Super League: Salford Red Devils 12-6 Leigh Centurions
|Betfred Super League|
|Salford (6) 12|
|Tries: Welham, O'Brien Goals: O'Brien, Dobson|
|Leigh (6) 6|
|Tries: Brown Goals: Reynolds|
Salford Red Devils made it five Super League wins in a row with a hard-fought derby win against Leigh Centurions.
Mitch Brown's first-half try that put Leigh in front was cancelled out by Kris Welham's score to make it 6-6 at half-time.
Gareth O'Brien scythed through after a long period of pressure, and Michael Dobson added the two to put Salford ahead with quarter of an hour to play.
O'Brien's drop goal attempt to seal it struck an upright, but Salford held on.
The Centurions have now not won at Salford in their last 13 visits, a run which stretches back to 1983.
Having won three of the first six games, Leigh have now lost four on the bounce but were in contention for long periods against the competition high-flyers.
Brown's try from Martyn Ridyard's grubber had put them on top, but Ben Reynolds' drop goal attempt sailed wide after Salford's reply just before the break from Welham.
Leigh were on the back foot in the second-half but clung on defensively, only for O'Brien - so often a match-winning influence for Salford's - popped up with a crucial try to seal the game and maintain the hosts' flying start.
Salford head coach Ian Watson: "We have talked about being resilient and coming through close games and we showed that again today. Last season we were involved in a lot of close games and just didn't quite get there.
"We won't get carried away with winning five games in a row. I thought Leigh were great and they turned up here and had a real dig. They are an aggressive team but our middles stood up to them pretty well.
"Gareth O'Brien [who scored the match-winning try] had been ill all night and as of 10am thought he wouldn't be playing. But he said he was okay and put his hand up to play, so it was a real good dig for us.
"In the first half we were a little bit off but in the second we controlled the game really well on the back of Michael Dobson's kicking game, which is what we wanted to do in the conditions."
Leigh head coach Neil Jukes: "It was a really tough game. We were dumb in some of the plays which added some pressure on us. I thought Salford's game management and kicking game was superior.
"We hung in there but I am disappointed and the lads are really frustrated. Effort and attitude alone won't get us there. I thought our discipline was outstanding. But in the second half we killed ourselves with poor completion - it was only 50 per cent.
"We struggled to build pressure and our kicking needed to be better. We will get patched up for Easter Monday (at home to Hull) and be ready to go again."
Salford Red Devils: O'Brien; Johnson, Welham, Sa'u, J. Carney; Lui, Dobson; Tasi, Tomkins, Mossop, Jones, Murdoch-Masila, Flanagan.
Replacements: Kopczak, Griffin, Wood, Walne.
Leigh Centurions: McNally; Higson, Crooks, Brown, Dawson; Reynolds, Ridyard; Acton, Higham, Tickle, Vea, Stewart, Hansen.
Replacements: Pelissier, Weston, Hopkins, Burr.