THERE are moments in sport where you can look back and say “That changed the season.” Friday night, when Salford Devils beat St. Helens 22-14, I believe that moment for Salford fans was when Mark Flanagan chased back to tackle Saints Ryan Morgan, and stopped him scoring.
The game was a cagey affair for the opening 25 minutes, but Michael Dobson opened the scoring with a penalty after both sides had chances to score, but sterling defence from both teams meant that points were in short supply.
It wasn’t to stay that way though.
After last weeks set of new contract celebratory tries, it was Welsh international captain Craig Kopczak who celebrated with his first of the season on the 35th minute, and with Dobson converting, it was 8-0 to the home side at the half time hooter.
The second half began with Dobson latching onto a Kopczak pass to score himself, and converting, to extend the lead to 14-0.
The visitors were not to be denied though, and Alex Walmsley went over in the 51st minute, and with Mark Percival adding the extras, followed 10 minutes later by Ryan Morgan, with Percival missing this time, we went into the final 20 minutes with Salford holding a four point lead at 14-10.
Dobson however was not finished with the boot, and a penalty extended the lead to six points.
Then on the stroke of the 70th minute, Salford’s Rob Lui was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes for what looked to be interference with the ball whilst the Saints player holding it and himself were off the field of play.
It was to be a nervous final ten as Salford looked to protect their lead, but it was club captain Dobson who would seal the win with his second try of the game, also converted, to lead 22-10 with just two minutes left.
Saints snatched a late consolation try thanks to Jonny Lomax to make the score look a little more respectable at 22-14, but it was not to be their night.
Salford coach Ian Watson was very upbeat post game, as you can hear by clicking on the link below.
Salford Red Devils: O’Brien, Johnson, Welham, Jones, J Carney, Lui, Dobson, Tasi, Tomkins, Mossop, Griffin, Murdoch-Masila, Flanagan
Replacements: Kopczak, Walne, Brinning, T Carney.
St Helens: Lomax, Owens, Morgan, Percival, Makinson, Fages, Smith, Walmsley, Roby, Douglas, Taia, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Wilkin.
Replacements: Amor, Walker, Lee, Peyroux.
Referee: James Child.