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Reds unable to tame Wildcats
Wakefield through to Challenge Cup fifth round
A depleted Wakefield, missing 10 players through injury, cruised to a comfortable 38-8 win over Salford Reds in their fourth round Challenge Cup clash at The Willows on Sunday.
Underdogs Salford put up a spirited fight but the Super League side proved too powerful for their National League opponents.
A bright start from Salford however, looking impressive in both defence and attack, gave Wakefield an early scare after just two minutes.
A chip through by the Wildcats was picked up by Karl Fitzpatrick who made a scorching break before offloading to Andy Ballard.
Ballard looked certain to score but was brought down close to the Wakefield line by a fantastic try-saving tackle from Danny Brough.
Three minutes later Salford notched up the first points thanks to a penalty from Ballard, but Brough replied with a penalty of his own on 11 minutes to cancel out the early lead.
Wakefield then stepped up a gear and ran in three tries in a five-minute period, Rooney crossing first on 22 minutes, with Brough adding the extra points
Two minutes later Brough exploited a huge gap in the Reds defence and offloaded to Ryan Atkins who powered over to score and extend Wakefield's lead to 12-2. This time Brough pulled his kick wide.
Salford immediately gave the ball away after being caught offside at the restart and the Wildcats made them pay for their schoolboy error.
In a brilliantly worked move the Reds defence found themselves suckered in and the lofted pass bypassing two runners found the waiting hands of Scott Grix on the wing, who crossed in the corner. Brough was again unable to increase Wakefield's 16-2 lead with his boot.
When Ricky Bibey was sin binned five minutes before the break Salford almost immediately looked to have capitalised on the man advantage when Ballard crossed in the corner.
Sadly for the Reds however the video referee disallowed the score on the grounds of obstruction.
Minutes later Wakefield produced a wonderfully crafted try when Jamie Rooney sliced through the Reds defence to give Sam Obst an easy run in.
But 17-year-old Malcolm Alker handed the Reds a lifeline on the stroke of half time with a score under the posts, converted by Ballard to take them into half time trailing 22-8.
Soon after the restart a Tevita Leo-Latu try was disallowed in almost identical circumstances as Salford's first half disappointment.
But when Obst made the break two minutes later there was no doubt about the outcome. With Wakefield players queuing up in support, it was Brough who took the offload to claim the points before adding the extras.
On 54 minutes Sean Gleeson crossed in the corner to make it 32-8 as Wakefield continued to expose the gulf between Super League and National League. Brough saw his kick drift wide.
As the game moved towards the 70 minute mark Salford attempted a spirited fightback, pressuring the Wildcat goal line with a cluster of tackles.
But they were unable to break the Wildcat defence who, despite a comfortable lead continued to work tirelessly in defence to deny the home side.
And on 71 minutes Leo Latu crossed on the left, although he had to wait for the video referee to confirm the score.
This time Brough was back on target to give the Wildcats a deserved victory and take his tally to five from seven.