Domic damages slow-starting Salford

Salford 20 Wakefield 27
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The Independent Online

Salford left themselves with just a little too much to do with a lethargic first half here as Wakefield claimed their first Super League victory of the season. The Wildcats dominated the first 40 minutes but were under pressure from a resurgent home side for much of the second, and were grateful in the end for the extra cushion of a Jamie Rooney drop goal to keep them at bay.

On a night when 70mph gusts of wind prevented the big screen being used at a televised match for the first time since the opening season of Super League, sod's law dictated that there would be plenty of work for the video referee to do in splendid isolation. Sure enough, after only three minutes Robert Connolly went to the screen for the first time and the result was a ruling that David Solomona's pass had been knocked down by a Salford hand and that Sid Domic's try should stand, Rooney's conversion giving Wakefield a six-point start.

They were coping by far the better with the difficult conditions and it was no surprise when they went further ahead just after the 20-minute mark, Gareth Ellis giving them their momentum with a forceful run and Darrell Griffon eventually going over from close range, with Rooney again on target.

It was another failure to halt a forward surge that saw Salford punished again five minutes later. This time it was Steve Snitch who broke through some ineffectual tackles and created the space which Ben Jefferies exploited.

Salford badly needed a lift, and they got one when they ran the ball to the blindside on the last tackle of one of their rare attacks and Andy Kirk squeezed in at the corner.

The home side were at least starting to show some urgency and could have made further inroads before half-time if Semi Tadulala had not cleared horribly from Cliff Beverley's kick.

Instead, a break from Jefferies and Rooney put the Reds on the back foot again, and Colum Halpenny capitalised.

Salford were much improved after the break, with Kirk going over for his second try and Karl Fitzpatrick sprinting in for a lovely solo effort. In between, however, Solomona's sleight of hand sent Domic over for his second and, 12 minutes from time, Rooney's drop goal seemed to clinch it. Andy Johnson got over in the 74th minute to raise hopes again for Salford, but they will know that they were guilty of starting to play half an hour too late.

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

Wakefield: Halpenny; Ryder, Demetriou, Domic, Tadulala; Rooney, Jeffries; Griffin, March, Elima, Solomona, Wrench, Ellis. Substitutes used: Hood, Field, Snitch, Tilipeau.

Referee: R Connelly (Wigan).