Salford Red Devils were defeated by the league front runners, Saint Helens, on Friday after an intense 80-minute battle. 

The result, 14-10 to Saints, reflected the determination of the Salford side, giving the Saints their closest victory of the season so far. That said, Salford were the underdogs in this game. Saints have only lost two games this season, with a strong home record.

The match, originally supposed to be held at home was moved to the Totally Wicked Stadium due to the ongoing ground switch from the AJ Bell to the Peninsula.

Despite this, the Salford team hit the ground running and capitalised on Jack Welsby’s early yellow, using the extra man to run in a pick and go try from the Frenchman, Morgan Escare. Chris Atkins followed with a conversion.

It was well into the second half before Saints regained their footing, with Ben Davies breaking the line in the 26th minute of the game. Tommy Makinson’s kick failed to reach the target allowing the Red Devils to keep the lead.

After his time out in the sin bin, the hosts’ Welsby came back on to score another try for the Saints, clinically converted by Makinson. This put the Saints 10-6 ahead.

Salford’s energy dropped slightly towards the end of the second half and, in the 52nd minute, St Helens’ Agnatius Paasi fumbled an easy try.

Matty Costello, who moved from Saints to Salford at the beginning of the 2021 season, ran in a great try down the left flank to equalise against his former team mates, making it level at 10-10.

A huge hit on Salford’s star man Ken Sio resulted in a scuffle between the teams, with Amir Bourouh and Mark Percival both being sinbinned.

After this, the Salford team began to run out of steam. St Helens forced errors and used Salford’s waning energy against them.

Sloppy errors from Salford gave Saints a 4 point lead off two penalties making the score 14-10.

A beautiful break away interception saw Salford’s Chris Atkin run the whole length of the pitch. However, he was brought down within the last few yards by Morgan Knowles to deny what would have certainly been an equalising, last-minute try.

This concluded the match for St Helens, allowing them to trot the last few minutes to victory.

Much like their previous game against Wigan, Salford came short of points. However, in both games they showed grit and determination that coach Paul Rowley will hope could be a turning point for the rest of the season.

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