Clay helps Salford seal much-needed win

Harlequins 16 Salford City Reds 34
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The Independent Online

Adam Clay set coachless Salford on the way to a victory to ease the pain of an awful Easter. After eight days that saw them leak 112 points and admit that Shaun McRae will not be returning to his job, the City Reds benefited from the flying start they were given by the 20-year-old winger on his debut. Clay scored two tries and had one disallowed and Salford never looked like losing to a side failing to win an eighth game in a row.

Whoever takes over still has a big job to do at Salford, such is their inconsistency, but this result was a feather in the cap of their caretaker-coach, Phil Veivers, who praised his side's determination after they had lost Ashley Gibson and Wayne Godwin to first-half injuries.

"Phil's doing a fantastic job," said Salford's man of the match, Matty Smith. "We can be in the top eight. We're a good enough team to be there."

Quins soon found Salford's defence wanting. The Reds managed to hold up Luke Dorn over the line on the right, but they then let in Mike Burnett on the left for his first try for Quins. If Clay was swatted off a little too easily for that try he soon made up for it, though, weaving his way over after Godwin had made inroads from dummy-half. Better still, he was over again midway through the half, this time capitalising on Chris Nero's clever back-handed flick.

With Dorn off with a hamstring injury, all the life seemed to go out of the London side. Luke Patten was the next to take advantage, supplying Godwin with a scoring pass and then dummying to Clay to go over himself. When Nero made it three tries in 12 minutes Salford looked like running away with it, but the first try of the second half came from the Quins prop Luke Ambler.

There was never any real prospect of a fightback, however. Iafeta Paleaaesina was credited with a dubious-looking first try for the Reds, Daniel Holdsworth kicked a penalty and Vinnie Anderson exchanged passes with Stefan Ratchford to score after intercepting a pass from David Howell. Salford were within sight of their biggest away win in Super League but Chris Melling got a late try for Harlequins.

The Catalan Dragons extended their unbeaten run to six with a 13-12 win over Huddersfield, clinched by Scott Dureau's late drop-goal.

Harlequins Dorn; Melling, Howell, Clubb, O'Callaghan; Gale, Randall; Ambler, Ellis, Ward, Burnett, Mitchell, Wilkes.Substitutes used: Williams, Temata, Pryce, Kouparitsas.

Salford Patten; Broughton, Ratchford, Gibson, Clay; Smith, Holdsworth; Cashmere, Godwin, Paleaaesina, Anderson, Nero, Wild. Substitutes used: Neal, Adamson, Boyle, Jewitt.

Referee R Hicks (Oldham).

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