Wigan come from behind at Salford to maintain winning start

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Wigan come from behind at Salford to maintain winning start

Wigan extended their winning start to the Super League season as two late tries saw the world champions come from behind to claim a 22-12 victory at Salford.

Salford were on course to add another big scalp after their 24-20 fightback triumph at St Helens last Friday, having hit back from 10-0 down early in the second half to lead 12-10.

But Wigan – despite playing out the closing stages of the match with 12 men due to Harry Smith being sin binned – subsequently turned things around again late on with Jake Wardle and Bevan French crossing as Matt Peet’s title-holders made it four wins from as many matches this term to go two points clear at the top.

Paul Rowley’s Salford, who had recorded their third-successive victory with the St Helens result, made a bright start to the contest without getting off the mark and subsequently did well to resist pressure exerted by their opponents.

Red Devils skipper Kallum Watkins was almost played in around the half-hour but he could not claim the ball at the crucial moment and soon after, team-mate Ryan Brierley burst through before being tackled as he tried to finish.

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Marc Sneyd’s mistake from the goal line dropout saw Jake Wardle run in unopposed for the try as Wigan went on to beat Salford in the Super League

Wigan then made the breakthrough in the final moments of the half as Jai Field produced a fine grubber kick and Liam Marshall collected on the left for his sixth try of the season.

Smith was unable to get his conversion attempt on-target, but showed more accuracy early in the second half after Abbas Miski took French’s excellent pass and dived over in the corner to extend Wigan’s lead.

Having battled back so impressively from 20-6 down against St Helens, Salford were then at it again, firstly when Sam Stone was set up by a delicate kick from Marc Sneyd, who added the extras.

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Wigan’s Bevan French scored in the closing moments to secure a 22-12 win on the road over Salford in the Super League

The hosts subsequently drew level when a looping Sneyd kick caused a scramble and Tim Lafai grounded, with Sneyd’s conversion putting them 12-10 ahead.

The situation got worse for Wigan with 10 minutes to go as they were reduced to 12 men for the remainder of the match when Smith was sinbinned as Salford threatened another try.

But Peet’s men were then presented with a chance when Sneyd tried a short drop-out, Salford were unable to take the ball and it was seized by Wardle, who crossed to put Wigan back in front.

Adam Keighran converted and then did so again as the visitors wrapped things up with a further try from French.

What they said

Wigan Warriors head coach Matt Peet:

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Wigan Warriors head coach Matt Peet was pleased with the resilience his side showed as they fought back to triumph 22-12 at Salford Red Devils.

“There were times there where I thought we might have been beaten. I thought Salford played with such confidence with the ball and determination in defence as well. With Marc Sneyd’s kicking game as well with the conditions, I thought they were excellent, and if they had have won they would have deserved it.

“But my team deserve it as well. We were off our best but we never gave in and we’ve got some good players.

“I’m really proud of them, just the fact that they didn’t give in. Some of the efforts to drive them back over the line there, some of our best players were off tonight, but the team had enough. I said I didn’t want us to be outworked and I don’t think we were.”

Salford Red Devils head coach Paul Rowley:

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Despite making an error from a goal line dropout which saw Wigan score a try, Salford head coach Paul Rowley refused to blame Marc Sneyd, who became the club’s leading points scorer in their narrow loss.

“Sneydy was man of the match and that was absolutely the right decision, he was the best player on the field, so we’ve got no dramas.

“You win some, you lose some regarding that (drop kick). He’s been brilliant for us and continues to be brilliant. He was brilliant today, he made one bad decision, but that’s what happens.

“We put ourselves in a position to win, we should have won the game really with Wigan down to 12. We got derailed a little bit probably for the last 10 minutes and lost a bit of composure there.”

What’s next?

Salford Red Devils are away to Hull Kingston Rovers in Challenge Cup next Friday, then return to Super League action at home to Leigh Leopards on Saturday 30 March, live on Sky Sports Arena at 5:30pm. Wigan Warriors host the Sheffield Eagles next Friday in the Challenge Cup, before travelling to St Helens in the Super League a week later on Good Friday, live on Sky Sports Arena at 3pm.

Hull Kingston Rovers are next in action on Saturday, March 16 with a trip to Huddersfield Giants on the horizon (3pm kick-off, live on Sky Sports Action) and the following day Warrington Wolves will face London Broncos in the capital (3pm kick-off, live on Sky Sports Arena).

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