Match Report: Salford 20 Wigan 23
Posted by Bilko on June 04 2016 - 11:38
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Salford Red Devils v Wigan Warriors - First Utility Super League 21 - Round 17
Friday 3rd June 2016. Kick Off 8:00pm at AJ Bell Stadium.

Match Report

Whilst Wigan did their level best to chuck this game away late, it shouldn't really take away from another excellent away performance.

By excellent I mean that for the second week in a row they came on top in a good battle. Salford, like Castleford, were not lacking any effort and this Red Devils side in particular had some strong defence that Wigan had to break down.

Wigan managed to break it by massively exposing the defensive weakness of Justin Carney. He has massacred Josh Charnley in defence whilst in Castleford colours last season but this was a total role reversal.

I do wonder though how different the game might have been had Salford gone 12-4 up with a penalty shot on 30 minutes. That miss and Wigan's subsequent winning of a drop out from a drop out (it might have been a 20 metre one but I can't recall seeing that before) had seen a possible 12-4 quickly becoming 10-10.

The opening twenty minutes was strong on defence by both sides I thought. Wigan though found the lead with a beautiful little dink kick from George Williams being finished by Josh Charnley in the left corner. Conversion was missed, so only 4-0.

Salford hit back with a scrappy try from Michael Dobson for 4-4 but this had come after Wigan had lost both Greg Burke and Sam Powell to concussion tests after they had collided with each other making a tackle. Powell would soon return but Burke's night proved to be done. Ben Flower was also in the wars with a massive shiner under the right eye that was looking akin Blake Green at Old Trafford in 2013.

Losing Powell temporarily meant Wigan had to reshuffle Williams to Hooker, a mixture of Sarginson and Sam Tomkins at half back and then obviously movement in the centres as well and it stifled us for a while. ]

The home side took advantage to claim a second try. Robert Lui put a nothing bomb up but Wigan let it bounce and after Sarginson's leap at the ball proved unsuccessful it bounced kindly for Craig Kopczak to send Dobson under the posts for his second. He also converted for 10-4.

That was on 26 minutes and Wigan were on the ropes a little here. Which perhaps makes Salford's decision to go for goal on the half hour even more bizarre. Especially given the fact it wasn't a gift two, it was our wide on the right and that miss was soon compounded further.

As long as the penalty goes dead, if its missed, you get the ball back from a twenty metre line drop out. That's the theory anyway but amazingly Wigan belted the ball so hard that it ended up going out for a drop out the other end. Robert Lui was claiming that he had his foot out to make it dead, and Salford fans were riled by this apparent injustice, but I think he totally failed to understand the rules because this was not an in normal play kick but a drop out. I'm not convinced he executed his idea anyway to be fair.

From that drop out, Wigan quickly found a try with a nice finish from Ryan Sutton from a Williams grubber, that Smith converted for 10-10, and that try settled Wigan back down in the battle.

Powell returned as well to help and to end the half Wigan kicked a drop goal right on the hooter for an 11-10 lead. Wonderful composure from Smith who was well aware of the time of the clock.

The second half started with Wigan conceding a couple of penalties to give Salford opportunities but defence was strong at this point and eventually Wigan got a try up the other end with hands between Smith and Sarginson getting Charnley over for his second. Smith missed the kick but 15-10 was now the lead.

Wigan then kicked a penalty on 58 minutes for 17-10, which was a no brainer, but I felt that this spell in the game was needing a further try from Wigan to be a true reflection of the dominance we had now found.

It eventually came on 64 minutes with a great burst from Sutton setting up the ground work before his offload left the Salford defence scrambling desperately. Smith took the off load left and some great footwork from Sarginson got him round Junior Sa'u and then his dummy committed Justin Carney and allowed Sarge to slip Charnley in for the hat-trick. Better from Sarginson that, lovely stuff. Smith hit a big conversion as well to make it 23-10.

At this point your remembering last week's sweat after gaining a three score lead and hoping history wouldn't repeat, but sadly it did.

Salford rallied because Wigan coughed up the ball cheaply. First Taulima Tautai's error was converted into a try for Josh Jones and then Lee Mossop's knock on saw Daniel Vidot score. Absolutely terrible game management from Wigan, when will they learn? Michael Dobson had limped off, so Robert Lui was on kicking and he hit the first for 23-16 but missed the second for 23-20.

He rushed that last one and thankfully so because the way the ending panned out you'd have backed them to get a drop goal to level had they been in that kind of situation.

In the end, time defeated Salford and Wigan were left hanging on to a result they should have been far more comfortable in earning. They did deserve the win though when all is said and done and it just shows how vital the drop goal late in the first half and the second half penalty goal proved to be. Also the turnaround from what could of been 12-4 to 10-10 within two minutes was huge.

So, a good battling win that takes us six points inside the top four. A massive margin already even though we have 13 more matches to the play offs.

You sense Wigan fans are beginning to enjoy their away days again also. The cheering of every tackle on one huge defensive effort said as much and this win means that we have already been more successful away in 2016, earning ten points from seven away matches, than we were in the entire 2015 season when we earned just nine points from fourteen games.

Team Sheets

- Salford Position Wigan 1
5 Daniel Vidot Full Back Sam Tomkins 1
2 Justin Carney

Right Wing

Dom Manfredi 5
33 Josh Jones Centre Oliver Gildart 20
4 Junior Sa'u Centre Dan Sarginson 4
25 Jake Bibby Left Wing Josh Charnley 2
6 Robert Lui Stand Off George Williams 6
7 Michael Dobson Scrum Half Matty Smith 7
8 Craig Kopczak Prop Dom Crosby 8
19 Logan Tomkins Hooker Sam Powell 16

George Griffin


Ben Flower

11 Ben Murdoch-Masila 2nd Row Greg Burke 26
12 Weller Hauraki 2nd Row Willie Isa 25

Mark Flanagan


Joel Tomkins

15 Adam Walne Substitute Lee Mossop 17
17 Phil Joseph Substitute Taulima Tautai 19
21 Ryan Lannon Substitute Ryan Sutton 21
31 Connor Williams Substitute Joe Bretherton 29
- Ian Watson Coach Shaun Wane -

Score Sheet

Salford Red Devils 20


Wigan Warriors 23

Tries (4):
Michael Dobson 2
Josh Jones
Daniel Vidot


Tries (4):
Josh Charnley 3
Ryan Sutton

Michael Dobson 1/3
Robert Lui 1/2
--- Goals:
Matty Smith 3/5
--- --- Drop Goals:
Matty Smith 1

Scoring and Incident Pattern

8th Minute Salford 00 Wigan 04

Try: Josh Charnley

Salford 00 Wigan 04 Missed Conv: Matty Smith (0/1)
19th Minute Salford 04 Wigan 04 Try: Michael Dobson
Salford 04 Wigan 04 Missed Conv: Michael Dobson (0/1)
26th Minute Salford 08 Wigan 04 Try: Michael Dobson (2)
Salford 10 Wigan 04 Conversion: Michael Dobson (1/2)
30th Minute Salford 10 Wigan 04 Missed Penalty: Michael Dobson (1/3)
32nd Minute Salford 10 Wigan 08

Try: Ryan Sutton

Salford 10 Wigan 10 Conversion: Matty Smith (1/2)
40th Minute Salford 10 Wigan 11

Drop Goal: Matty Smith

Half Time Salford Red Devils 10 Wigan Warriors 11
52nd Minute Salford 10 Wigan 15

Try: Josh Charnley (2)

Salford 10 Wigan 15 Missed Conv: Matty Smith (1/3)
58th Minute Salford 10 Wigan 17

Penalty Goal: Matty Smith (2/4)

64th Minute Salford 10 Wigan 21

Try: Josh Charnley (Hat-Trick)

Salford 10 Wigan 23 Conversion: Matty Smith (3/5)
73rd Minute Salford 14 Wigan 23 Try: Josh Jones
Salford 16 Wigan 23 Conversion: Robert Lui (1/1)
78th Minute Salford 20 Wigan 23 Try: Daniel Vidot
Salford 20 Wigan 23 Missed Conv: Robert Lui (1/2)
Full Time Salford Red Devils 20 Wigan Warriors 23


Gareth Hewer

Penalties Conceded

Salford 6 Wigan 8

Match Attendance



Nice Evening with a breeze.