Salford City Reds’ new head coach Brian Noble was thrilled with his players’ character after narrowly seeing off Castleford Tigers in his first game in charge.
Marc Sneyd’s five goals proved the difference with both sides scoring six tries – Vic Mauro, Theo Fages and ex-Tiger Ryan McGoldrick cancelling out second-half scores from Oliver Holmes, Jamie Ellis and Jordan Thompson.
Despite Castleford – currently without a permanent head coach – leading with eight minutes to go, Noble praised his side as they climbed off the foot of Super League.
“I’m really pleased for the players,” he said.
“To come out on the right side of what looked like a basketball game at times – it was thrilling, exciting for the fans and almost looked like WWF.
“At times we looked very good with the ball and that’s a feature of this team – we scored 34 points which is exciting.
“Sean [Long] and Alan [Hunte] deserve a lot of praise for the way they’ve got the team running around.
“I can only take my hat off toward the players and the way they dug in towards the back-end.”
Castleford’s Nathan Massey bulldozed over the Salford line after just six minutes to give the visitors the early advantage, latching onto a pass from England halfback Rangi Chase.
The Reds replied in the 14th minute, Matty Ashurst spotting a gap in the Tigers defence to score his first try of the season before Sneyd kicked the extras to nudge Salford ahead.
Justin Carney touched down for the Tigers on 34 minutes before Adam Milner added another three minutes later – Ellis adding the two points from the boot.
Danny Williams finished off a flowing Reds move to take the hosts back within touching distance on 31 minutes, the winger going over in right-hand the corner.
Salford re-claimed the lead on 33 minutes, Andrew Dixon pouncing onto a loose ball before Sneyd’s second goal of the night gave the Reds a two-point advantage at the break.
The hosts came out firing into the second period, substitute Mauro powered under the sticks two minutes after the restart to set up a simple conversation for Sneyd.
The Tigers replied two minutes later, a deft Chase pass allowing Holmes to steamroll through – Ellis kicking his second to cut the deficit to four points.
Salford mounted some pressure on the Castleford try-line with Fages having the final say on 49 minutes before Sneyd slotted home a tough kick from the touch-line.
Ellis converted his own try on 56 minutes for the visitors after pouncing onto Chase’s cross-field kick under the sticks, pegging the difference back to two points.
Thompson completed the come-back for the visitors on 65 minutes, rounding off a smart Castleford set with an impressive run down the left wing, which looked to have given the Tigers victory.
But McGoldrick intercepted a lapse Chase pass to score against his former club eight minutes from time – his first ever Salford try – Sneyd then kicking his fifth goal
And despite seeing his side leak 30 points Noble insists he has nothing to prove.
“I don’t feel any pressure at all with results,” he added. “I just feel we need to start raising the bar every week.
“Results are a by-product of raising the bar week by week and making sure that the DNA stays in place in those improvements.
“I’m not worrying at all about defence. We just need to work a bit harder in practise but I’m confident it can all be cured.”
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