Wakefield 26 Salford 22: Wildcats fast start leaves Reds with too much to do
19:03 GMT, 21 April 2012
Wakefield produced a dominant
first-half performance but were forced to withstand a tremendous
fightback before claiming a first win in five games and condemning
fellow strugglers Salford to a fourth successive Stobart Super League
The Reds won the second half 16-4
but had left themselves too much to do after an error-strewn opening in
which they simply could not handle the strong-running Wildcats forwards.
Acting captain Danny Kirmond and
front rower Oliver Wilkes were outstanding as Wakefield raced out of the
blocks, scoring two tries in the first six minutes, and they had also
two others disallowed inside the opening quarter.
Loose forward Danny Washbrook combined with stand-off Isaac John to get impressive centre Dean Collis over for the first and then took scrum-half Tim Smith's inside pass to go over himself.
As the visitors struggled to get a foothold in the contest, Wildcats hooker Paul Aiton regathered his own grubber kick only for video referee Ben Thaler to rule a knock-on and Kirmond was denied a try for a forward pass.
Prop Andy Raleigh became the fifth Wakefield player to cross the line but he was held on his back and the misses began to look costly when Salford scored a breakaway try.
Winger Ashley Gibson collected Smith's towering kick meant for Ben Cockayne 10 metres from his own line and raced upfield before sending the supporting Daniel Holdsworth over.
Holdsworth added the goal to cut the deficit to six points but Wakefield re-asserted their authority with two further tries in the last 10 minutes of the first half.
Second rower Frankie Mariano crashed over for his first try of the season and a superb one-handed pass from Collis got winger Peter Fox over for the Wildcats' fourth try.
Paul Sykes' third goal made it 22-6 at the break but Salford livened up in the second half, particularly following the introduction of back rower Chris Nero, who scored their second try after being put through a gap by Holdsworth.
Holdsworth's second goal reduced the gap to 10 points but Sykes put the home side two scores in front with a penalties on 64 and 71 minutes.
The Reds would have scored had centre Joel Moon been able to gather Holdsworth's high kick but the ball slipped through his grasp with the line beckoning, while Collis came up with crucial tackle to haul down dangerous winger Jodie Broughton.
Salford saved their best rugby for the last five minutes, with Gibson going over for two tries in two minutes, and they would have snatched an unlikely victory had second rower Matty Ashurst been able to take Moon's pass with the line open.