Orr's boot keep Castleford in the clear

Salford 18 Castleford 26
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Salford, whose recent scalps at The Willows include Wigan and Warrington, reserved one of their worst displays of an intermittently encouraging season for a Castleford side still missing most of their first-choice back-line, but able to win with more ease than the scoreline showed.

The game began disastrously for the home side, with Damien Driscoll going off with a suspected cheekbone fracture from one of the game's first tackles, though the Australian prop forward made an unexpected return in the second half. Almost immediately after Driscoll's departure Castleford went ahead, Mike Smith taking the pass from Andy Speak and going through some poor tackling for the first try.

Castleford should have been further ahead but Jon Roper knocked on Adrian Vowles' pass with the line open. After Steve Blakeley had put Salford on the board with a penalty, Roper did much better, holding on to an instinctive back-flipped pass from Dale Fritz to go over. Danny Orr, back after injury, put over the conversion to take them into double figures.

Salford's tackling was woefully fallible and they were caught out again midway through the half, when Dean Sampson, another of the Castleford returnees, barged his way through three defenders to score.

The balance swung a little in Salford's favour when Lee Harland was sin-binned for tackling from offside and the inspirational Vowles was helped off with a knee injury.

Salford needed to capitalise on their opponents' disarray before half-time and they did so when Stuart Littler held off his pass well for Martin Offiah to get on the outside for the 498th try of his career.

Salford continued to make inroads after the interval, boosted by the return of Driscoll, scoring again when Andy Coley rolled over the line from Bobbie Goulding's pass. Blakeley's goal took them closer than they had ever looked like being, but Castleford took advantage of indiscipline to stay comfortably in front with two Orr penalties.

To make the two points safe Darren Shaw, Nathan Sykes and Ian Tonks all handled beautifully for Mitch Healey to go over and restore some air of reality to a scoreline that now reflected the difference between the two sides more accurately.

In the last minute, Nick Pinkney's run set up Kris Tassell to make the outcome look far more uncertain than it could have actually been.

Salford: Broadbent; Pinkney, Maloney, Littler, Offiah; Blakeley, Goulding; Vaynes, Alker, Driscoll, Coley, Hancock, Highton. Substitutes used: Tassell, Makin, Arnold, Harmon.

Castleford: Lennon; Pryce, Wells, Roper, Lewis; Orr, Healey; Sykes, Speak, Sampson, Smith, Fritz, Vowles. Substitutes used: Harland, Flowers, Shaw, Tonks.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).