Bailey's moment of magic punishes wasteful Salford

Huddersfield Giants 24 Salford Reds 16
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The Independent Online


Huddersfield consolidated their place in Super League's top six with a 24-16 victory over Salford last night, but they rarely touched the heights in a victory that was best described as workmanlike.



Huddersfield consolidated their place in Super League's top six with a 24-16 victory over Salford last night, but they rarely touched the heights in a victory that was best described as workmanlike.

Whilst never showing the sort of form that accounted for Wigan last week, the Giants were too good for opponents who managed to waste most of the attacking opportunities they were given.

After an early exchange of penalties, it was Huddersfield who first showed any cutting edge, Paul March kicking for the corner and a difficult bounce allowing Hefin O'Hare to beat Karl Fitzpatrick to the ball. The Giants tightened their grip when a bout of swift handling, culminating in a perceptive long pass from Brandon Costin, the dominant figure in the match, sent over the other wing man, Marcus St Hilaire.

Salford had not been helping their cause by conceding far too many penalties, but it was one given away for pushing by the Huddersfield full-back Paul Reilly, that indirectly gave Salford a lifeline immediately before half-time. From that attack, Scott Naylor's kick forced a dropout and, finally able to build some pressure, Salford got over the line through Anthony Stewart. That gave Salford a lift they carried into the second half when Chris Charles further reduced Huddersfield's lead with a penalty.

But the moment of the match and the one which swung it the Giants' way came when Julian Bailey got on the outside of the Salford defence and raced away for a spectacular 60-yard try.

The Reds seemed to have their chance to get back into the game when Darren Fleary was sin-binned for a late challenge on Gavin Clinch, but as their coach, Karl Harrison, observed, they spent most of his 10-minute absence being penalised. Worse than that, the short-handed Giants extended their lead when Costin picked out the run of Chris Nero and the converted try gave them a 14-point lead.

Salford claimed a try five minutes from time through the familiar combination of Clinch's kick and Cliff Beverley's follow-up and they could have narrowed the margin still further if Malcolm Alker had not knocked on from Andy Coley's pass.

Huddersfield's Jon Sharp called it: "Frustrating, a stop-start affair with no continuity. But it's the sign of a good side when you don't have the best day and you still get the points.''

Huddersfield: Reilly, O'Hare, Nero, Bailey, St Hilaire, Costin, March, Slicker, Turner, Fleary, Jones, Smith, Gene. Substitutes used: Donlan, Penkywicz, Gannon, Crabtree.

Salford: Fitzpatrick, Kirk, Naylor, Littler, Stewart, Beverley, Clinch, Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Shipway, Baldwin, Charles. Substitutes used: Johnson, Highton, Haggerty, Baynes.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).

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