Salford 28-18 Hull: Red Devils fight back to retain play-off spot

Kallum Watkins Salford

Salford gave their play-off hopes a huge boost as they recovered from a half-time deficit to beat injury-hit Hull FC 28-18 at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Kallum Watkins, Rhys Williams, Ken Sio, Ryan Brierley and Deon Cross all scored for Paul Rowley’s men while Marc Sneyd kicked four goals against his former club.

Despite missing several players through a combination of injuries and suspensions, Hull FC proved stubborn opponents as they posted tries through Will Smith, Brad Fash and Jake Connor while Luke Gale added three goals.

Salford looked to be comfortably on course for the win when they led 22-12 as the game entered the final 10 minutes. But Connor’s try, converted by Gale, made it a tense finish until Brierley crossed two minutes from the end.

Match report

Salford had Shane Wright back on the bench and Wiliams came in for Joe Burgess on the wing.

For Hull FC, reserve team prop Will Gardiner made his bow from the bench, becoming the ninth debutant for Hull FC in the last seven weeks and the 14th for the Black and Whites this season.

Connor and Kane Evans returned after suspension for Brett Hodgson’s men with Jordan Johnstone and Denive Balmforth also recalled.

But there was no Manu Ma’u (arm), Joe Lovodua (knee) or Danny Houghton (quad) meaning Hull FC were without 12 players through injury.

In recent weeks, Salford have enjoyed big wins over the likes of Huddersfield Giants and Catalans Dragons, results which have seen them emerge as genuine play-off contenders.

Hull FC, in contrast, have slipped out of the play-off places after winning just one of their last five games.

However, there was little to choose between the sides in a keenly contested first half which ended with the visitors just ahead, 12-10.

HT: Salford 10-12 Hull

Salford went in front in the 12th minute when Brodie Croft and Brierley combined to send Watkins striding through for a try which Sneyd converted.

The scores were soon level as Hull FC replied in the 19th minute. Ligi Sao got away from the first wave of defenders and his pass found stand-off Smith who showed great footwork to score from 10 metres. Gale added the conversion to make it 6-6.

Some nice combination play on the left edge saw Brierley link up with Tim Lafai who in turn found Williams and the Welsh winger scored in the corner to give Salford a 10-6 lead.

Hull FC levelled the scores 11 minutes before half-time when an attacking kick from Smith took a wicked bounce away from Brierley and Fash was quickest to react, dropping on the ball to score.

Sneyd couldn’t convert but he did add a penalty a few minutes later to give his side a narrow interval lead.

Only six minutes had been played in the second half when Salford scored their third try of the night to regain the lead. Sio slid in at the corner after a planned move from the scrum which saw Brierley scoot away and find the prolific Australian winger with a well-timed pass.

It was the fourth successive game where Sio had scored against Hull FC and Sneyd’s conversion from the touchline edged Salford 16-12 ahead.

Salford exploited Hull FC’s left edge again with their fourth try of the night in the 57th minute. Cross evaded several would-be tacklers on a mazy 20-metre run which ended with him scoring and Sneyd converting to make it 22-12.

Smith’s pass sent Connor over from close range, and Gale’s conversion from the touchline worried the Salford fans. But with time almost up, Brierley hit a short ball at pace and slid over for a try which Sneyd again converted.

FT: Salford 28-18 Hull

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