Rugby League: Smith clips Eagles' wings: Salford 16 Sheffield 6
Sunday 14 February 1999
Outplayed at the start, Salford showed both craft and resilience gradually to take control, with two tries in eight minutes midway through the second half wiping out the heartache of Headingley when they believed they were on the way to the final.
Sheffield were by far the sharper side in the early stages and got a quick reward in the shape of a memorable try, fashioned by two of their Wembley heroes. Keith Senior stood in the tackle and slipped the ball to Waisale Sovatabua, then supported the Fijian full-back's weaving run to take his inside pass and complete a spectacular 70-yard move.
Mark Aston did not convert and the Eagles could not turn their dominance into further points, even when the Salford captain, David Hulme, spent 10 minutes in the sin bin for one of the match's constant stream of holding down offences.
Sheffield, steadily coming into the game, gained ground through the power of one new signing, Neil Baynes, and the ball skills of another, Darren Brown, and narrowed the gap during Hulme's absence when Mark Aston was caught offside from a Martin Crompton kick. Steve Blakeley landed the resulting penalty.
With Sheffield's new signing Simon Baldwin in the bin, also for holding down, Salford twice came close to a try before half time; first when Blakeley took Baynes' pass and was stopped on the line, and then when Scott Martin almost got to Bobby Thompson's kick to touch down.
Sheffield had to withstand more pressure at the start of the second half, but Blakeley missed an excellent opportunity to equalise when he skewed a penalty wide. Aston made no such mistake when he was presented with a similar chance, after Gary Broadbent was harshly penalised for dropping on a loose ball.
But then Salford's new Australian second-row pairing took command, Hudson Smith taking the ball 40 yards out to go free for one try and Brown throwing the long pass to Thompson that set up Martin for the second.
Blakeley converted the first, missed the second but then gave Salford a match-winning lead with two penalties as Sheffield lost their discipline; Darren Turner and Dale Laughton ending a gripping tie by watching their side surrender the Cup from the sin bin.
Salford: Broadbent; Martin, Casey, Thompson, Carige; Blakeley, Crompton; Baynes, Alker, Southern, Smith, Brown, Hulme. Substitutes used: Highton, Faimalo.
Sheffield: Sovatabua; Lovell, Powell, Senior, Sadje; Pearson, Aston; Laughton, Lawless, Shaw, Hardy, Turner, Doyle. Substitutes: Molyneux, Stephens, Baldwin, Watson.
Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).
elephant appealPrince William signs up for our charity appeal
elephant appealSo says man jailed for cutting off dead elephant's tusks
booksWe examine the best titles for teens
scienceResearchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words
booksA Christmas story in six parts
travelWill high-value tourism help the workshops of this Renaissance city?
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Latest in Sport
Liverpool 3 Cardiff City 1 match report: Luis Suarez leaves Malky Mackay with nothing but pride
The worst owner in football? Vincent Tan faces fan backlash as Malky Mackay clings to Cardiff job
Spurs don't want Glenn Hoddle as their new manager
Arsène Wenger: Now is the time to finally beat Jose Mourinho
Manchester United 3 West Ham 1 match report: Ashley Young returns in style to finish off Hammers
- 1 Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 The publisher who played with fire: the battle for control of Larsson's £30m legacy
- 5 Police seize possessions of rough sleepers in crackdown on homelessness
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Secondary Maths Teache...
£50000 - £55000 per annum + excellent company benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group:...
£41000 - £44000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Stars in Your Eye...
£40000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer (WPF...