Salford 34 Catalan Dragons 30: Reds launch stunning fightback
21:39 GMT, 1 June 2012
Two tries: Salford's Jodie Broughton
Salford claimed their second big-name scalp within a week with a sensational comeback victory over the Catalan Dragons.
Salford followed up their Magic
Weekend win over Huddersfield by denying Catalan the chance to move into
second spot in the Stobart Super League table and continue their own
push for a play-off place.
The Reds looked down and out as they
were blitzed in the opening exchanges and conceded four tries to trail
20-0 after just 24 minutes.
But the hosts then scored 28 points
without reply, despite being down to 11 men at one stage, as Daniel
Holdsworth and Vinnie Anderson were both sin-binned for dissent by
referee Steve Ganson.
Then in a frantic finale Catalan looked like getting the upper hand when Remi Casty touched down.
But back came the Reds and Jodie
Broughton's second try of the game on 70 minutes, converted by
Holdsworth gave the Reds an eight-point cushion which meant Vincent
Duport's late try was not enough for the Dragons.
Salford kept with the same 17 that
defeated Huddersfield 38-34 at the Magic Weekend with just one
positional change as Anderson started in the second row and Chris Nero
dropped to the bench.
Catalan picked up a number of
injuries during their win over London at the Etihad Stadium with Clint
Greenshields, Jamal Fakir and Mathias Pala all ruled out to add to
long-term absentees Damien Blanch, Setaimata Sa and Frederic Vaccari.
But the French side were given a triple boost by the return of Daryl Millard, Gregory Mounis and David Ferriol after their injury problems.
And it was Catalan who exploded out of the blocks with some excellent attacking play that saw them cross for two tries in the opening seven minutes.
Dureau instigated a crisp passing move along the line that ended with winger Millard crossing for the opening try of the night.
And it got even better for the Dragons two minutes later when a rampaging 40 metre midfield break by loose forward Jason Baitieri set up Scott Dureau to touch down, to which the scrum-half added the conversion to make it 10-0.
The Dragons continued to boss the opening exchanges and claimed their third try of the half on 16 minutes when more excellent passing between Sureau and Thomas Bosc created the space for winger Cyril Stacul to squeeze over in the corner to further increase their lead.
The one-sided feel to the game continued as the Dragons claimed a further try on 24 minutes when despite having three Salford players on his back prop forward Lopini Paea managed to crash over under the posts.
Bosc added the conversion to give his side a commanding 20-0 advantage. The home side finally came to life late in the half with two tries in two minutes to haul themselves back into the game.
Firstly centre Joel Moon claimed the home side's first try of the game on 28 minutes and then two minutes later a superb break by Luke Patten saw stand off Holdsworth collect his inside pass to score.
Holdsworth was on target with both conversions to cut the deficit to eight points at 20-12.
But having grabbed a foothold in the game Salford appeared to press the self destruct button as firstly Holdsworth was sent to the sin bin by referee Ganson in the 37th minute for dissent.
And two minutes later he was followed by team-mate Anderson for the same offence to leave the Reds with 11 men as the half-time hooter sounded.
Despite being two men short the Reds started the second half in explosive fashion when winger Jodie Broughton broke from deep inside his own half and Sean Gleeson was on hand to finish the move off and Matty Smith's conversion cut the deficit to just two points at 20-18.
And the amazing turnaround was complete four minutes later when still down to 11 men Leon Pryce fumbled possession and Broughton reacted quickest to scoop up the loose ball and race 40 metres to score to which Smith again goaled to make it 24 unanswered points for the home side.
And Salford made it 28 points without reply with a superb effort from Patten.
A try from Casty for the visitors gave some more anxious moments for the home side before a second from Broughton sealed an amazing win although the visitors had the final word with a late Duport try.