Rugby League: Salford run out of ideas and heart

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Wakefield Trinity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34

Salford. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

WAKEFIELD did not need Jonathan Davies or even any prospect of his arrival to inspire them to victory over an embarrassingly poor Salford yesterday.

With a stiff breeze behind them in the first half, Salford had taken a 10-point lead to hint briefly at an end to a run of six defeats. But those prospects evaporated as soon as Wakefield followed the lead of two hard-running forwards in Michael Jackson and Darren Fritz and began to play.

Andy Mason brought them back into the game before half time and after the break it was largely one-way traffic.

Salford stood off to let Mark Conway's kick bounce eccentrically for Nigel Bell to claim a try and then three more in five minutes, through increasingly token resistance, ended the match as a contest.

Fritz's run pulled Salford out of shape for one of Wakefield's promising young players, James Mosley, to score the first of them. The next was a Conway special with hooker Billy exchanging passes with his namesake, Mark, to race clear. Jackson and Mason then made the running for Bell's second.

Although Phil Ford managed a gesture on Salford's behalf nine minutes from time, Wakefield still had the final say with Paul Round's driving run taking him over the line.

It all seemed a long way from a beginning which had seen Craig Coleman's passing ability get Salford away to a flier, Steve Blakeley and Tex Evans taking advantage of some slack defence to score tries.

After that, they played very much as might be expected from a side making wholesale changes for every match. They were disjointed and ineffective and are now in danger of seeing all their early season promise disintegrate into a relegation struggle.

Trinity are well capable of consolidating the top-eight place that yesterday's win gave them. And, as appreciative customers noted, they might not have signed Davies, but they have put a plastic roof on the toilets.

Wakefield Trinity: Spencer; Mosley, Mason, Eden, Jones; M Conway, Bagnall; Fritz (Webster, 68), B Conway, Webster (Round, 24), Jackson, Price (Slater, 68; Price, 80), Bell.

Salford: Gibson; Evans, Blakeley, Gilfillan (Ackerman, 74), Ford; Reid, Coleman; Young, Lee (Birkett, 60), Stazicker, Ackerman (Lee, 67), Blease, Critchley (Bradshaw, 7).

Referee: R Whitfield (Widnes).

The Australian Scott Gale revived Hull's chances of a top-four place with two tries in a 20-4 win against Widnes yesterday.

Daryl Powell, the Sheffield Eagles captain, scored the 100th try of his career, but it was in a losing cause as Sheffield conceded two late tries to give bottom-placed Leigh their third win of the season.