posted on 21 April 2012

The Wildcats survived a late Salford fightback to secure a much needed victory in front of  the Sky cameras.

The Wildcats hung on but were fully deserving of their win against Salford City Reds.

A dominant first half performance brought tries for Dean Collis, Danny Washbrook, Peter Fox and Frankie Mariano with Daniel Holdsworth’s breakaway score the only moment of real note from the visitors in the first half.

But the Wildcats made things difficult for themselves in the second period and although two Paul Sykes penalties gave them breathing space, a Chris Nero try and a late brace for Ashley Gibson left the game in the balance with a couple of minutes remaining.

Fox and Danny Kirmond came up with some vital defensive plays at the death and the Wildcats clung on desperately for their third win of the campaign.

Richard Agar recalled Mariano to his starting line-up with Oliver Wilkes also stepping into the starting line-up as Kyle Amor dropped down to the replacements bench as Lucas Walshaw missed out with a hamstring problem picked up in the week.

Wakefield got the start they desperately wanted, shifting the ball into the hands of Collis who took on opposite number Nero, swatted him away and got his outstretched arm over the line.

Salford were left reeling moments later when Kirmond made the initial break and after support from Wilkes and the inlfuential Tim Smith, the Wildcats forced a drop-out when they may have felt they should have scored.

But from the very next set Smith’s inside ball sent Washbrook over for a second try in the opening seven minutes.

It was all the Wildcats in the early stages with Paul Aiton grubbering through for himself but his attempts to ground the ball saw him bounce it in the act of scoring and the video referee ruled out the try.

Salford got a foothold in the game very much against the run of play through Holdsworth.  Smith’s kick to the corner was misread by Sykes and straight into the arms of Ashley Gibson and when Ben Cockayne slipped he raced clear and was supported by Holdsworth to get the Reds on the scoreboard.

It wasn’t the start of a comeback though when Mariano used his strength to get over the line from close range before Wakefield’s dominance was hammered home when Collis superbly flicked the ball out of the back of his hand to give Fox a walk-in try.

The second half began in similar fashion to the first with the Wildcats controlling matters only for Isaac John to slip of his attempted tackle on Nero to allow him to get over the whitewash following a powerful run.

An increasingly scrappy game disrupted the Wildcats rhythm and through a combination of errors and penalties they invited Salford into their half much more regularly.

However, when the Wildcats attacked the Reds line they came away with points through the boot of Sykes, his  two penalties opening up a fourteen point lead and seemingly more than enough to kill any remaining fight in the Reds ranks.

Joel Moon had bombed a great chance prior to that when Wakefield players left a high kick for each other and the centre raced onto the ball only to knock-on, but Gibson was more clinical with his chance, just about seeing off the attentions of Wood in the corner to get the ball down after a long look from the video referee who ajudged his foot just wasn’t in touch.

Moments later and Gibson had a walk-in try to set up a grandstand finish.  Phil Veivers’ side marched Trinity into their own half and their expansive play created danger on the left with Fox flying in off his wing to put the hit on Patten to disrupt the momentum.

But Salford came again with Fox flat out on the floor and the intervention of Kirmond won the game for the hosts.

Wakefield: Mathers, Fox, Collis, Sykes, Cockayne, John, Smith, Raleigh, Aiton, Wilkes, Kirmond, Mariano, Washbrook.Replacements: Wood, James, Amor, Mellars.

Salford: Patten, Broughton, Gleeson, Moon, Gibson, Holdsworth, Smith, McPherson, Godwin, Paleaaesina, Ashurst, Adamson, Wild.Replacements: James, Howarth, Jewitt, Nero.

Att: 6,748.

Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).

This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.

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