Salford close gap on top eight with win over Widnes

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

Greg Burke scored a game-breaker try to help Salford beat his parent club Widnes.  

Ian Watson made four changes to his Salford Red Devils side that were heavily defeated at Hull FC last week. Jake Bibby, Burke, Ed Chamberlain and Ryan Lannon came in for Greg Johnson, Lee Mossop, Josh Jones and Mark Flanagan.

Widnes Vikings interim coach Francis Cummins also made four changes to the team who lost at Catalans Dragons last week. Tom Gilmore, Chris Houston, Alex Gerrard and Dan Norman replaced Rhys Hanbury, MacGraff Leuluai, Sam Wilde and Stefan Marsh.

The Vikings started in great fashion. They scored inside the first five minutes as Gilmore got on the end of a Joe Mellor grubber. He converted his own try.

Salford soon hit back though. Kris Welham intercepted a kick from Gilmore to race 50 metres and score in the corner. Rob Lui failed to convert, Salford 4-6 Widnes.

Bibby thought he had scored in the 14thminute, but it was ruled out due to the Red Devils knocking on earlier in play.

They took the lead a couple of minutes later though. The ball went through quick hands to Welham who got his second. Lui’s conversion attempt hit the post and bounced out.

Welham was sin-binned midway through the first half for tackling a player without the ball.

Widnes capitalised on having the extra man. There was plenty of space out wide and Patrick Ah Van raced onto a chip from Gilmore to touch down. Gilmore added the extras to edge his side into a 12-8 lead.

Salford half-back Jake Shorrocks, who is on loan from Wigan Warriors, left the field in the latter stages of the first half and didn’t return after failing a concussion assessment.

The Vikings were 12-8 to the good at the break.

Watson’s men levelled the score when the ball went through quick hands to Bibby who finished exquisitely in the corner. Lui missed his third conversion attempt of the night.

Burke fired Salford into the lead on the hour. The front-rower scored under the sticks on his Red Devils debut against his parent club. Lui converted and Salford were 18-12 ahead.

Shortly after, Lui extended Salford’s lead after adding a penalty goal, Salford 20-12 Widnes.

The Vikings were dealt a blow in the 69thminute. Houston was originally shown a yellow card for a late shot on Burke but he sarcastically clapped the referee, and was shown a red card as a result.

Salford sealed the win at the death. Lui charged down a kick, picked up the ball and raced 50 metres to score. He converted his own try to secure a huge 26-12 win for the Red Devils.

The win sees Salford just one point behind eighth-placed Huddersfield, while Widnes remain rock bottom, seven points behind Huddersfield.

Salford: Littlejohn; Olpherts, Welham, Sa’u, Bibby; Lui, Shorrocks; Tasi, Wood, Burke, McCarthy, Griffin, Lannon. Subs: Kopczak, Tomkins, Nakubuwai, Chamberlain.

Widnes: Craven; Ah Van, Runciman, Olbison, Ince; Mellor, Gilmore; J Chapelhow, Johnstone, T Chapelhow, Whitley, Hauraki, Houston. Subs: Gerrard, Heremaia, Farnworth, Norman.

Starman: Kris Welham was outstanding in the centres for Salford. He was a constant threat to the Widnes defence.

Attendance: 2,248

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