Huddersfield 24 Salford 18: Paul's late try hauls Huddersfield away from drop zone

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The Independent Online

The New Zealand veteran Robbie Paul scored one of the most important tries of his long and distinguished career, finishing off a stirring Eorl Crabtree break two minutes from the end of the match, to clinch Huddersfield's dramatic victory at the Galpharm Stadium yesterday.

The beaten Challenge Cup finalists eased their relegation anxieties with this nerve-jangling success, moving four points ahead of Wakefield with two games remaining. "There was a lot of emotion and a lot of pride and I was delighted with the way we fronted up after last week's game," the Giants coach Jon Sharp said.

Salford, beaten by a margin of six points or fewer for the eighth time this season, must wait another week for the point they require to secure a play-off place for the first time in the summer era.

"I was disappointed today, we played poorly," the Salford coach Karl Harrison said. "But we still created enough chances to win three games. At this level it is all about taking your chances - they took theirs and we didn't take ours."

Salford fought back from 18-8 down midway through the second half and looked the likelier winners when Chris Nero was sent to the sin bin for holding down.

The Reds took advantage of their extra man as Karl Fitzpatrick burrowed over before David Hodgson tied the scores with seven minutes remaining, collecting Andrew Dunemann's long cut-out pass to score in the corner.

But Huddersfield dug deep and Crabtree's astonishing pace off the mark created the chance for Paul, who joined the Giants after a long stint at Bradford, to come up trumps with a try that had the jubilant Giants fans cheering to the rafters.

Tries by Brad Drew, Nero and Paul Reilly and three Michael De Vere goals had given the Giants their 10-point lead, Andy Coley and John Wilshere replying for the Reds.

Huddersfield: Reilly; Aspinwall, Nero, De Vere, Donlan; Brown, Paul; Jackson, Drew, Gannon, Smith, Raleigh, Wild. Substitutes used: Thorman, Crabtree, Jones, McDonald.

Salford: Fitzpatrick; Hodgson, McGuinness, Moule, Wilshere; Dunemann, Robinson; Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Brocklehurst, Littler, Finnigan. Substitutes used: Highton, Adamson, Lima, Charles.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).

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