Tigers grind out gritty Red Devils win

Posted: Friday 30th April 2021 - 10:00 PM

The Fords’ put in a mature performance to overcome an early deficit and see off a determined Red Devils’ side thanks to 12 points from the tee courtesy of Danny Richardson alongside impressive attacking performances from Paul McShane and Jake Trueman.

The Tigers came into the game on the back of a narrow defeat to Wigan Warriors during their last outing and the fixture marked the Ford’s first game since the announcement of Lee Radford as the Club’s Head Coach for 2022 - he for one will be keen to see his future side showcase their talents.

However, 2021 is the focus and Head Coach Daryl Powell named a competitive side including returns to the starting line-up for Jesse Sene-Lefao and Danny Richardson, while there were a few causes for celebration with Nathan Massey celebrating his 250th Castleford appearance and Oliver Holmes making his 200th Super League appearance.

Red Devils’ Coach Richard Marshall was looking to build some momentum after a come-from-behind victory over Leigh and his side welcomed back Andy Ackers at hooker as well as Kalum Watkins who stepped in for Kristian Inu.

Derrell Olpherts had impressed with try-scoring appearances in his last three games and he was involved in the game’s first significant action as his strong running on a kick return drew a stray Salford arm and a penalty to give the Tigers an early attacking opportunity.

The returning Ackers then went close for the hosts down the left side, with only smothering defence from Niall Evalds preventing his former side from taking the lead as he heroically held up the Salford hooker.

A brilliant piece of individual defence kept the scores level only for an equally impressive piece of attacking improvisation to give the Tigers the lead as a high kick was tapped back by Olpherts, landing to Richardson, and the scrum half had the foresight to put in a well weighted crossfield kick to the onrushing Eden to stroll in. Cas’ half back then slotted the extras to leave Cas leading by six after eight minutes.

The Red Devils’ recruitment over the winter meant many had tipped them as dark horses for 2021 and it was this injection of proven top tier talent that gave them a way back into the game: Kallum Watkins rising high to collect a Lolohea kick before expertly offloading to the supporting Kevin Brown to respond for Salford. Harvey Livett levelling the scores with a straightforward conversion.

The last time these teams met Cas won a free-scoring 11 try thriller and something similar looked to be on the cards as shortly after their first try, the side from Greater Manchester were in again: Niall Evalds being pinned in his own in-goal area led to a drop out, and with a shorter field, Cas’ opponents turned the screw through a Lee Mossop carry, with Andy Ackers’ quick scoot round the ruck then giving his side a deserved lead.

With the hosts threatening again- only a missed pass bobbling into touch giving the Tigers a reprieve - it was left to Paul McShane to lay down a marker and give Cas a way back into the game: The number nine breaking from the base of the ruck and towards the Salford line before smuggling an offload to Shenton who drew the last defender and found the onrushing Watts to score from 10 yards out.

One sore note was milestone man Nathan Massey being unfortunately ruled out through a failed head injury assessment, leaving the Tigers a man light for the remainder of the game. This did however mean more experience for youngsters Brad Martin and Lewis Peachey who impressed later in their extended roles off the bench.

With the half time hooter looming, Tigers looked to strike and restore their earlier lead, Peter Mata’utia together with Sene-Lefao managing to force a goal line drop out, however a move down the right edge broke down after a knock on.

On the stroke of half time, the Tigers received a stroke of fortune after Salford dissent flipped possession and gave them a shot of taking a lead to the dressing room with a long distance penalty: Richardson duly obliged with an arrow straight long range effort to give Daryl Powell’s side a two point advantage after the first 40.

The second half began just as the first had ended: An opportunity for points from a Salford error as a forward pass gave the Fords possession and from their attacking set, Jake Trueman demonstrated his lethal short range kicking game which has led to points all season as he dribbled a kick in behind for Cheyse Blair to fall on. Danny Richardson made it four from four with the boot to widen the margin between the sides.

A narrow 8-point margin between the two sides was underlined by a few fiery encounters between Jack Ormondroyd and Paul McShane and Peter Mata’utia and James Greenwood but calmer heads prevailed as both teams looked to score the next decisive try.

The game continued to be a little chippy as Mata’utia was penalised for a dangerous tackle but this gave Jake Trueman, who may be attracting plaudits for his attacking play this year, chance to showcase his strong defence as on his own line: The stand off completing one tackle and then rapidly pulling himself to his feet just in time to stop Elliot Kear from darting over on the last tackle.

Every point was going to prove vital and Daryl Powell’s side were able to secure two more after back-to-back penalties from the Red Devils allowed Richardson to continue his fine evening from the tee as he kicked another long range goal to further pad the league.

With the game entering the last twenty minutes, some excellent support play saw Cas serve up a fine try as Peachey and Martin helped march their team forward, only for Liam Watts and then Peter Mata’utia to expertly offload which allowed Trueman to score the Fords’ fourth try of the night and give them a 14 point cushion to defend for the final few moments.

Credit was due to Richard Marshall’s side who had given the Tigers a strong showing and kept the game close for most of the game, and they scored a late consolation through Lolohea despite being down to 12 men after a Lee Mossop sin binning.

Composure and measured defence were the order of the last 10 minutes and Daryl Powell will be pleased to see his side show both as they shut down any attempt at a Salford comeback and returned to winning ways to make it four wins from five to start the 2021 Super League season.

Both sides will now turn their attention to a Betfred Challenge Cup rematch at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle on the 8th May with a place in the semi-finals at stake.

Full Time: Salford Red Devils 18-28 Castleford Tigers

Salford Red Devils
Kear, Sio, Watkins, Livett, Williams, Lolohea, Brown, Mossop, Ackers, Ikahihifo, Greenwood, Roberts, Addy

Atkin, Burke, Johnson, Ormondroyd

Tries: Brown, Ackers, Lolohea

Conversions: Livett (2/2), Brown (1/1)

Sin Bin: Mossop


Castleford Tigers
Evalds, Olpherts, Mata’utia, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Richardson, Millington, McShane, Massey, Holmes, Sene-Lefao, Milner

Watts, Blair, Peachey, Martin

Tries: Eden, Watts, Blair, Trueman

Conversions: Richardson (4/5)

Goals: Richardson (2/2)

*Match report by Sam Armstrong

**Match photography by Melanie Allatt Photography

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