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Rugby League

Salford fans furious after second heavy defeat in a row

Salford 22 St Helens 56

Angry Salford fans called for the head of their coach, Shaun McRae, as Saints inflicted their second heavy defeat of the new season.

Saints played some typically fluent rugby as they ran in 10 tries, but much of the City Reds' defence was woeful. They were hoping to leave their historic home with a bang at the end of this year; at this rate it will be with a whimper.

"I copped it from the fans at half-time and full-time and I accept that. They're entitled to be frustrated," said McRae.

Salford started poorly. Daniel Holdsworth, the scrum-half and captain, failed to find touch with a penalty and Saints stand-off Lee Gaskell kicked through for Chris Flannery to score. Almost immediately, Jon Wilkin set up Kyle Eastmond for a similar try in what could be his last match before a much-rumoured move to rugby union.

Salford's only bright spot was the try Luke Patten scored from Holdsworth's pass, but that relief was soon obliterated by an avalanche of points. Best was Tony Puletua's sublime one-handed pass to put Eastmond in for his second.

Salford went off at half-time to a chorus of derision. Ashley Gibson scored for them straight after the interval, but again they found a way of rapidly undoing any threads of good work. From the kick-off, Patten, who arrived with a safe as houses reputation, knocked on and Gaskell scored.

Paul Clough then went over before Michael Shenton touched down from a double kick-ahead on the hour. Shenton showed up strongly as the game went on. Jamie Foster finished with eight goals, while the lively Stefan Ratchford and Jodie Broughton got late consolations for Salford.

Saints' coach, Royce Simmons, said he hoped Eastmond's future would be resolved this week. "Everyone has to get on with life," he said. "We'd certainly like to keep him and we're doing everything we can."

Salford Patten; Gibson, Nero, Henry, Broughton; Ratchford, Holdsworth; Cashmere, Smith, Parker, Adamson, Sidlow, Wild. Substitutes used Palea'aesina, Neal, Spencer, Jewitt.

St Helens Lomax; Gardner, Shenton, Meli, Foster; Gaskell, Eastmond; McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Roby, Puletua, Flannery, Soliola, Wilkin. Substitutes used Moore, Clough, Magennis, Makinson.

Referee R Hicks (Oldham).