Salford Red Devils earned their fifth successive Super League victory today, holding off a strong challenge from Leigh Centurions to win a hard-fought contest 12=6 at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Gareth O’Brien, who earlier in the day had looked an unlikely participant as he was suffering from a sickness bug, opened the scoring after 15 minutes with a penalty, but the Centurions went in front 12 minutes later when Australian star Mitch Brown touched down a kick into the in-goal and Ben Reynolds converted for Leigh to take a 2-6 lead.
After Brown went off for a concussion assessment shortly before half-time, however, Kris Welham spotted the gap in the Leigh defence to shoot through the line to touch down for a 6-6 interval scoreline.
The second half was a nailbiting contest, with the defences of both sides on top. After the Red Devils had forced a series of goal-line drop-outs, however, O’Brien cut a hole in the Leigh defence and raced through to touch down. Michael Dobson’s goal put six points between the teams and in the final 15 minutes the Centurions just couldn’t score again.
The Red Devils remain in second place in the table, and they will head to Perpignan on Easter Monday to face the Catalans Dragons, while Leigh await a visit from a faltering Hull FC side.
Salford: 1 Gareth O’Brien, 21 Greg Johnson, 22 Kris Welham, 4 Junior Sa’u, 2 Justin Carney, 6 Robert Lui, 7 Michael Dobson (C), 23 Lee Mossop, 9 Logan Tomkins, 14 Lama Tasi, 11 Ben Murdoch-Masila, 3 Josh Jones, 13 Mark Flanagan; Subs: 8 Craig Kopczak, 10 George Griffin, 17 Adam Walne, 19 Josh Wood.
Leigh: 18 Gregg McNally, 2 Adam Higson, 3 Ben Crooks, 1 Mitch Brown, 5 Matty Dawson, 20 Ben Reynolds, 6 Martyn Ridyard, 24 Jamie Acton, 9 Micky Higham (C), 15 Danny Tickle, 17 Atelea Vea, 12 Glenn Stewart, 13 Harrison Hansen; Subs: 14 Eloi Pelissier, 23 Sam Hopkins, 10 Dayne Weston, 29 Lachlan Burr.
A full report, photos and analysis from this game will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.