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11 hours ago
The Salford City Reds have welcomed back their entry into Super League after spending 2003 in National League 1 with a surprise victory over the Widnes Vikings at The Willows.
The Reds, who were spurred on by a crowd of just over 5,000 came back after trailing 8 ? 2 at the half time break to win 24 ? 12. The game was clearly, as the clich? goes ?A game of two halves? with Widnes dominating the first before the Reds fought back.
Widnes opened the scoring in the match through a penalty goal to Julian O?Neill (New Zealand) after Jason Flowers was penalised for an incorrect play the ball in the sixth minute. Former Wests Tiger player, Joel Caine brought scores equal when just 10 minutes later when Widnes were caught offside.
Widnes then proceeded to dominate the first half in attack, but thanks to some fantastic defence feel short on multiple occasions. Gavin Clinch stole the ball from Adam Hughes to prevent the first, whilst Rutgerson produced a last-ditch effort to stop Shane Millard from reaching the line, stopping two almost certain tries.
Widnes did eventually score a try in the 34th minute when David Mills took a quick tap and span out of a three man tackle to score. O?Neill?s (NZ) goal gave Widnes the 8 ? 2 lead at half time.
Salford were not prepared to loose to Widnes, especially at home and created an eight point lead in just 53rd minute of the game. Stuart Littler dived over from dummy half to open the scoring for the home team in the 42nd minute, and with Caine?s extra?s the scores were equal.
An obstruction by Simon Finnigan then allowed Caine to kick the Reds into the lead for the first time in the match. Former Manly Sea-Eagle second rower, Mark Shipway then proceeded to extend the Red?s lead breaking through the middle of the Widnes defence before offloading to Clinch who raced 20 metres to score.
Caine had no problems adding the extras again, and then followed up with another penalty shot on the hour mark to make the score 18 ? 8.
Andy Johnson also had a try disallowed by referee Steve Ganson, for a forward pass from Malcolm Alker, and Widnes gained a sniff of a comeback on 73 minutes, when Hughes sent Chris Giles over in the corner.
But the Reds secured the win in the final minute when Coley burst past Bird to dive in at the corner, Chris Charles kicking the touchline conversion.
Salford will now be going into their match against London next week confident of pulling an upset.
SALFORD CITY REDS 24 Tries: Coley, Littler, Clinch Goals: Caine 5, Charles Team: Jason Flowers, Joel Caine, Stuart Littler, Anthony Stewart, Andy Kirk, Cliff Beverley, Gavin Clinch, Andy Coley, Malcolm Alker, Gareth Haggerty, Sean Rutgerson, Mark Shipway, Martin Moana. Subs: Karl Fitzpatrick, Andy Johnson, Chris Charles, Paul Highton. defeated WIDNES VIKINGS 12 Tries: Mills, Giles Goals: J O'Neill 2 Team: Paul Atcheson, John Robinson, Deon Bird, Adam Hughes, Chris Giles, Julian O'Neill, Dean Lawford, Robert Relf, Shane Millard, Julian O'Neill, Steve McCurrie, Andy Hay, Simon Finnigan. Subs: Stephen Rowlands, Troy Wozniak, Andy Hobson, David Mills. Venue: The Willows (Salford) Crowd: 5,049 Date: Sun Feb 22 3.00pm Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens) Half time: Widnes 8-2