Ryan King broke to feed a pass to Anthony Gelling, who then sent Amos Roberts in the clear for a great try to put Wigan in front for the first time.
Murphy couldn't quite get the distance on the conversion, but raced in for his second try on the hour as broke through from his own half to score under the posts.
With a eight point lead, the Warriors finally looked to be taking control of the game, but Salford found the confidence which put them in such a commanding position in the first half to hit back with three unanswered tries.
Hooker, Adam Files, started the fightback with a try from dummy half, before Adam Sidlow put them back in front with twelve minutes to go.
Victory was sealed for the home side when substitute, Alex Davidson, bulldozed through to put his name on the scoresheet. Sneyd kicked his seventh goal from seven to complete the home side's scores, but a desperate last ditch attack from Wigan saw the ball move throught six pairs of hands for Roberts to grab the late consolation.
Salford City Reds:
Niall Evalds, Ross Pendlebury, Andy Morris, Jon Ford, Jack Holmes, Theo Fages, Marc Sneyd, Adam Walne, Adam Files, Adam Sidlow, Callum Marriot, David Stephenson, Will Hope
Replacements: Chris Hankinson, Adam Neal, Adam Dybdall, Alex Davidson
Jack Murphy, Amos Roberts, Anthony Gelling, John O'Donnell, Ryan King, Scott Leatherbarrow, Liam Fishwick, Greg Burke, Liam Carberry, Dom Crosby, Connor Farrell, Rhodri Lloyd, Kieron Harrison
Andrew Cunningham, Drew Johnson, James Greenwood, Rob Lever
Salford City Red:
Tries: Fages 2, Ford, Files, Sidlow, Davidson
Tries: Murphy 2, O'Donnell, Leatherbarrow, Roberts 2
Goals: Murphy 4