A last-gasp drop goal from Richard Horne gave Hull a thrilling victory to consolidate second place in Super League.
"Two years ago we got beaten here by 80 points. That's how far this club had come,'' said the Salford coach, Karl Harrison. "We will be a match for anyone in the semi-finals.''
Hull's Peter Sharp admitted that he would not have been unhappy with a point and agreed that Salford could be a threat. ''That was a play-off type game,'' he said. "They're a very tough football team.''
Salford spent most of the first half defending. They fell behind to a Paul Cooke penalty and had their line breached for the first time when Danny Washbrook picked up a loose ball after 28 minutes and went through on a diagonal run.
Eight points looked a big lead in such a tight match but the visitors produced something out of the ordinary before the break to put a different complexion on the contest.
Andrew Dunemann kicked deep on the first tackle after a scrum and though Nathan Blacklock won the race for the ball it slipped from his grasp. Shayne McMenemy was sent to the sin bin for holding on in the tackle and Salford took advantage of Hull's disarray for Simon Finnigan to score.
Salford carried that momentum into the second half, with John Wilshire picking up a bouncing pass from Luke Robinson within minutes of the restart and backing his pace to take him past the Hull cover from 40 metres out.
Another Cooke penalty brought the scores level, but most of the game's drama was then squeezed into the next, scoreless 30 minutes. Salford, and David Hodgson in particular, had the early chances to break the deadlock, but he missed a penalty from which Hull were inexplicably allowed to restart on the 20-metre line. Salford were then forced into touch after a threatening run by Robinson and a wild forward pass ruined another attack.
Cooke also missed a goal and put in a kick which Kirk Yeaman narrowly failed to touch down. As the game looked increasingly certain to be decided by a drop goal, Cooke and Horne both missed for Hull and Robinson failed with an optimistic long range effort for Salford.
In the last minute of injury time, Horne's stab ahead forced a drop-out and he was in position to take advantage with the crucial one-pointer.
Hull: Tony; Blacklock, Domic, Yeaman, Raynor; Cooke, R Horne; Dowes, Swain, Carvell, Radford, McMenemy, Washbrook. Substitutes used: Briscoe, Whiting, G Horne, Wheeldon.
Salford: Fitzpatrick; Hodgson, McGuinness, Moule, Wilshere; Dunemann, Robinson; Coley, Alker, Lima, Finnigan, Littler, Charles. Substitutes used: Gower, Brocklehurst, Hitchen, Haggerty.
Referee: B Thaler (Castleford).Reuse content