Hull FC’s failed to make it five consecutive wins as Salford Red Devils took the spoils on a sunny afternoon in Greater Manchester.
Tries from Jake Clifford, Jake Trueman, Darnell McIntosh and Josh Griffin weren’t enough for the Black & Whites, as ultimately they gave up possession too often and Salford made their territory count.
Tony Smith made three changes from the team that defeated Castleford Tigers last week to reach the Challenge Cup quarter-finals.
Coming into the team were Scott Taylor, who returned from suspension, Ligi Sao, who missed last week’s win with a knee injury and Darnell McIntosh.
Making way were youngsters Nick Staveley and Will Gardiner, as well as club captain Carlos Tuimavave, who wasn’t risked after leaving the field last week with a hamstring issue.
Paul Rowley welcomed back as many as five players who missed out on Salford’s Challenge Cup victory just eight days ago, as Ken Sio and Tim Lafai returned to the backline from injury.
England international Andy Ackers came back in to start at hooker, and prop forwards Adam Sidlow and Jack Ormondroyd completed the changes for the hosts from the interchange bench.
Hull got off to a desirable start at The Salford Stadium, as the Black & Whites went 80 metres to score within the first four minutes
Darnell McIntosh ran a give-and-go play with Brad Fash and spotted an overlap on the Hull left, giving a pass to Josh Griffin deep in Hull territory. Griffin moved the ball wider to Liam Sutcliffe, and at halfway the ball went to Adam Swift. He went close but passed inside to Jake Clifford to score in the corner.
That lead didn’t last long, as Tyler Dupree put a controversial week behind him to score Salford’s first of the afternoon. Marc Sneyd took the ball to the line, passed inside and Dupree had the power to score under the posts. Sneyd’s conversion moved Salford in front.
Despite an error-strewn first 20 minutes from the Black & Whites, they retook the lead as Jake Trueman scored his first for the club, demonstrating his ball-running ability as he ghosted through a gap to sneak over.
Hull’s errors continued to be their downfall though, and after errors and penalties leading to six sets in a row defending on their own goal line, Brodie Croft spotted a gap and threaded through a neat grubber kick for Deon Cross to score.
With time running out in the half Tex Hoy made a break down the Hull right, but smart defensive work from Joe Burgess forced him into touch.
With Hoy packed down in the resulting scrum, Marc Sneyd kicked the ball deep downfield, as Ryan Brierley won the footrace to score and move Salford into an 18-10 lead.
HALF-TIME: Red Devils 18-10 Hull
Hull started the half with their discipline on and off the ball much improved, and even forced an error directly from the kick-off. From the next set Trueman had his fingerprints all over the play again and on the last play, fired a perfect ball out to McIntosh to glide around the Salford defence to score under the posts. Clifford’s conversion brought Hull back to within two points.
In a topsy-turvy half, Sneyd scored next for Salford. Deon Cross made a long break down the Hull right, but was tackled by Hoy. On the next play Salford shifted the ball to the opposite side, Sam Stone bust a tackle and offloaded inside to Sneyd to score and restore Salford’s eight-point cushion.
Hull crossed next, but video referee Liam Moore disallowed a Joe Cator try after a lengthy check looked to have found a knock on by Tex Hoy in a challenge with Ryan Brierley.
However, the Black & Whites reduced the deficit again as a beautiful pass from Jake Clifford between several Salford defenders found Josh Griffin, running one of his trademark powerful lines from the left edge and slamming the ball down under the posts.
However, that was to be the end of Hull’s challenge, as the Red Devils took advantage of another error from Hull. Brodie Croft came up with his second assist of the afternoon, looping a perfect pass to Ken Sio to stumble over in the corner. Sneyd’s touchline conversion drifted wide, leaving the Red Devils six points to the good.
Sneyd soon made it a seven-point ball game though, as the man with more drop goals for Hull than any other player kicked one against his former employers.
Jake Clifford’s kick-off was judged not to have gone 10 meters, much to the Australian’s disappointment. Sneyd’s penalty attempt from half way went wide, but from the drop out he was able to drop the one pointer to see off any Hull hopes of a comeback.
Jake Clifford had an opportunity to put Hull within a converted try of snatching victory with 90 seconds on the clock, but his penalty goal sailed narrowly wide of the posts.
The drop goal wasn’t to be Sneyd’s last involvement of the afternoon as he was sin binned with 10 seconds on the clock for holding down and preventing a Hull attack.
FULL-TIME: Red Devils 29-22 Hull
Red Devils: Ryan Brierley, Ken Sio, Deon Cross, Tim Lafai, Joe Burgess, Brodie Croft, Marc Sneyd, Taylor Dupree, Andy Ackers, King Vuniyayawa, Kallum Watkins, Sam Stone, Oliver Partington; Jack Ormondroyd, Chris Atkin, Adam Sidlow, Ben Hellewell
Hull: Tex Hoy, Darnell McIntosh, Cam Scott, Liam Sutcliffe, Adam Swift, Jake Trueman, Jake Clifford, Ligi Sao, Danny Houghton, Brad Fash, Josh Griffin, Jordan Lane, Joe Cator; Chris Satae, Jack Brown, Scott Taylor, Brad Dwyer
Red Devils: Tyler Dupree, Deon Cross, Ryan Brierley, Marc Sneyd, Ken Sio | Marc Sneyd (4/5) + 1 DG
Hull: Jake Clifford, Jake Trueman, Darnell McIntosh, Josh Griffin | Jake Clifford (3/5)
Peregrine Property Man of the Match: Jake Clifford
Attendance, in association with Garbutt’s: 4569