Goulding sees off Salford

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The Independent Online
Salford 26

St Helens 46

BOBBIE Goulding, understudy to Andy Gregory during his formative years at Wigan, orchestrated St Helens to success where Wigan had failed by knocking Gregory's Salford out of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup.

Salford's confidence, built up so impressively in their win over Wigan in the previous round, took a huge blow after only 90 seconds. The Saints captain Bobbie Goulding tried a chip over the defence on the sixth tackle, regained the ball through a touch of juggling and found Scott Gibbs in support to send Joey Hayes, back after a three-match absence, over in the corner.

Goulding could not add the goal, but his effervescent work as the fulcrum of Saints' attack continually threatened Salford's composure. Some of that missing composure should have returned as Steve Blakeley halved Saints' lead with a penalty, but Salford were soon reduced to 12 men, their former Saint, Paul Forber, going to the sinbin for holding down Andy Northey. Goulding completed the punishment with the penalty.

Goulding's reverse pass, a ploy that had Salford in trouble from the start, then sent Apollo Perelini charging through from 45 yards out, his run too strong and too determined for a series of tacklers.

The boost Salford so desperately needed came just before the half-hour. Nathan McAvoy somehow managed to keep Mark Lee's kick in play and the support that had been lacking thus far arrived in numbers for Scott Naylor to send in Peter Edwards. It was the first time Salford had been recognisable as the side that humbled Wigan a fortnight ago. It was a brief interlude. Before half time, Darren Rogers made a hash of one of Goulding's cross- kicks and Perelini picked up for Gibbs to score. There was still time before the break for Salford to be caught out by another kick, Northey this time profiting from the mistake.

Within two minutes of the restart, Salford had again been ruthlessly exposed, Paul Newlove carving through and Goulding adding his fourth goal. The St Helens substitute, Vila Matautia, was the next to inflict damage, taking Karle Hammond's pass to force his way over.

That completed a morale-sapping sequence of four tries in seven minutes on either side of half-time, although McAvoy did sound a defiant note for Salford with a try from Richard Webster's pass in the 56th minute. Further tries by Rogers, McAvoy and Sam Panapa made it four in 13 minutes during Salford's own purple patch.

Goaded back into action, Goulding put Matautia in to claim his second try and then sent Chris Joynt galloping away to provide Newlove with his second.

Salford: Hampson; McAvoy, Naylor, Martin, Rogers; Blakeley, Lee; Young (Savelio, 62), Edwards, Eccles, Forber (Burgess, 46), Savelio, (Webster, 24), Panapa.

St Helens: Prescott; Hayes (Vivers h/t), Gibbs, Newlove, Sullivan; Hammond, Goulding; Perelini, Cunningham, Leatham, Joynt, Booth (Matautia, h/t) Northey.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).