Wakefield Wildcats withstand late Salford fightback to bag crucial points

WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats survived a second-half Salford fightback to bag a vital 26-22 victory against the City Reds at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Saturday night.

It was a proverbial game of two halves, with the hosts dominating first-half matters before almost allowing the Reds to snatch victory in the second half.

Richard Agar's men came flying out of the traps to score two quick tries, through Dean Collis and Danny Washbrook, to leave Salford shell-shocked early on.

The Reds found a way back into the contest through a Daniel Holdsworth try, one which came very much against the run of play, and Holdsworth also added the extras.

But Wildcats didn't let their visitors build on their first points of the match and tries from Frankie Mariano and Peter Fox put Wakefield firmly back in control. Paul Sykes added three conversions to give Wakefield a commanding 22-6 lead, one which probably flattered the visitors, at the break.

Salford's half-time teamtalk clearly had the desired impact and Holdsworth this time turned provider to send Chris Nero over as the Reds reduced the deficit.

Sykes added two more goals to keep the points ticking over for Wildcats but Salford upped their gear in the latter stages to make the hosts sweat for the two points. Ashley Gibson twice found his way over late on to bring Salford to within a try of their hosts, but Wakefield held on for a crucial victory.

The win was Wakefield's first in five matches and their third of the season.

Wakefield: Mathers, Fox, Collis, Sykes, Cockayne, John, Smith, Raleigh, Aiton, Wilkes, Kirmond, Mariano, Washbrook. Subs: Wood, James, Amor, Mellars.

Salford: Patten, Broughton, Gleeson, Moon, Gibson, Holdsworth, Smith, McPherson, Godwin, Paleaaesina, Ashurst, Adamson, Wild. Subs: James, Howarth, Jewitt, Nero.

Attendance: 6,748.

Referee: Phil Bentham.

See next Friday's Wakefield Express for match report, stats and pictures.