Rugby League: Salford add to Laughton's ills

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Salford. . . .21

Leeds. . . . .12

THE Leeds coach, Doug Laughton, kept away by illness, missed a performance far more off-colour than the nine-point losing margin suggests. Leeds wheezed and limped their way out of rugby league's Regal Trophy, and looked a sick side in the process.

With Wayne Reid and Shaun Brown kicking intelligently and Paul Forber leading a mighty effort by the pack, Salford dominated from the start. Leeds's propensity for errors put them under immediate pressure and after Jon Scales had dropped the ball on the first tackle Mark Lee darted over from dummy half.

When Forber crashed through some weak tackling after 24 minutes, Salford had a lead that reflected their superiority, but a good combination between two of Leeds' teenagers, Gareth Stephens and Marcus Vassilanopoulos, gave Kevin Iro a try before half time. But a drop goal from Brown and a try from Jason Critchley saw Salford impose themselves again after the break.

The suspicion was always there, however, that they might fade in the final quarter, especially when Stephens released Alan Tait for Leeds's second converted try. But Lee clinched victory when he was awarded a penalty try after being impeded when chasing his own kick.

Salford: G Jack; J Critchley, M Birkett, P Williams, P Ford; W Reid, S Brown; D Young (B Marsden, 59 min), M Lee, T O'Connor (Young, 74 min), P Forber (R Webster, 65 min), C Tauro, A Burgess.

Leeds: A Tait; J Fallon, K Iro, S Irving, J Scales; J Lowes, G Stephens; N Harmon, C Maskill (C Innes, 32 min), I Scott (G Rose, 54 min), G Mercer (Scott, 70 min), R Eyres, M Vassilanopoulos.

Referee: R Whitfield (Widnes).

Scores: Lee/Birkett (try/conv, 5 min, 6-0); Forber (try, 24 min, 10-0); Iro/Irving (try/conv, 30 min, 10-6); Brown (drop goal, 42 min, 11- 6); Critchley (try, 47 min, 15-6); Tait/Irving (try/conv, 56 min, 15-12); Lee/Birkett (penalty try/conv, 68 min, 21-12).