Salford City Reds U20s Match Report by Joshua Chapman (@Chapalar)
Salford got the game underway and won a scrum instantly as hooker Sean Kelly knocked on. Salford pressured the Cougars tryline but the home side held out well despite the City Reds pressure and a wild offload by Kyle Dolan saw possession change hands.
Cougars didn’t really show much promise and Salford pushed forward once again before finally finding a breakthrough with George Tyson taking advantage of a gap in the Cougars line to cross for the opening try. Dan Lomax then converted to put the City Reds in to an early six point advantage.
Cougars tried to push forward with no avail and this allowed the visitors to push for a chance to extend their lead and they did just this after some more clever passing saw the ball find its way onto the wing which allowed Edwin Okanga-Ajwang to squeeze in the corner for the visitors second try of the evening. Dan Lomax then squeezed his conversion wide.
Salford hit once again from the kick off with some clever play by Kyle Dolan breaking the Cougars line once again before sending George Tyson in for his second of the afternoon. Dan Lomax then converted to extend the City Reds lead further. Salford nearly crossed again moments later but George Tyson knocked on as he was set to go in for his hat-trick try.
Cougars then got possession on another rare occasion and got their first back to back set of six after Okanga-Ajwang and after Liam Darville nearly crossed, Ben Stead knocked on giving Salford possession but Cougars got possession back quickly and got over with Charlie Eccelston before Ben Stead kicked fantastically from the wing to bring the Cougars within ten.
Referee, Mr J Roberts, then brought controversy by awarding Salford a scrum from an obvious dump tackle. But, Cougars won the ball back from some sloppy Salford play and punished them with a clever kick by Ben Stead allowing Rob Hawthorne to offload to Luke Whiteley which saw the winger scamper over in the corner. Ben Stead then sliced the conversion to bring it back within six.
Salford seemed to be falling apart which allowed the Cougars to challenge the line once again with Liam Darville only being halted by some scrappy defending and from a scrum from a knock on against Aaron Nicholosn, Ash Hutchinson collected the ball from a poor offload to let the Cougars have another set of six on the line. Jack Copperwaite then nearly got over in the corner only to be dragged out of play by the Salford defence.
Salford then nearly crossed again to put the game more in their control with Jordan Davies only being halted on the line before they were penalised for a sloppy knock on by Kyle Dolan. The game then pattered out to the half time hooter.
The second half got under way with Cougars attacking the City Reds line but the visitors held out strong to get their hands on the ball after Charlie Eccleston knocked on following a big hit by Afeez Oderinde and after forcing a goal line drop out, Jordan Davies was unlucky not to score after being held up over the line by some fantastic Cougars defence.
Unfortunately, Salford did find their way over in similar fashion to their second try with some clever passing play sending Edwin Okanga-Ajwang over for the Reds. Dan Lomax then missed the conversion to keep the City Reds lead over the Cougars at just the ten points.
A 25 man brawl then followed after some dirty play by the visitors which lead to a Cougars penalty for dragging. Salford continued to pressure the Cougars line however after the hosts gave away a contentious penalty and nearly got close but Luke Moorby halted the on rushing Jack Holmes to win a restart on the twenty.
Cougars then got close to the line and nearly crossed with Adam Reardon before a Rob Hawthorne dummy kick was spilled on the wet surface by the onrushing City Reds defender. Cougars took the scrum and new set of six to pile on the pressure with Josh Lynam only being halted over the line by a clever ball steal following a Ben Stead kick on the last.
Salford got back up the field of play and found their way over once again with the Cougars defence at sixes and sevens, some clever offloads of the ground sent Will Hope over to extend their lead. Dan Lomax then converted once again to restore the full sixteen point lead of earlier in the game. Salford didn’t take long to cross again when from the kick off they found their way up the field with ease again before Kyle Dolan fought his way over dragging three defenders over with him. Dan Lomax then converted again.
City Reds tirade on the Cougars defensive line continued once more when Jordan Davies showed a dummy and broke the line to cross underneath the sticks despite the efforts of the two Cougars defenders chasing the centre back.
Cougars were from this point playing for pride and it showed as they still attacked the Salford line with real force and exploited a real gap in the Reds defence with Ben Stead finding his way over in the corner. He then sliced the conversion to keep the gap between the two sides at twenty four points.
Cougars tried to salvage some more pride with a Ben Stead kick to the wing nearly being converted to a try but Luke Whiteley was held out and put into touch by the City Reds defence. Salford’s ability to turn defence into attack in a blink of an eye nearly saw them score more points but Cougars held out and this brought the game to a close.
Cougars: Moorby, Copperwaite, Hawthorne, Reardon, Whiteley, Stead, Darville, Patchett, Kelly, Courtney, Lynam, Nicholson, Eccleston. Interchanges: Chapman, Boltwood, Hutchinson, Akrigg.
City Reds: Dolan, Okeh, Okanga-Ajwang, Davies, Doolan, Lomax, Holmes, Davidson, Powell, Hema, Tyson, Hankinson, Hope. Interchanges: Bibby, Wells, Griffiths, Oderinde.