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Saints beat Salford and the snow
SAINTS have beaten Salford in a game made difficult due to the appalling conditions under foot.
They had looked safe when a Francis Meli touchdown and a conversion and penalty from debutant Lewis Charnock opened up a 14-0 lead with 14 minutes to go.
However, two late Salford tries from Liam Foran and Marc Sneyd left Saints clinging on in the end in desperately poor conditions.
It was achieved at some cost too, with Tony Puletua damaging his medial knee ligaments from a three man tackle in the first half and playing no further part in the game.
The heavy, swirling snow, which continued throughout the game, left the groundstaff with a constant job of keeping the lines clear.
Played against a strange backdrop, with both the east and west terraces shut, it was something of a heavy slog.
It was a much changed Saints line up, with 18-year-old Charnock starting in place of injured Lance Hohaia at stand off, Nathan Ashe making his first appearance of the season at hooker.
Paul Wellens was back again at full back in the absence of Jonny Lomax.
Saints started well, with an effective 40/20 from Jon Wilkin.
However, it was not until the 21st minute until the deadlock was broken.
Good play from Sia Soliola, Wellens, Jordan Turner created a chance for Ade Gardner to explode down the right flank.
Debutant Charnock missed the goal, but he made no mistake with a penalty to make it 6-0 at the break.
But Salford played smartly and used the wind advantage to good effect to keep Saints pinned back through the kicking game of Liam Foran.
However, it was Saints who crucially got the next score with good play from Willie Manu creating half a chance for Josh Jones to pierce the line and turn the ball back inside for Francis Meli to cross.
Charnock goaled and then on 64 minutes Saints opted to take the two when handed a penalty in front of the sticks.
That brought ironic choruses of ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ but turned out to be the right decision in the light of Salford’s late rally.
Salford made their first impression on the scoreboard on 68 minutes when a bomb from Marc Sneyd was gathered by Jordan James and resulted in Foran dashing over for a superbly executed try.
Sneyd added the extras and then assisted by back-to-back penalties Reds created space again for another tilt at the line. Sneyd was the last man on the end of a fine attack to cut the deficit to four points.
However, Saints had the wherewithal to see out the last three minutes and avoid a potential slip.