SAINTS are back on the top of the First Utility Su

first_imgSAINTS are back on the top of the First Utility Super League following a hard fought 32-12 win over Salford Red Devils.Nathan Brown’s men turned in a defensive performance built on passion and stamina as they rose above Leeds at the top.Losing Tommy Makinson, Jon Wilkin and Anthony Walker to injury – and rolling one sub for at least 50 minutes – they kept a good Salford side at bay and scored five tries in the process.Mark Flanagan tackled all in front of him – as did Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Luke Walsh – who was excellent with the ball in hand – and the ranks of youngsters.Saints retained the same side that beat Huddersfield last week whilst Salford had Francis Meli, Tony Puletua and Andy Dixon – all formerly of this parish.But that mattered little at the end as Saints were down to 14 men.The hosts made a good start when Sia Soliola broke through the centre of the field and almost sparked the first try.Salford defended it but Saints came again and Niall Evald had to defend a sharp Walsh kick.But it was the Red Devils who had a real first glimpse of the line.Rangi Chase forced a drop out and then Tim Smith almost unlocked the defence was a cute pass.Saints’ defence did the trick though and on 17 minutes they broke the deadlock.Luke Walsh forced a knock on from Greg Eden after an innocuous looking chip and on the resultant set he sent a wonderful delayed short pass to Paul Wellens for his fourth of the season.Saints lost Tommy Makinson in the first half which forced a reshuffle and then Anthony Walker took a hit in a tackle and had to leave the field.The disruption didn’t alter Saints attack though and on 28 minutes Mark Flanagan’s fleet of foot gave the space for Sia Soliola to barge over.Walsh converting.And it got better as moments later Jon Wilkin’s break was polished off by Lance Hohaia.Wilkin later joined Saints walking wounded with a shoulder injury but they headed into the sheds 16-0 to the good.Saints rolled just one sub in the second half with the impetus on the visitors to unlock the defence.Evalds twice broke down the left hand side in the first five minutes – felled both times by Walsh – but the third time a grubber to the corner brought them right back into it.There was a hint of a knock on in the build-up as a pass from Tim Smith went to ground, but the winger, who started the half so well, deserved the score.Smith converting from the touchline.Saints hit back in the 50th minute when Paul Wellens drew in the defence and sent a great chip down the right-hand side for Gary Wheeler to pick up, hand off, and go in under the posts.Five minutes later Luke Walsh hammered home a penalty and then a sweeping move was polished off by Wellens for his second.Walsh was again involved after a strong Sia Soliola run, combining with Masoe to set the captain away – his 223rd in the Red Vee.Salford got one back through Gareth Hock – one the visitor’s probably deserved – but it couldn’t dampen a great night for the Saints.Walsh capping off the night with a penalty at the death.As it happened: Match CentreMatch Summary: Saints: Tries: Wellens (2), Soliola, Hohaia, WheelerGoals: Walsh (6 from 7)Devils:Tries: Evalds, HockGoals: Smith (2 from 2)Penalties:Saints: 6Devils: 2HT: 16-0FT: 32-12REF: Robert HicksATT: 10391 Teams: Saints:17. Paul Wellens; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 24. Gary Wheeler, 26. Matty Dawson; 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Luke Walsh; 8. Mose Masoe, 9. James Roby, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 12. Jon Wilkin, 15. Mark Flanagan, 11. Sia Soliola.Subs: 23. Joe Greenwood, 25. Anthony Walker, 27. Greg Richards, 28. Luke Thompson.Devils: 37. Greg Eden; 2. Danny Williams, 4. Junior Sa’u, 5. Francis Meli, 26. Niall Evalds; 6. Rangi Chase, 7. Tim Smith; 11. Tony Puletua, 35. Logan Tomkins, 10. Lama Tasi, 16. Andrew Dixon, 12. Gareth Hock, 18. Steve Rapira.Subs: 8. Adrian Morley, 9. Tommy Lee, 15. Darrell Griffin, 21. Jordan Walne.last_img read more