An inspired Leigh Centurions progressed to the next round of the Challenge Cup after defeating Salford 22-10 at Leigh Sports Village.
Man of the match Peter Mata’utia inspired his side’s win as the Centurions saw off their Super League opponents with a dominant second-half display.
Tries from Ben Reynolds, Harrison Hansen, Daniel Mortimer and Drew Hutchinson was enough to secure the victory and knock Salford out of the competition for the second time in four years.
It took Ian Watson’s side just a minute to open the scoring following a knock on by the Centurions. Salford took their chance well, and Niall Evalds crossed in the corner, after confirmation from the video referee, to put the visitors ahead by four.
Leigh looked shaky at the start, and it was again Salford who crossed for the next try of the fixture. Forward Josh Griffin crashing over the whitewash following a short pass from loanee Jake Shorrocks close to the line. The half-back on loan from Wigan made no mistake with his second attempt and extended the lead to 10-0.
However, silly play by Salford to give away a penalty on the last tackle saw Leigh strike with their first chance. Former NRL back Mata’utia flirted with the defensive line waiting for a break, but it was Reynolds who came flying onto a short pass from the fullback into a gap and putting the home side on the scoreboard.
The Championship side crossed again just four-minutes later, as Hansen displayed some fancy footwork close to the line to slide over, converted by Reynolds to give Leigh their first lead of the clash and headed into the break at 12-10.
Leigh’s showed their dominance in the second-half and gave themselves a true test against Super League oppositions.
The Devils looked lost in attack without Robert Lui, and it was Mortimer who struck next for the home side. The number nine made his return from injury and scooted from dummy-half to score his first of the season and made the lead 18-10.
In the last minutes of the game, where Salford looked the most vulnerable, half-back Hutchinson sealed the victory after he shrugged off some sloppy defence to take his side 22-10 ahead.
Leigh will be in the hat for the next draw of the Challenge Cup, whilst Salford will aim to retain their spot in the top eight of the Super League.
Elsewhere, Huddersfield recorded back-to-back victories as they defeated Wakefield at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Tries from Adam O’Brien, a first for Matty English, Ukuma Ta’ai and Lee Gaskell saw off Chris Chester’s men with a 24-14 win.