Step Back in Time: Salford (H)
Posted by Bilko on June 01 2009 - 13:29
In a new feature which I started last week I look back at some random matches against Salford from our past.

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Well last week's victory for Wigan means Salford have still never won at JJB Stadium. The last time they won in Wigan was a Super League match at Central Park on 17th August 1997. 21-12 was the final score with Gary Broadbent, Peter Edwards and current Gold Coast Titans coach John Cartwright scoring the Reds tries with Mark Lee kicking a drop goal. Andy Johnson, Kris Radlinski and Jason Robinson scored for Wigan but Robinson's try came very late and wasn't enough to avoid Wigan's fourth defeat in five matches in front of a crowd of just 6,518. The club was in a mess at the time of the match and was suffering with off field wrangles. The club's finances were dire leading to Central Park being sold and the board had made plans to move the club, albeit temporarily they claimed, to Bolton's new Reebok Stadium much to the disgust of Wigan fans. Two days after that Salford defeat chairman Jack Robinson and board member Tom Rathbone resigned from the board after earlier in the season narrowly surviving a vote of no confidence amongst club shareholders. Prior to that it was 1978-79 when Salford took two points home from Wigan in a 26-13 win  - so clearly it hasn't been a happy hunting ground..

A year later on Easter Monday 1980 Wigan claimed a tight but huge victory over Salford. With relegation looking ominous for Wigan they had to beat Salford to keep hopes of survival alive. It was a narrow 18-15 result which saw tries from Les Bolton, Alan Greenall, Terry Hollingsworth and Bill Melling, plus three crucial conversions from George Fairbairn, but defeat to Castleford away in the following match relegated Wigan to Division 2 for the first time in their history.

Wigan have insulted some heavy hammering on Salford over the years. In 1992-93 they beat them 70-6 at Central Park with Martin Offiah claiming 5 tries and Shaun Edwards 4 tries. Andrew Farrar and Andy Platt also got tries. Wigan must have been in piss taking mood because Offiah actually converted 1 goal with Frano Botica (7) and Steve Hampson (1) kicking the others.

In 2001 it was a 70-4 result at JJB Stadium against a John Harvey (who?) coached Salford team. Matthew Johns apparently had a blinder helping create six of our 12 tries. The writing was on the wall when Andy Farrell sent Mick Cassidy over after just 56 seconds. Kris Radlinski and Terry Newton both claimed hatricks with further scores from Farrell (2), Paul Johnson, Denis Betts and Brian Carney. Faz also kicked 11 goals.

Hammerings were not uncommon in the far past either. On Easter Monday 1925, Johnny Ring set a then club record for number of tries in a league match when he scored 7 in what was the final match of the 1924-25 season. Dick Armstrong also claimed a hatrick whilst Jack Price claimed two scores. David Booysen, George Van Rooyen and Fred Brown all got a solo try each with Sol Oakley's 6 goals rounding off a 57-19 win.

Another vital Easter Monday victory over Salford came in 1960. Wigan were having to win their four remaining league fixtures to ensure they finished in the top 4 play off positions come the end of the season. Hull, Wigan and Featherstone were tightly contesting 3rd, 4th and 5th place in the league so the Easter period was going to be vital. The modern rugby league players like to moan about having to play twice over Easter but back Wigan faced three games in four days. A 12-4 Good Friday defeat to league leaders St Helens at Knowsley Road got Wigan off on the wrong foot but they bounced back the next day to beat Liverpool City 39-20. Then on the Monday they beat Salford 38-13 at Central Park. Keith Holden got a hatrick with Eric Ashton, Dave Bolton, Syd Fenton, Brian McTigue and Mick Sullivan getting a try each. Fred Griffiths kicked 5 goals. Wigan went on to finish fourth just ahead of Featherstone and in the Championship Semi Finals won 19-9 away at St Helens before they claimed the championship with a 27-3 "Grand Final" hammering of Wakefield at Odsal.

More recently there have been some closer contests against them. In 2005 the clubs met at the JJB to open up that season with Wigan clawing a 15-4 victory. Dennis Moran opened the scoring early in the match for Wigan and the contest was so tight Sean O'Loughlin kicked a drop goal on 51 minutes to make it 7-0. Malcolm Alker scored a unconverted try to make it 7-4 before a Danny Tickle penalty made it 9-4. It took a try from youngster Dave Allen with 9 minutes to go to seal a 15-4 victory. (Click Here for Report on This Match).

A year later we met them in the middle of our winning run which took us towards the Great Escape. Going into the match we had won four games in a row but were still in the relegation zone at kick off via points difference. So a victory would take us out of the relegation zone with Wakefield only playing two days later. We got off to a great start with tries in the first half hour from Bryan Fletcher and Brett Dallas. Ryan Clayton got a try back to make it 10-6 before a Michael Dobson penalty goal made the half time score 12-6. Wigan had been known to mentally collapse in games during that season and that fragility was put to the test when an unconverted Aaron Moule try and a Stephen Myler penalty goal levelled the scores with 20 minutes to go. I remarked in my report that Wigan looked really nervous but perhaps a Dobson penalty goal to edge us 14-12 in front eased those nerves slightly. The game was sealed with ten minutes to go. Gareth Hock fended off two tackles to make some good yards. The play the ball was swung towards the centre. Fletcher found the gap went through and went inside to the supporting Orr who strolled under the sticks. Dobson's conversion made the final score 20-12. (Click Here for Report on This Match).

Salford's last league trip to the JJB saw the tables turned in August 2007. This time it was Salford needing to win to avoid relegation but Wigan showed no mercy in a 40-12 hammering. Salford led at half time 10-6 and they were only 18-16 down with twenty minutes to go but they totally collapsed in a final twenty minute spell which saw Wigan claim 5 tries. The Warriors scorers that day were Trent Barrett, Mark Calderwood (2), David Vaealiki, Feka Paleaaesina, Phil Bailey and Sean O'Loughlin. Pat Richards kicked 6 goals. (Click Here for Report on This Match).

All Time Head to Head in League Matches at Wigan

Played 91 Wigan 77 Wins Salford 13 Wins 1 Draw

Record in Super League Matches at Wigan since 1997

Played 10 Wigan 9 Wins Salford 1 Win 0 Draws

Record in League Matches at JJB Stadium

Played 7 Wigan 7 Wins Salford 0 Wins 0 Draws

15 years ago Today: Wigan claimed the World Club Challenge by beating Brisbane Broncos 20-14 at their ANZ Stadium. Denis Betts, Barrie Jon-Mather and Jason Robinson scored Wigan tries and although Brisbane equalled that tally, with scores from Wendell Sailor, Michael Hancock and Julian O'Neill, it was the four goals from Frano Botica that made the Wigan fan's mightely proud. (Click Here for Report on This Match).

9 years ago: Wigan met Bradford in a mid week encounter at JJB Stadium. Terry Newton and Gary Connolly scored tries with Andy Farrell kicking one and a drop goal from Willie Peters at one point put Wigan 11-10 ahead. But a Henry Paul penalty goal gave the Bulls the lead before Andy Farrell kicked a second drop goal to tie the scores with ten minutes left. A tense finale saw Jason Robinson being an Nathan McAvoy ankle tap away from sealing victory and Farrell and Peters both missed further drop goal attempts which left the final score a 12 all draw.

6 years ago: Probably the best trip to St Helens I've ever witnessed. Wigan had found themselves 20-0 down in as many minutes and looking like they would be on the wrong end of a severe hammering. But a fortuitus try from David Hodgson launched Wigan into an almighty fightback which saw Luke Robinson score a hatrick and Kevin Brown score twice to turnaround the 0-20 deficit into a 36-20 lead. The game wasn't finished with Saints themselves fighting back in the final twenty minutes but an Andy Farrell penalty goal during that spell just made sure that Darren Smith's 79th minute try proved fruitless with Wigan winning 38-34. (Click Here for Report on This Match).