Watson keeps hopes alive

Salford 22 Wakefield

Dave Hadfield
Saturday 07 December 2013 05:28
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An astonishing fightback in the last four minutes kept Salford's hopes of surviving in Super League alive at the end of a tie dripping with tension.

When Brad Davis went over for the converted try that gave Wakefield a 10-point lead, they looked certain to open up a three-point gap at the foot of the table – something not even Salford's staunchest fans could have expected them to close in the five remaining games.

Even when Danny Arnold got over for his second try of the game, it seemed it had come far too late to save the Reds, but in the last minute Arnold and Malcolm Alker contrived to keep the ball alive on the left wing and allow Ian Watson not only to score but to take the ball around far enough for Graham Holroyd to kick the equalising goal virtually as the hooter sounded.

Salford were the livelier early on, but Wakefield took the lead with an Ian Knott penalty given for offside. That damage was repaired when Neil Baynes bumped out of a tackle and spun round to serve up the ball for Steve Blakeley, who darted through for the first try. Holroyd added the conversion, and a penalty after Wakefield were the next to stray offside.

Another big forward contributed to Wakefield's reply, with Chris Feather, earmarked for Leeds next season, doing the damage down the middle to create the overlap. It was exploited by Dion Bird, who passed to a flying Andrew Frew. Knott failed with the conversion but then levelled the scores with a penalty.

Wakefield's player-coach, Adrian Vowles, selected himself as hooker last night and was able to set the tempo for Trinity as they looked the more threatening side with half-time approaching.

Davis dropped a goal seven minutes into the second half but a well-worked try then brought the advantage back to Salford. Watson, just on as a substitute, began it with a short pass to Alker, whose break saw Darren Treacy send Arnold in at the corner.

Wakefield's response was immediate, Bird feeding the ball to Frew, who kicked ahead twice as Salford hesitated and won the race to touch down. Davis added another drop goal and Salford looked to be on their way down when Bird ducked through an ineffective two-man tackle for a supporting Davis to score a try he converted himself. Salford were not finished, though, and live to fight another day.

Salford: Gibson; Reardon, Maloney, Hunte, Arnold; Holroyd, Blakeley; Baynes, Alker, Highton, Ebrill, Treacy, Wainwright. Substitutes used: Watson, Southern, Coley, Price.

Wakefield: Holland; Sovatabua, Tassell, Bird, Frew; Moana, Davis; Jackson, Vowles, Feather, Slattery, Field, Knott. Substitutes used: Broadbent, March, Handforth, Ellis.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).

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