Rugby League: Reds roll out welcome mat for Harvey

Salford Reds 28 Wakefield Trinity 14
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The Independent Online
SALFORD WELCOMED their new coach with a victory that not only ended Trinity's five-match winning run but also suggested that they too can climb the Super League table. Apart from a wobble when they were temporarily reduced to 12 men in the second half, Salford were solid and convincing yesterday.

"I've watched about eight previous games on video and that was by far the best defensive performance," said John Harvey of his first match in charge.

Wakefield fielded a side playing its third game in eight days, only occasionally looked capable of competing. They jettisoned much of their good work over the last month in the first half, as their discipline evaporated.

A penalty conceded when Adrian Brunker went high on Dave Bradbury gave Salford the lead through Paul Southern's kick, before the erratic form of Shane Kenward produced the game's first try. Kenward, briefly a Salford player last season, had already made one dazzling break, only to pass the ball straight into touch. He was equally eccentric in trying to take Darren Brown's kick one-handed and instead merely presented it back to the kicker, who sent Hudson Smith striding over.

Trinity's abiding failure was their tendency to force the impossible pass, with David March a particularly guilty party after Kenward and his twin, Paul, had led a dangerous attack.

Salford showed them how to take advantage of good positions with two tries in three minutes. Paul Highton spun away from the tackle to go 30 yards for the first and Brown - proving as influential at stand-off as in his normal role in the pack - fed Smith for Mark Johnson to grab the second.

If ever a side needed a score before half-time, it was Trinity. But, although they claimed one from Adam Hughes' close-range effort, they were soon put in their place once more after the interval as Smith and Bobby Thompson combined smoothly for Martin Crompton, having his best game for Salford for some time, to finish the move.

It was only at that stage that Wakefield belatedly rediscovered the cohesion that has seen them take such notable scalps of late. Salford's defence held firm until they lost Gary Broadbent to the sin bin, and they were then hit by two tries in his absence.

Glen Tomlinson scored after good work by David March and Brunker and then provided the scoring pass for Neil Law after a storming run by Francis Stephenson.

That was as close as they could get, however, and in the last minute Crompton crowned his own display with a clever pass for Thompson to go over.

Salford Reds: Thompson; Littler, Broadbent, Carige; Johnson, Brown; Crompton, Makin, Alker, Southern, Smith, Bradbury, Hulme. Substitutes used: J Faimalo, Highton.

Wakefield Trinity: Kenward; Hodgson, Brunker, Hughes, Law; P March, Tomlinson; Stephenson, D March, Watene, Price, Richardson, Poching. Substitutes used: Jackson, Field, McDonald, Songoro.

Referee: R Connolly (Wigan).

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