Salford 23 Wakefield 16 Match Report

Two first-half tries from center Josh Wagstaffe put Salford Red Devils Reserves on course for a home win over Wakefield Trinity Reserves last Saturday after withstanding early pressure from the visitors in the opening leg.

The first of these came in the fifteenth minute when he combined with full-back Nathan Connell to create the opening for him to cross the line and head towards the posts, giving fly-half Kai Morgan a direct shot on goal .

Seven minutes later, the centre’s individual ability allowed him to wrong-foot the Trinity defense after the ball was moved to the left of the field, this time too far for the conversion attempt to be successful.

The Red Devils’ dominance was so evident by now that they were able to force a Wakefield kick under their own posts on thirty minutes, which led to the Reds gaining more possession from the resulting goal line clearance and then as the clock ticked down trickling into the final moments of the half, Morgan took advantage of possession past Trinity’s line to drop a goal and take the halftime score to 11-0.

It’s almost inevitable, by far, in most games for the momentum to suddenly shift from one team to the other, and Saturday’s encounter was no different in that sense at the restart.

Still driving the game in front of the opposition, it was a well-intentioned pass after only five minutes that was intercepted by a Wakefield at three-quarter time on his own twenty-yard line, who sped down the left wing to open his side’s account with a converted try under the posts.

Dramatic as this was, things became far more unsettling as the visitors exploited this new found scoring potential down their left flank and in their very next set managed to launch yet another almost identical burst, clean of this wing. . This time Connell was in a position to stop the approach with a well executed tackle but quick play put the visitors on the attack to score at the posts and with the added goal take an 11-12 lead .

Now on the crest of a wave, Trinity reveled in a surplus of possession and on 51 minutes Connell was called upon again to stop another Wakefield break. Four minutes later, however, there was no denying as they crossed for their third try, this time in the right corner, to extend their lead to five points.

Things started to look pretty bleak for the Red Devils, especially when Jamie Pye, who along with fellow prop Jordan Brown had been quite magnificent, had to withdraw through injury.

Under such setbacks, many teams would have cracked, but John Hutchings, who came off the bench in the second row and who now moved to prop to fill the gap, stepped forward. Throw in the return of Ben Hellewell’s batting as well and, credit to the Salford players, they were all up to the task of making yardage hard up the pitch, completing their sets.

All of which consequently turned the game in their favor on 60 minutes when stand-off Joe Purcell fooled the Wakefield defense into thinking he was about to feed the ball to Brown, but instead shot wide which had opened. , to score under the posts. Morgan made no mistake as he put Salford back in front at 17-16.

Indeed they came very close to scoring again on 68 minutes only to have their corner attempt ruled out for a forward pass but the very talented youngsters Morgan and Connell combined to put the game in bed at 71 minutes. .

On the final tackle of the set, Morgan showed superb vision to spot that the Wakefield fullback was out of position, so he carried the ball forward to put an overhead kick just short of the try line, and Connell it came out of nowhere. to pounce on the ball and, despite the best efforts of several Wakefield defenders, roll sideways over the try line to put it down. Just for good measure, Morgan added the goal points from one of his more difficult shots.

They then had just one more scare to overcome when a kick from the end of the Wakefield set in the left corner was taken by one of their chasers close to the Salford line but Ethan Fitzgerald who had come on the wing to counter the Trinity Threat on the wing the left was equal to the task and forced the carrier into contact with a magnificent try-saving tackle.


Connell, Egan, Hammond, Wagstaffe, Nofoaluma, Purcell, Morgan, Brown, Yates, Pye, Davies, McCurrie, Hellewell


Fitzgerald, Hutchings, Appleby, Wells

18th Man: Davidson

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