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Match Report: Wigan 28 Salford 6
Posted by Bilko on May 29 2009 - 21:50

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Wigan v Salford - Carnegie Challenge Cup Quarter Final.
Friday 29th May 2009. Kick Off 8:00pm at JJB Stadium.

Well I've got to be honest I was wary about this match because I expected Salford to come and have a right go at us and cause us problems.

Truth was apart from the first 20 minutes when they benefited from a early 4-0 penalty count off French referee Thierry Alibert they offered very little going forward all game. Wigan defended with ease and in attack, without ever sparkling, they completed sets more often than not.

Salford in contrast didn't complete sets that well - at least two kick attempts going into touch on the full summed that up.

The weather was in stark contrast to our last home game against Hull KR, which was played in torrential rain. It was a beautiful warm night with the sun having dipped away sufficiently to not cause any problems on the field the play.

Wigan came out and scored after just 2 minutes. Thomas Leuluai passed to Gareth Hock who stepped past Salford full back John Wilshere for the try. Pat Richards converted to make it 6-0.

It continued to be all Wigan possession early doors and Salford must have taken great heart, just like Warrington last week, from the scoreline being just 6-0.

Even more so when they equalised on 11 minutes. A penalty marched they up field for their first attack of the game and Ray Cashmere got an offload away to Richard Myler. He found Luke Adamson who in turn sent Jordan Turner over for the four pointer which became six when Wilshere converted. Superb effort of keeping the ball alive which levelled the scores at 6-6.

Now I know I do these reports from a Wigan point of view but for me that was the last real attack Salford had on Wigan's line. They had brief moments after that but no sustained pressure on us and a disticnt lack of quality was evident. I do recall a drop out forced in the second half but that came to nothing.

To be fair both sides defended well and it wasn't a case of it being all out Wigan attack but we always had the slight edge in the territorial battle.

Wigan regained the lead on 26 minutes with the penalty count beginning to even out a bit. George Carmont somehow got an offload away to send Richards over for an easy try in the corner. Pat couldn't convert but that try would send Wigan into half time with a 10-6 lead. Wigan did have two chances late into the first half to increase that lead but errors cost them close to the line. Couldn't help feeling that we might be punished in the second half for leading only by four points when we'd played a lot better than that.

As poor as Salford had been the first try of the second half was always going to be crucial  - especially with Wigan's record of losing tight games at the JJB this season. It almost came for Salford when a massive scramble in the in goal saw Wigan just about get the ball dead. The drop out came to nothing from that after nine minutes in the second half Wigan got a penalty given bang in front and Pat kicked in to make it 12-6. Some distain amongst Wigan fans for not going for the try but I was saying - how often have we been in a position at home this season where the opposition has to score twice to win? Well twice is the answer and we won both of those games - so a correct call for me.

Ok hindsight helped prove that when four minutes later Pat collected his second try of the game. Leuluai, Sean O'Loughlin and Carmont were all involved in helping Pat squeeze over to make it 16-6 after he converted off the touchline.

Two score second half leads always look formidable against Super League opposition and so it proved. The Mancunian side never gave up but in truth they didn't look like a side that could come back.

The match was sealed with 10 minutes to go. Mike McIlorum went close to scoring but quick hands got Richards in for his hatrick - his second in Wigan colours after a trio of tries against Hull in May 2007.

That was game up and Wigan could have gone further ahead after a harsh looking double movement given against Sam Tomkins but Gareth Hock got over for his second to make the final score 28-6. In truth I think this flattered Salford but a good nights work for Wigan which puts them into Sunday's Semi Final draw. Long wait till those Semi's now so it's time we start to buck up in the league - hopefully with a repeat performance next week when Salford revisit the JJB in the league.

Fact

This victory keeps up a 23 year unbeaten record since Wigan last lost a home Challenge Cup tie. 27 attempts have now tried and failed to win at either Central Park or JJB Stadium since Castleford won 10-2 at Central Park in a Quarter Final on Sunday March 16th 1986.

Reaction to the Action

Wigan Coach Brian Noble: "I thought had we been a bit more clinical in the first half we could have had some more points. In the second half our shape was a whole lot better and we attacked better, I was pleased.  We haven't been too bad in our last two games, I was delighted for the players because we practised hard this week, the fruits were there for all to see. Salford have been going really well, we expected a tussle and we certainly got that in the first half. If you clock off they can damage you, they can make some opportunities. We were also clinical without the ball. If we get our fair share of the ball, as I've said a few times this year we are not a bad team. I think the players are realising that.  All in all I thought it was a terrific team performance. I thought O'Loughlin and Hock were outstanding. Somebody told me the semi-finals are nine weeks away. We can put this now on the back burner. We are in the hat which is the main thing. Semis can go any way. Our next couple of games in the league are important for us, we need to get back to winning ways in the Super League and we might go into the second half of the season in a good position in the semi final of the Challenge Cup and also in the top 8."

Salford Coach Shaun McCrae: "With a 55% completion rate in the second half you would struggle to win the toss. It was really poor. It put us under pressure. I suspect we spent 80% of the game inside our own 40 and with that you just can't beat a side like Wigan. They are going to wear you down. I thought we did well to hang on for as long as we did. Some of what we did was self-inflicted. It was a big occasion for a lot of our players and I'm just not convinced we handled it like I thought we could. We're back here next Friday and I hope we've learned things from tonight."

Team Sheets

- Wigan Position Salford -
21 Cameron Phelps Full Back John Wilshere 2
2 Amos Roberts Winger Stuart Littler 15
22 Martin Gleeson Centre Jordan Turner 14
4 George Carmont Centre Willie Talau 4
5 Pat Richards Winger Mark Henry 3
20 Sam Tomkins Stand Off Stefan Ratchford 19
7 Thomas Leuluai Scrum Half Richard Myler 7
15 Andy Coley Prop Ray Cashmere 8
9 Mark Riddell Hooker Malcolm Alker 9
19 Paul Prescott Prop Craig Stapleton 10
11 Gareth Hock 2nd Row Luke Adamson 20
12 Phil Bailey 2nd Row Rob Parker 12
13 Sean O'Loughlin L.Forward Luke Swain 13
- - - - -
10 Iafeta Paleaaesina Substitute Ian Sibbit 11
14 Joel Tomkins Substitute Phillip Leuluai 16
16 Harrison Hansen Substitute Robbie Paul 17
17 Mike McIlorum Substitute Lee Jewitt 18

Score Sheet

Wigan Warriors 28 --- Salford City Reds 6
Tries (5):
Gareth Hock 2
Pat Richards 3
--- Tries (1):
Luke Adamson
Goals:
Pat Richards 4/6
--- Goals:
John Wilshere 1/1

Scoring and Incident Pattern

2nd Minute Wigan 04 Salford 00 Try: Gareth Hock
- Wigan 06 Salford 00 Conversion: Pat Richards (1/1)
11th Minute Wigan 06 Salford 04 Try: Luke Adamson
- Wigan 06 Salford 06 Conversion: John Wilshere (1/1)
25th Minute Wigan 10 Salford 06 Try: Pat Richards
- Wigan 10 Salford 06 P.Richards Missed Conversion (1/2)
Half Time Wigan Warriors 10 Salford City Reds 06
49th Minute Wigan 12 Salford 06 Penalty Goal: Pat Richards (2/3)
53rd Minute Wigan 16 Salford 06 Try: Pat Richards (2)
- Wigan 16 Salford 06 P.Richards Missed Conversion (2/4)
70th Minute Wigan 20 Salford 06 Try: Pat Richards (3)
- Wigan 22 Salford 06 Conversion: Pat Richards (3/5)
76th Minute Wigan 26 Salford 06 Try; Gareth Hock (2)
- Wigan 28 Salford 06 Conversion: Pat Richards (4/6)
Full Time Wigan Warriors 28 Salford City Reds 06

Referee

Thierry Alibert (France)

Penalties Conceded

Wigan 10 Salford 7

Goal Line Drop Outs Forced

Wigan 2 Salford 2

Match Attendance

9,466 (1,533 away fans)

Weather

Dry Sunny Evening.

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