Widnes RLFC

21st Feb 2016 - Salford (A)

21st Feb 2016 (Season: 2016)
Salford (A)
Hanbury Houston Marsh Thompson
Hanbury 2
Drop Goals: 

Match Report

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.

Blockbusting Aussie winger 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 stand-off Robert Liu. 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.

Widnes came back at the home side with enthusiasm that was lacking in the early exchanges, and they were looking at their influential skipper Kevin Brown to conjure something up but the Devils were up to the task.

The Vikings' cause was helped when Gareth O'Brien was yellow carded for a professional foul as Thompson came close after a blistering 70-metre run.

Salford sucked up the pressure and they replied in typical fashion with an effort from winger Johnson who touched down on the left flank.

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 O'Brien had tagged on the conversion.

Things could not have gone any better for Salford as they headed into the break but two lapses of concentration cost them dear and kept Widnes in the game.

The first error was offside at the restart that resulted in Hanbury barging his way over and then just on the stroke of half-time Houston had no problem in powering over three Salford defenders to give Widnes a flicker of hope in the second period at 22-10.

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.

Salford coach Ian Watson backed his side to continue to defy doubters after they claimed another impressive win by beating Super League leaders Widnes 28-20.

The Red Devils following up their thumping victory over St Helens with a hard-fought success to end the Vikings' perfect start to the season.

The hosts came flying out of the blocks and led 22-0 after half-an-hour before holding off a Widnes fightback to seal the win.

Watson, whose side next face a Wigan side looking to bounce back from a heavy loss to Brisbane Broncos, said: "It was a very good win for us. We showed some real resilience in defence, but some of our goal-line defence was good and that got us our win.

"We are trying to learn and build on what we have done and we are now looking forward to Wigan.

"It was important that we backed up from our win at Saints. We need to be a bit smarter on a few things, but overall we have to be happy as we have beaten a very good Widnes side today.

"It's a short turnaround to our game with Wigan next week. Wigan will be smarting a little, but we have to focus on ourselves. They will be looking forward to getting back out there, but so are we. We are looking forward to accepting the challenge.

"We are a bit more of a danger than some people thought we were going to be this year."

Widnes boss Denis Betts admitted his side were blown away by Salford's fast start.

He said: "They came out the blocks pretty quickly and we knew it would be a physical challenge and we didn't match it.

"They have backed up a great performance last week with another one today. It's very difficult for us when we make the start we did.

"There were a few decisions that went our way and a few that didn't, but we didn't do ourselves any justice or give ourselves a good enough chance.

"They showed excellent composure - they had a great 30 minutes. There was one stage in the second half where we could have made a difference, but we couldn't get what we we needed to be. We ran out of steam in the end."

Source: Sporting Life