Salford City Reds sealed their first home win of the season against Hull FC in a Friday night thriller, as Daniel Holdsworth walks away as hero.
The Aussie stand-off held his nerve to kick the winning penalty in the final minute to give the Reds a nail-biting 24-22 victory.
The Reds, buoyed by last weekend’s comfortable win over Widnes started quickly again as winger Ashley Gibson gathered a clever chip kick from Holdsworth to score in the corner. After Holdsworth’s conversion attempt was successful Gibson was again on hand to finish a well-crafted backline move to put Salford further ahead. The winger collected a superb flick pass from the returning Sean Gleeson to score his second of the night and put the Reds 10-0 up midway through the first half.
The previously unbeaten Black and Whites were not done however and they soon registered on the scoreboard themselves as a dubious refereeing decision allowed Brett Seymour to dummy his way over the whitewash, before Wade McKinnon squeezed into the corner soon after to level the match.
The comeback was soon complete as Seymour crashed over for his second to give Hull the lead at the break.
Salford came out with renewed vigour after halftime and their efforts were soon rewarded as a move involving Luke Patten saw second row Matty Ashurst race through a huge hole in the visitor’s defence to score. The mercurial Holdsworth again converted tying the scores at 16-16.
After withstanding sustained heavy pressure from the visitors the home defence finally cracked as England international winger Tom Briscoe finished off a well-worked move to score in the corner to give Hull a 22-16 lead with just fifteen minutes remaining.
But again the Reds hit back with former Canterbury Bulldogs team mates Holdsworth and Patten combining to send Gleeson over the line. Holdsworth again added the extras to set up the grandstand finish.
Hull’s Richard Horne had the opportunity to win it with a late drop goal but missed his chance and a lazy penalty conceded by hooker Danny Houghton left Holdsworth the opportunity to snatch the win. The flawless Australian made no mistake stroking the kick over from 45 metres to send the Reds fans into raptures.
Head coach Phil Veivers was delighted with his side’s spirit to come back and their ability to withstand the heavy pressure from the visitors.
“The desire the players had at the end to keep them out was very pleasing. They are a really tight-knit bunch and they hung in there and showed a lot of persistence to get the result.
“Hull probably had more possession and I’m pretty sure that Peter thinks they deserved to win but we hung in there. Overall I’m pleased with our performance, we dug deep and showed a lot of character” he told the club website.
Centre Ashley Gibson was delighted with his brace of tries and took the time to salute his side’s defensive resolve and also the performances of Reds’ influential halfback pairing, Matty Smith and Daniel Holdsworth.
“The team effort was massive to say how much defending we did on our own line. We showed real desire for one another and you could tell we were hungry for the win.
“Phil Veivers and Sean Long gave us a gameplan and we stuck to that with Matty Smith and DJ leading the way.”
Salford will look to continue their winning ways as they play host to the winless London Broncos on Friday evening.