Salford City Reds’ winning streak goes up in smoke as Catalan Dragons win 40-18

By Ben Burrows

Salford City Reds’ three match winning run came to an abrupt end on Saturday as they went down 40-18 to Catalan Dragons.

The French side ran in eight tries to condemn Phil Veivers men to only their third defeat of the season in emphatic style.

It was actually the Reds who scored first when Stuart Howarth gathered a deflected Luke Patten kick to score. Daniel Holdsworth converted to give Salford an unlikely lead against the early run of play.

Dragons hit back quickly with a Damian Blanch score and were soon ahead as the influential Scott Dureau finished a flowing back line move to touch down in the corner.

Blanch then doubled his tally for the night after 22 minutes finishing another well crafted move with Dureau again the architect.

Thomas Bosc put the Dragons firmly in control and then Leon Pryce added a fifth on the stroke of half time to give the French side a 26-6 lead at the break.

There was no let up for the Reds after the interval as centre Vincent Duport scored the first of his two tries after more good back line build-up play.

Salford rallied and good work by Gareth Owen saw winger Josh Veivers cross in the corner to score his first for the club. Three minutes later it was Owen himself who was the try scorer after an impressive 40 metre break saw the hooker slide in under the posts.

Any hopes of an unlikely comeback were put to bed as Duport grabbed his second before Daryl Millard rubber stamped the win late on to take the hosts past the 40 point mark.

Coach Veivers was disappointed with his sides display admitting they weren’t quite up to standard on the day.

“We spoke in the week about trying to take the momentum away from them and slow down their tempo, but we weren’t able to do it today. If you look at the two teams on the whole we probably weren’t at the races, and across the board they probably were.

“At 6-0, I thought we were well in it and, in the first 10 or 15 minutes we caused them some problems with some offloads and our passing and put them under pressure.

“I’m not making any excuses but, at the end of the day, we had a full back on one wing and a centre on the other.

“We made some poor decisions on the edges today. Three of their tries came from our wingers wedging when the play was covered, so if you turn those 18 points around then it makes the scoreline look a lot closer.”

The Reds will look to bounce back next week against the in-form Leeds Rhinos. The 2011 champions have started the new season as they left off last year and will certainly provide a stern test of Salford’s playoff credentials.

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