Rugby League: Warrington kicked forward by Harris

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Salford. .6

Warrington. .20

WARRINGTON went level on points with Bradford at the top of the First Division, but there was little until the final minutes of a vigorous match to suggest that virtually the whole length of the division separates the two sides, writes Dave Hadfield.

Salford gave the lie to their lowly league position in the opening stages with their forwards driving in strongly to give Peter Williams the chance to send his centre partner, Jason Critchley, over after only four minutes. Steve Blakeley improved on a good start with a goal from the touchline.

If that was an example of the attacking rugby of which Salford are capable, Warrington's equaliser showed up their defensive failings. Gary Chambers and Kelly Shelford opened them up for Allan Bateman to score a try which Iestyn Harris improved.

Greg Mackey, fortunate a few minutes earlier not to be punished for a series of haymakers aimed at Blakeley, contributed to the try that put Warrington ahead. His pass gave Kevin Ellis some space and Craig Teitzel ran powerfully to score his first try for the club and give Harris a second goal. Just as last week against Leigh, Warrington missed the polish of Jonathan Davies when it came to converting pressure into points. The nearest they could come was a series of lame drop-goal attempts, which left a Salford side still playing far better than their precarious First Division position suggests in with every chance.

Salford's realistic hopes disappeared four minutes from time when their player-coach, Garry Jack, took a poke at Ellis to give Harris a comfortable penalty. Shelford's try and Harris's conversion in the last minute made the margin between the two teams look wider than it had been.

Salford: Jack; Evans, Critchley, Williams, Ford; Reid, Blakeley (Brown, h/t); Young, Brookfield, O'Connor, Forber, Tauro (Marsden, 34), Burgess.

Warrington: Penny; Myler, Bateman, Forster, Harris; Ellis, Mackey; Teitzel (Chambers, 60), Thursfield, Chambers (Tees, 54), Cullen, Elliott, Shelford.

Referee: C Morris (Huddersfield).

Featherstone Rovers have signed the centre Iva Ropati, who will join the club on 22 November after New Zealand's tour.