Super League: Salford City Reds grab late win over Widnes Vikings
Last Updated: 26/05/13 5:13pm
Theo Fages: scored a late try for Salford City Reds
Salford moved off the bottom of the Super League table with a 28-22 victory over Widnes in Sunday's opening fixture on day two of Magic Weekend in Manchester.
The Reds never trailed but were made to battle every step of the way, with Jordan James' second try against his former club three minutes from time settling an entertaining affair.
Joe Mellor scored a hat-trick in a losing cause for the Vikings, who paid a heavy price for some slack defence in the final quarter of the game.
Widnes looked set to take the lead after almost half an hour of stalemate when Jon Clarke's pass was intercepted by Lee Gaskell, who raced 90 metres to score, with Marc Sneyd converting.
Five minutes later Salford doubled their lead, James taking Ryan McGoldrick's short pass and crashing over from close range, with Sneyd again on target from the tee.
But James turned villain in the final moments of the half, knocking on on halfway and giving Kevin Brown the chance to slide in a grubber kick which Joe Mellor touched down. Jack Owens converted.
Salford survived some early pressure after the re-start but fell victim to an opportunist try. Phil Joseph made a half break up the middle and Cameron Phelps' offload went to ground, but Mellor hacked on twice and the ball sat up nicely for him to scoot in at the corner, although Owens' missed conversion left the score at 12-10 to Salford.
Jodie Broughton was unfortunate to have a try chalked off for interference by Lee Gaskell after sprinting 70 metres to the line, but just past the hour Martin Gleeson glided through the Widnes defence and handed-off Cameron Phelps to score his first try for Salford. Sneyd missed the kick.
Mellor quickly replied with a similar run, beating Ryan McGoldrick for pace on the outside to complete his hat-trick and Owens converted to level the scores at 16-16.
Both defences were tiring now and Theo Fages was next to take advantage as the Widnes players hung back expecting a drop-goal attempt.
Sneyd again converted but with six minutes left Brown went over from a quick tap penalty a metre out and Owens levelled the scores.
There was to be a final twist however, as Sneyd's drop-goal attempt was charged down by Eamonn O'Carroll, but that kept Salford in an attacking position and James powered over for the decisive score.