Super League: Iestyn Harris enjoys dream start as Salford win 38-24 at Bradford
Iestyn Harris' reign as Salford head coach got off to a victorious start as the Red Devils beat Bradford Bulls 38-24.
Last Updated: 11/04/14 10:32pm
Harris, a former Bradford player, moved from assistant at Wigan to take over the reigns at the Barton-based club from Brian Noble a week beforehand and watched on as his new charges picked up only their second win in six games.
It was the Bulls' fifth successive defeat and leaves them still on minus two points - two adrift of London Broncos at the foot of the table - and with a unenviable run of fixtures against Leeds, Wigan, Warrington and St Helens looming in the next month.
The Red Devils were briefly behind but always looked the more likely side and forged a 16-point lead by the interval.
Bradford responded quickly with a try after the break but failed to build on their new-found momentum and, as the sides traded scores - three apiece in total during the second half - the Red Devils held on for the victory.
Salford, adding Wigan loanee Logan Tomkins and Matty Ashurst to the squad that squeezed past Hull in the Cup the previous week, struck first.
Rangi Chase sent Gareth Hock careering through a gap on the 40-metre line and Jake Mullaney was up in support to score, although the full-back failed to convert his own try.
The Bulls, with the returning Matt Diskin, Adam Sidlow and Lee Gaskell giving them a much more experienced look and Anthony Mullally, cup tied in the game before against Oldham, also returning, always struggled to make yards as easily as the visitors.
But Luke Gale's teasing kicks and persistence worked them back into contention and, on the back of a penalty for holding down, Adrian Purtell charged over beside the posts and Jamie Foster edged Bradford ahead with the conversion.
Salford immediately pressed for a response, forcing a goal line drop out and then Mullaney was held up over the line.
The pressure finally told as hooker Tommy Lee put Junior Sa'u in from close range and Mullaney this time had no trouble adding the goal.
Lee and Chase combined to put Tim Smith in just after the half hour before the Bulls handed their opponents a gift of a fourth try.
A looping Chase kick in-goal was dithered over by the Bulls defence and Ashurst, with his first touch of the game, swooped to touchdown and ensure the Red Devils went in 22-6 ahead at half time.
The Bulls knew they needed to score first after the break and, within three minutes, did as Adam O'Brien's tenacity opened a path for Sidlow to score against his former club.
Only a magnificent Sa'u tackle prevented Bradford posting more points when Elliot Kear rose rose to pluck a diagonal bomb out of the air barely a metre short.
But Bulls' over-eagerness saw them cough up possession deep in their own half and a try from Tony Puletua restored Salford's advantage.
Still the battling Bulls refused to lie down and a memorable run from the touchline and through half of the Salford defence gave Kear a well deserved try to give the hosts late hope.
But a weaving solo effort from Chase steadied any nerves the visitors might have had and, with Mullaney adding five goals in total the match was won
Adam Henry grabbed a further consolation try three minutes from time, Foster adding his fourth conversion, but it was too little too late for the home side and Francis Meli confirmed Salford's success by completing the scoring in the dying seconds.