Salford City Reds 18 Hull FC 24 match report: Brian Noble sees some positives despite defeat


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The Independent Online

Salford named Brian Noble as their new coach before kick-off and then gave him a demonstration of the strengths and weaknesses of the squad he will inherit.

The former Bradford, Wigan and Great Britain coach, out of work since the demise of Crusaders at the end of the 2011 season, will take charge for the Challenge Cup tie against Gloucester All Golds next Sunday. He faces a much greater challenge in the weeks and months ahead, trying to live up to the promise by the owner, Marwan Koukash, to make Salford a force in Super League.

"I sat down with Alan Hunte and asked him, 'Is there enough ability and commitment here to take us to the next level?' He said yes," said Dr Koukash, who dragged the club back from the brink of extinction earlier this season. "I asked, 'Is there enough experience? He said no. That's why I've appointed Brian Noble."

Dr Koukash said that Salford will recruit between 10 and 15 new players and spend their full salary cap next season. "I promise you I'll deliver what I've promised, but it will take a little time."

In Hunte's last match as caretaker, Salford were always second-best to a solid but pedestrian Hull. They did have their moments, however, notably at the beginning and the end.

They had a helping hand at the start, when Jay Pitts was sin-binned for obstruction and the City Reds took advantage for Danny Williams to score.

The game hinged on a couple of minutes midway through the first half. Ben Crooks kicked and regathered for one try, Marc Sneyd put the kick-off out on the full and Richard Whiting got the second.

As an exercise in turning a six-point lead into a six-point deficit, it would have been hard to better.

Whiting's kick for Tom Lineham widened the gap, but Salford hit back through one of their crop of good young players, Gareth Owen.

Sneyd was unlucky to have his kick charged down for Whiting's clincher, but Salford still finished on a high with Jodie Broughton's long-range effort. Noble has something to work with.

Salford Evalds; Broughton, Gleeson, Gibson, Williams; Sneyd, Fages; Neal, Godwin, Griffin, Ashurst, Dixon, Wild. Substitutes used Owen, Walne, Emmitt, James.

Hull McDonnell; Lineham, Arundel, Crooks, Crookes; Horne, Heremaia; Watts, Houghton, Lynch, Westerman, Whiting, Pitts. Substitutes used O'Meley, Boden, Green, Hadley.

Referee R Hicks (Oldham).