When the Salford Red Devils hosted St Helens back in round four at the end of February, the Saints travelled back down the East Lancs Road with the two points after a convincing 26-4 win.

Saints are sitting very prettily at the top of the pile, with points in hand over their rivals, but Salford had a massive incentive in knowing that a win could lift them as high as third, thanks to their superior points difference.

Saints were without a number of key players including James Roby and Danny Richardson and despite Salford being underdogs, they must have travelled to the Totally Wicked Stadium with hope that they could upset the odds.

A sensational opener from Lachlan Coote was made by a fantastic Regan Grace who danced through the Red Devils defence before pulling in the last tackler and releasing the full back to score under the posts. Coote added the conversion for a 6-0 lead after six minutes.

Coote added his second on eight minutes after picking up a Theo Fages chip over the defenders in a planned move which transferred perfectly from the training ground. Coote again converted for 12-0 in a one man scoring spree.

The third came on eleven minutes from a rampant Saints as Tommy Makinson crashed the Salford line off a Fages pass, fending off the defenders and grounding before being rolled into touch. Coote was unable to add the conversion from wide but while Salford caught their breath they were already up against it.

A Robert Lui 40-20 finally got the Red Devils moving on the scoreboard as on the second tackle Gil Dudson went for the line and stretched to score.  Krisnan Inu added the extras from under the H.

Salford were back within four of the home side with an excellent Niall Evalds ninety metre canter down the centre of the field after Inu picked up a St Helens grubber close to his own line and fed the speedy full-back. He outpaced the Saints chasers to score comfortably by the right upright. Inu added the extra and despite being pummelled early on the visitors had kept their cool and were back in the game.

Three quick penalties conceeded by Salford saw them on a team warning but after getting a penalty themselves for an incorrect play-the-ball they moved downfield with speed and after Inu palmed back a high kick it was picked up by Derrell Olpherts who evaded the tacklers to ground and draw the visitors level. Inu added the conversion to give the Red Devils a surprise lead on the half hour.

It was a half of two halves. As well as the Saints dominated the opening twenty, rushing into a 16-0 lead, it was a determined and disciplined second twenty from the Red Devils who went in at the break with a narrow two point lead.

After initial stalemate in the second half it was the Red Devils who extended their lead on fifty-two with Evalds taking a Lui pass to spring twenty metres to the line to score. Inu added the conversion, Salford having scored twenty-four unanswered points in their 24-16 lead.

Salford’s dream was becoming Saints nightmare. On sixty minutes Lui stepped past three Saints defenders to go in under the sticks. Inu converted the try to put Salford 30-16 ahead to the joyous reaction of the small band of travelling supporters.

Lachlan Coote grabbed his hat-trick try on sixty-four thanks to a knock-back pass from Zeb Taia going to hand with the full-back dropping the shoulder to duck under the defenders. Coote was unable to add the conversion, Saints still ten adrift.

The comeback was on after sixty-six thanks to a Tommy Makinson line bust and thirty metre run to the line. Coote added the touchline conversion, the Red Devils lead now down to four points, all to play for.

With two minutes left on the clock, and on the last tackle, James Bentley crashed over the line to ground. The referee checked with the video official who agreed with the on-field decision to award a try and when Coote added the conversion the Saints had won a hard-fought 32-30 win.

What a crazy game we are sometimes treated to. This one ebbed and flowed, one way and the other, with two brilliant fight-backs, one from Salford and the crucial one from Saints. Saints opened to sixteen point lead before going 30-16 behind. Salford were then silenced as the Saints scored another sixteen to snatch the win.

Neither side was interested in being conservative with the ball, instead looking to entertain their fans by giving the ball plenty of air and taking risks. Saints will believe that they should, and could, have done better, while the Red Devils will be left ruing some basic mistakes which ultimatley cost them the game and the two points.

Saints: Coote (3T, 4G), Swift, Makinson (2T), Costello, Grace, Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Smith, Lees, Peyroux, Taia, Knowles.  Subs: Paulo, Amor, Ashworth, Bentley (T).

Red Devils: Evalds (2T), Olpherts (T), Inu (5G), Welham, Sio, Lui (T), Hastings, Mossop, Lussick, Dudson (T), Jones, Griffin, Burke.  Subs: Walker, Murrey, McCarthy, Pauli.

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas.

Half-Time: 16-18.

Full-Time: 32-30.

Attendance: .


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