|Castleford (16) 29|
|Tries: McShane, Smith, Holmes, Turner, Mata’utia Goals: Mata’utia 5 Drop-goal: Turner|
|Salford (12) 18|
|Tries: Sio, Burgess, Hingano Goals: Inu 3|
Castleford Tigers opened the 2021 Magic Weekend with a hard-fought Super League victory over out-of-form Salford Red Devils at St James’ Park.
Paul McShane and Daniel Smith scored either side of Ken Sio’s try for Salford as Castleford led early on.
Joe Burgess levelled before Oliver Holmes put Cas on top at the break and Jordan Turner extended their lead.
Ata Hingano put Salford back in it before Peter Mata’utia supplemented his work with the boot with a late Cas try.
Victory for Castleford avenges their defeat in July by Salford, who slump to a fifth defeat in seven games, while the Tigers also boost their hopes of sealing a play-off spot this season.
Salford suffered a pre-match setback when they lost Harvey Livett to injury in the warm-up, meaning Oliver Roberts started in his place and Matt Costello joined the bench.
Despite that, they rallied after Castleford’s useful start, and they kept themselves within touching distance throughout the match.
There were further injury blows for Salford as the game drew to a close, with Krisnan Inu forced off with a hamstring problem, while Roberts was withdrawn with a rib injury.
Meanwhile, Castleford boss Daryl Powell was forced to play Turner and Mata’utia as makeshift half-backs due to injuries, while hooker Paul McShane came off with an abdominal injury.
Jordan Turner’s late drop-goal against his former side capped a fine win for the Tigers, who had been pushed by Salford for much of the encounter.
The match was the first of this year’s Magic Weekend, which returns after last year’s event at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park was called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell:
“It was a tough game for us. Obviously we didn’t have any of our recognised half-backs. Peter and JT stood in and I thought they did a great job but we were never going to be as fluent.
“Losing Paul McShane at half-time put us under pressure but Adam Milner came on and I thought he was exceptional for us.
“It might not be pretty for the rest of the year but we can be gritty and tough and today we found a way to win.
“We’ve got two games left and we’re in a great position. The players are hanging tough and finding a way to win games when they’re under pressure.”
Salford Red Devils head coach Richard Marshall:
“I don’t think there was a lot between the teams. They took their opportunities and we probably didn’t take ours but I thought we were creative with the ball.
“They looked desperate today and they just got on top of us. They unravelled us defensively in the first half. I thought we fixed it up in the second half and it came down to a few one-on-one misses.
“The opportunities were there for us but defensively I didn’t think they had to do too much to score their tries.
“We got to within four points with 12 minutes to go and probably created our downfall.”
Castleford: Evalds, Olpherts, Blair, Shenton, Clare, Mata’utia, Turner, Massey, Sene-Lefao, Holmes, Smith, McShane, Griffin.
Interchanges: Milner, Foster, Hepi, Matagi.
Salford: Escare, Sio, Inu, Sarginson, Burgess, Lolohea, Hingano, Johnson, Atkin, Burke, Roberts, Robson, Brown.
Interchanges: Luckley, Costello, Lannon, Addy.
Referee: C. Kendall.