The race to avoid the drop at the bottom of Super League is hotting up as we enter round ten, and a fixture between two, lower league ladder dwellers, in the Salford Red Devils and the Huddersfield Giants.
The Giants are currently in ninth but came into the game knowing that a win would lift them seventh spot while a win for the Red Devils would move them equal with Wakefield on win percentage but it would need to be a massive victory to take them higher above Trinity on points difference.
The Giants were massive favourites with the bookies and the pundits with the bookies giving Salford a twelve-point start on the coupon as they faced their former coach.
Jack Wells went close on eleven but was held short of the line but on the next play Andy Ackers scooted over from dummy half to score a short range try under the sticks. Declan Patton added the goal for 6-0.
The Giants were struggling to get into the game when just after the hour mark Adam O’Brien was hit hard and high by James Greenwood, the Red Devils second rower being sent from the field by referee Mikalauskas (although there was some debate that the referee sent off the wrong man, the offender being Dan Sarginson). The resulting penalty was kicked by Aiden Sezer to reduce the arrears to four points.
Within a minute Joe Wardle looked like he’d gone over but the try was ruled out by the referee for an offside.
Salford steadied the ship, under an onslaught from the Giants, through a Patton penalty goal with a couple of minutes remaining to see the Red Devils into the interval with a six-point lead.
Joe Wardle took a Ricky Leutele pass after some good work by the centre to slide over by the sticks on forty-eight to score the first points of the second half. Sezer added the conversion to level the scores at 8-8.
A Sezer 40-20 on the hour mark gave the Giants position but the Red Devils defence held firm.
In a game which was looking like it might be close at the conversion, Chris Atkin kicked a drop goal for a one-point lead with fifteen minutes remaining on the clock.
The Giants went close on seventy-two, Leroy Cudjoe losing possession just short of the line.
Sezer hit the post with a drop goal attempt with eighty seconds on the clock and handed over possession to the Red Devils who managed to run the clock down to a 9-8 victory.
Despite playing the majority of the game with an extra man, the Giants struggled to make that advantage count, and Salford secured only their second win of the season to further open the gap between the drop spot and themselves. This would have been one of the games earmarked by the Giants as a must win, and it will be a crushing blow that they didn’t.
Huddersfield Giants: Golding, McGillvary, Jake Wardle, Leutele, Cudjoe, Gaskell, Cogger, Yates, O’Brien, Wilson, Edwards, Greenwood, Jones. Subs: Sezer (2G), Lawrence, Joe Wardle (T), Trout.
Salford Red Devils: Sarginson, Sio, Burgess, Davies, Williams, Patton (2G), Atkin (DG), Ikahihifo, Ackers (T), Wells, Livett, Greenwood (SO on 32), Taylor. Subs: Ormondroyd, Burke, Johnson, Roberts.
Referee: Scott Mikalausakas.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, (SO), 2-6, 2-8 : HT : 6-8, 8-8, 8-9 : FT.