The high flying Salford Red Devils, currently in second place in the Super League, were looking for their thirteenth victory of the season against a Hull FC side who are currently in fifth place, and who had their eyes on ending the night in third spot.
Both sides have hopes of Old Trafford and tonights' game would give an indication of which of these two sides are the real deal in 2017.
It’s that 'time of the season' and both sides were missing a number of stars. The Red Devils were noticibly missing Jones and Tonkins while Hull FC were without the services of Houghton and Sneyd.
It was the visitors who got the scoreboard moving on six minutes when Fetuli Talanoa caught a Jake Connor high kick to push off the Red Devils tackler and score. Connor failed to add the conversion.
The second Hull try came on sixteen when Albert Kelly started a move finding Ian Watt and then supporting to take the pass inside to go over under the sticks. Connor converted for a 10-0 lead.
A dreadful Salford pass on the half way line went to ground and Kelly hacked the ball downfield twice before grounding the ball just short of the dead ball line for Hulls third try on twenty-six minutes. Connor again added the extras for 16-0 and already it was looking like a struggle for the Red Devils.
FC were looking in total control on thirty-five when Danny Washbrook went from dummy half to stretch over his head and ground under the sticks giving Connor a simple goal for a 22-0 half time lead with the Airlie Birds in total control of a first half which had seen Salford with barely a scoring opportunity.
Whatever coach Ian Watson said at the interval worked wonders as two minutes after the restart Niall Evalds was the beneficiary of a passing move from left to right, including a couple of offloads, to go over on the overlap. Michael Dobson kicked the touchline conversion for 22-6. But it was brief respite as Carlos Tuimavave went between three tacklers off an Albert Kelly pass to re-establish the interval lead. Connor’s touchline conversion made it 28-6.
Hull got another breakaway try, turning defence into attack, on fifty-nine when Jamie Shaul picked up a wayward Salford pass to go ninety-five metres, avoiding the Red Devils cover tacklers, to go over. Connor slid the extras inside the far upright for 34-6 to seal the points for the visitors.
With both sides tiring, Weller Hauraki threw a dummy five out from the Hull line and then crashed over two defenders to ground. Gareth O’Brien was unable to add the conversion leaving the score at 10-34.
Neither side could add to their tally before the final hooter as tiredness of last weekends doublé fixtures took its toll.
Hull controlled the game from the first whistle to the final hooter. The Red Devils were never allowed to get a foothold or find any rhythm by a black and whites side who put in a tremendous defensive effort but showed flair in attack. Salford will try and forget about tonight and focus on Thursdays' Cup quarter final against Wakefield while Hull will hope to carry this form into their cup game against the Castleford Tigers on Sunday.
Red Devils: O’Brien, Bibby, Welham, Sa’u, Evalds (T), Lui, Dobson (G), Tasi, Brinning, Hassan, Murdoch-Masila, Hauraki (T), Griffin. Subs: Kopczak, Carney, Lannon, Krasniqi.
FC: Shaul (T), Michaels, Fonua, Tuimavave (T), Talanoa (T), Kelly (2T), Connor (5G), Bowden, Washbrook (T), Watts, Manu, Turgut, Thompson. Subs: Downs, Griffin, Fash, Matongo.
Referee: Ben Thaler.