Rugby League: Salford exploit pressure

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The Independent Online
Salford . .24

Leigh. . . .16

SALFORD ended a run of six league defeats to put a four-point gap between them and Leigh who, for all their recent bravery, which was again evident last night, remain prime relegation candidates.

A near-monopoly of early possession enabled Salford to build a useful advantage. Tim Street lost the ball in a tackle to usher them into a third-minute lead, Salford taking the ball to the Leigh line and Wayne Reid getting his pass away to Arthur Bradshaw.

Steve Blakeley missed an easy conversion, but he made amends with a penalty after Andy Collier had gone high on Reid and with an excellent kick from the touchline after Phil Ford had scored the second Salford try.

That try was the result of sustained pressure, with Salford twice getting a new set of six tackles when Leigh touched the ball.

Little was seen of Leigh's attacking potential until Scott Martin's break in the 27th minute. Salford were penalised for holding down and, after Leigh ran the ball instead of kicking for goal, Scott Mahon went over for a fine try.

David Tanner, who had missed two kickable penalties, was also off target with his goal attempt. But he had an easier task when Leigh scored again five minutes later, Stuart Pugsley putting Brian Dunn through a gap to touch down at the posts.

With the momentum at last running in their favour, the break came at the wrong time for Leigh and gave Salford the chance to regroup. A glut of possession allowed them to subject Leigh to another barrage after the interval and, despite defending bravely, they were bound to succumb.

The try was 17 minutes in coming and only arrived when Mark Lee's kick ran loose behind the line, Craig Coleman diving on the ball and Blakeley adding the goal.

Within five minutes, Lee unlocked the defence again with a cleverly disguised pass to Tex Evans. Finally, a spectacular run by Mahon put Duncan Platt in for a Leigh try six minutes from time.

Salford: Cruickshank; Evans, Blakeley, Birkett, Ford (Reid, 73); Reid (Williams, 52), Coleman; Young (Ackerman, 50), Lee, Stazicker, Forber, Blease, Bradshaw.

Leigh: Tanner; Booth, D Ruane, Mahon, Platt; Martin, Pugsley; Hansen (Elias, 24), Moran, Street, Dunn (Hansen, 68), Collier (A Ruane, 37), Pendlebury.

Referee: P Gilmour (Workington).