Salford leave it late to deny Toronto first Super League win

Toronto are still searching for their first win in Betfred Super League after losing 24-16 to Salford in a tense encounter at the AJ Bell Stadium.

The Wolfpack were beaten by Castleford in round one of their debut season and went down to late Red Devils tries from Dan Sarginson and Niall Evalds.

Toronto handed marquee signing Sonny Bill Williams his first start, while for the Red Devils new man Connor Jones made his Super League debut.

But Williams and the Canadian club were unable to secure their maiden victory in the top flight, despite an improved performance.

Salford were winning the yardage battle early on but Toronto almost scored first because of a Rhys Williams error as he spilled Josh McCrone’s bomb, but Sarginson was there to stop Liam Kay scoring in the corner.

In the sixth minute the Red Devils forced a goal-line drop-out off the boot of Kevin Brown but a stray offload from Tyrone McCarthy in the next set coughed up possession.

Joe Mellor was forced off in the 16th minute for a head test after a strong tackle and Gary Wheeler came on and scored with his first touch of the ball, breaking through the defence off Ricky Leutele’s pass to touch down.

Blake Wallace could not add the extras from the sideline, with the Wolfpack remaining 4-0 ahead.

Salford hit back in the 26th minute through Brown. Tui Lolohea’s grubber was accidentally bounced towards his halves partner and Brown dived on it. Lolohea then converted it to give the home team the lead.

The Red Devils were lifted and surged forward in search of another try but tempers flared four minutes from half-time after Wheeler collided with Kris Welham as they chased a kick. Welham and Hakim Miloudi were both sin-binned following a fracas.

Brown got over the line soon after for a second try, but it was correctly ruled out for a knock on in the build-up so the match was evenly poised at half-time with the home side 6-4 in front.

Early in the second half Pauli Pauli was held up over the try-line but Salford were not to be denied and in the 46th minute Lolohea touched down.

Sarginson went on a mazy run and found the halfback in support in the middle to cross before Lolohea added the extras to make it 12-4.

Toronto needed to be the next side to score but it was not to be as Williams found himself in space 60 metres out from the kick-off and raced away through some weak defence for a sensational solo try.

Lolohea could not add the conversion but his team were in control.

Five minutes later the Wolfpack responded through Wheeler as he grabbed his second of the afternoon off Miloudi’s grubber kick. Wheeler added the extras himself to cut the lead to 16-10.

Toronto searched for an equaliser and it dramatically came in the 70th minute when Brad Singleton steamed over. Wallace nailed the conversion to tie it up at 16-16.

But then Sarginson crossed and Evalds also touched down in the final seven minutes to seal the Red Devils’ win.

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