Harlequins 22 Salford City Reds 26
by Nigel Roberts
The Stoop, Sunday 14th March
Salford Reds made the trek to London optimistic of a win to secure their first points of the season.
Coach Shaun McRae made a number of changes following last week’s disappointing defeat to Catalan Dragons with the inclusion of Matty Smith at half-back and Stuart Littler in the pack the most notable.
All the early play came from Quins with the Reds defence being sternly tested. After absorbing this early pressure the Reds were able to score in their first attack when a pass from Malcolm Alker enabled full-back Karl Fitzpatrick to weave his way over for a try in the corner too far for Dan Holdsworth to add the conversion (0 – 4).
The Reds continued to pile on the pressure but were unable to turn this into points. The Reds were also defending well.
A bad injury to Quins player Jason Golden delayed the action and seemed to cause the Reds to lose their concentration resulting in Danny Orr scampering over to score from acting half-back. He also added the two points for a 6-4 lead after 36 minutes.
Within minutes Quins went further ahead when Fitzpatrick and Stephen Tyrer failed to gather a kick to allow Karl Temata to score by the posts. Orr again added the conversion (12-4)
The half ended with Jeremy Smith being sin-binned for a late tackle on Orr.
The Reds started the half with a good attack which almost brought Jodie Broughton a try in the corner.
Quins then stretched their lead in the 49th minute when poor tackling let Lamont Bryan in for a try. Orr added the goal for an 18-4 advantage.
The Reds though came storming back when Fitzpatrick sent Tyrer over to score. Holdsworth landed a great conversion for an 18-10 scoreline.
A tremendous 70 metre run by Broughton almost brought Tyrer a try. The Reds did score shortly after when Holdsworth put Tyrer in to score.
Holdsworth added another impressive kick to haul the Reds within two points of Quins at 18-16.
Salford continued to impress with both Matty Smith and Adam Sidlow going close before an ambitious floating pass from the former was gratefully received by Broughton who scored by the corner-flag.
Holdsworth was wide this time with his kick. Salford though had nosed ahead at 18-20.
Salford continued to dominate play and clinched victory in the 78th minute when a Holdsworth kick was snapped up by Tyrer who completed his hat-trick. Holdsworth added the two points for an 18-26 scoreline.
With just seconds remaining, Quins scored through Ben Jones-Bishop. But it was a case of too little too late as the hooter sounded immediately for a final score of 22-26.
Salford at last get a league win for the first time since winning at the Stoop last August. They showed excellent character to fight their way back from a 14 point deficit.
Whilst they were far from perfect at time coach McRae will be pleased with the performances of Holdsworth, Tyrer and Broughton.
Salford: Fitzpatrick, Tyrer, Henry, Gibson, Broughton, Holdsworth, M Smith, Parker, Alker, Boyle, Littler, Adamson, Swain.
Replacements: Leuluai, J. Smith, Jewitt, Sidlow (all used)
Photo: Stephen Tyrer touching down for Salford Reds
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