Leigh 32-22 Salford: Centurions claim first win of the season
After their 17th time of asking, Leigh Centurions finally claimed their first win of the Super League season courtesy of a 32-22 triumph over lacklustre neighbours Salford at Leigh Sports Village
Last Updated: 23/08/21 10:40am
Leigh captain Liam Hood and former Red Devils prop Adam Sidlow scored decisive late tries as the Centurions defeated neighbours Salford 32-22 to register a first Betfred Super League victory in more than four years.
With the home side clinging to a precarious 20-16 lead, hooker Hood, who was recently confirmed as a Wakefield player for next year, burrowed over five minutes from time.
Sidlow then provided extra insurance with his team's fourth try to ensure Leigh's first win of the season after 16 successive defeats.
Craig Mullen added both conversions to finish with 16 points from eight successful kicks, five of them penalties.
It was a disappointing afternoon for Salford, who have still never won a competitive fixture at Leigh Sports Village. And they were the victims of Leigh's last regular top-flight win in July 2017.
Leigh made the worst possible start, conceding a try in Salford's first meaningful attack.
Tui Lolohea's cut out pass gave winger Rhys Williams a walk-in try by the left corner.
But Centurions, naming new Australian prop Sam Stone at centre for his Super League debut, did not fold.
With regular loose forward James Bell picked at stand-off, he and half-back partner Joe Mellor kept the hosts on the front foot.
Quick-thinking Mellor's kick and chase brought a clever solo response after 19 minutes, improved by winger Mullen.
Leigh were in again four minutes later. After Bell was held up close to the line, Centurions switched their point of attack and Mellor's pass was touched down by full-back Keanan Brand.
Mullen struck an upright with his conversion attempt but landed a brace of penalties to stretch Leigh's advantage to 14-4.
Lolohea's second assist of the half saw Harvey Livett crash over, while Krisnan Inu's penalty on the stroke of half-time saw him reach a milestone with 500 top-flight points.
Salford's comeback continued unchecked after the interval as former Leeds playmaker Lolohea completed a hat-trick of assists with winger Ken Sio the latest recipient after 46 minutes. Inu's touchline conversion restored Salford's lead at 16-14.
The clash remained on a knife-edge with Leigh desperate for victory and Salford fearful of becoming their hosts' first victims of the season.
Helped by the visitors' ill-discipline and Mullen's accuracy from the kicking tee with three more penalties, Leigh led 20-16 going into the final quarter.
Desperate defence denied Ryan Lannon a pushover try as Salford tried to find an equalising score.
But it never came and Leigh's 12-point burst in three minutes finally put a smile on interim coach Kurt Haggerty's face even though his side remain bottom of the table.