Salford Red Devils 12 Leigh Centurions 6
Leigh’s search for a first ever Betfred Super League win goes on but this latest setback wasn’t for the want of trying.
After conceding 102 points in their three previous games, Centurions tightened their defence against their free scoring hosts.
But a failure to test the home line-notably in the second period-led to Leigh’s latest down fall.
“We brought our work ethic and attitude to the forefront this week,” said head coach Neil Jukes.
“Ultimately, we set ourselves some big, simple goals; and the big one we didn’t hit was our completion.
“In the second half we were a bit dumb in some of the plays we did and it added pressure onto us.
“We just needed to hold onto the ball. The kicking game and game management of the Salford halves was superior.
“It was a slip on our edge that cost us that try. I am disappointed and the lads are really frustrated.”
With 13 minutes remaining Leigh remained in the hunt for at least a point against the rejuvenated Red Devils.
Then Martyn Ridyard lost his footing on the wet turf and Gareth O’Brien surged onto Robert Lui’s pass, threw a dummy to his right and powered through the gap to touch down.
Michael Dobson converted and try as they might Leigh couldn’t avoid a fourth consecutive Super League defeat.
Ridyard played a more satisfying involvement in Leigh’s only try of an attrional 80 minutes.
His kick eluded Salford’s cover defence and Mitch Brown came through to touch down. Ben Reynolds converted and Leigh had the lead-at least for 10 minutes.
By then though Leigh’s left edge was weakened by the loss of try scorer Brown to concussion.
And Salford profited as Kris Welham charged over. Michael Dobson missed the conversion but Salford were level courtesy of Gareth O’Brien’s early penalty.
Gregg McNally’s apparent first half push on referee Jack Smith was ill advised and landed him in trouble with the RFL disciplinary committee.
But the full-back was clearly just desperate to reach the ball to protect his try line.
Ben Reynolds missed a drop goal attempt before the break but Leigh were deservedly on level terms.
The second half saw Salford dominate territory but Centurions’ defensive effort was commendable, especially with a number of players, including McNally, Crooks and Higson, taking knocks.
Eventually something had to give and O’Brien produced a piece of magic to give the Red Devils a fifth successive Super League success.
Salford Red Devils: O’Brien; Johnson, Welham, Sa’u, Carney; Lui, Dobson; Tasi, Tomkins, Mossop, Jones, Murdoch-Masila, Flanagan. Interchange: Kopczak, Griffin, Wood, Waine.
Tries: Welham (38), O’Brien (67)
Goals: O’Brien (1), Dobson (1)
Leigh Centurions: McNally; Higson, Crooks, Brown, Dawson; Reynolds, Ridyard; Acton, Higham, Tickle, Vea, Stewart, Hansen. Substitutes: Pelissier, Weston, Hopkins, Burr.
Try: Brown (28);
Goals: Reynolds (1).
Referee: Jack Smith