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Saints make faithful sweat
Reds threaten to spoil opening night but then fade away
St Helens overcame a first-half fright to start life at their new Langtree Park home with a 38-10 victory over Salford.
The Reds were good value for a 10-4 half-time lead after dominating the first 40 minutes and silencing a Saints crowd ready for an opening-night party.
But the hosts hit back with 34 unanwered points after the break to wreck Salford's hopes of a first win in St Helens for 32 years.
The Reds, who lost Jordan James, Sean Gleeson and Wayne Godwin to injury in their opening game, are bottom of the table without a win but deserve credit for their impressive first-half show.
With half-backs Matty Smith and Daniel Holdsworth pulling the strings, the Reds posed a major attacking threat.
Centre Joel Moon demonstrated superb handling to carve out an opening for left winger Jodie Broughton, who had the distinction of scoring the first Super League try at the new stadium.
Clever hands by Holdsworth then got right winger Danny Williams into space and his inside kick was touched down by centre Ashley Gibson, with Holdsworth's first conversion putting the visitors into a 10-0 lead.
Gibson had another try disallowed by video referee Ian Smith, who had a busy first half, giving St Helens second rower Sia Soliola the benefit of the doubt in awarding a 28th-minute try, but disallowing one by winger Tommy Makinson after he followed up James Roby's grubber kick to the line.
Saints demonstrated more urgency after the break and scored a second try on 49 minutes when Roby gathered his own kick after it bounced back off a post.
Makinson's first goal levelled the scores and Royce Simmons' men went in front for the first time four minutes later when Jonny Lomax's kick over the Reds defence bounced kindly for his half-back partner Lee Gaskell, who got Francis Meli coasting past wrong-footed defenders for a third try.
It was all over four minutes later when second rower Andrew Dixon crashed over for another Saints try and Makinson's third goal made it 22-10. They would have been further ahead but for a terrific try-saving tackle by Broughton on Lomax.
The momentum was firmly with the home side by then and loose forward Jon Wilkin took Lomax's short pass to grab a fifth try before an 80-metre by Gaskell set up the position for Dixon to claim his second.
Salford's defence cracked again in the final minute, enabling Anthony Laffranchi to score his first try for the club, with Makinson taking his goal tally to five.
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First Utility Super League Table
|10||Hull K R||2||0|
|12||Salford Red Devils||2||0|
|First Utility Super League|
|Thursday 26th February|
|20:00||Leeds vs Huddersfield|
|Friday 27th February|
|20:00||St Helens vs Castleford|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:00||Catalans Dragons vs Warrington|
|19:30||Salford vs Hull|
|Sunday 1st March|
|15:00||Hull K R vs Wigan|
|15:00||Widnes vs Wakefield|
|Thursday 5th March|
|20:00||Hull vs Leeds|
|Friday 6th March|
|20:00||Wakefield vs St Helens|
|20:00||Huddersfield vs Widnes|
|20:00||Castleford vs Wigan|
|First Utility Super League|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wakefield 44 - 24 Hull K R|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Catalans Dragons 13 - 12 Castleford|
|Friday 13th February|
|Hull 6 - 7 Warrington|
|Leeds 38 - 6 Widnes|
|Wigan 24 - 16 Huddersfield|
|Thursday 12th February|
|Salford 6 - 52 St Helens|
|Sunday 8th February|
|Castleford 22 - 24 Wakefield|
|Huddersfield 0 - 19 Hull|
|Hull K R 30 - 40 Leeds|
|Saturday 7th February|
|Warrington 22 - 8 Salford|
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