Young Saints beaten despite spirited performance

A young Saints side were beaten 26-14 by the Salford Red Devils at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday evening.

Head Coach Kristian Woolf opted to rest a number of his regular starters and handed debuts to 18 year old full back Jon Bennison, winger Shay Martyn and back rower Sam Royle, whilst the likes of Ben Davies, Josh Simm, Aaron Smith and Jake Wingfield all got a chance to start.

But despite their inexperience, it was Saints who took a sixth minute lead. Regan Grace made a blistering break down the left, beating three men and he fed the ball inside to Lewis Dodd who passed to the supporting Bennison as the full back scored a try on his Saints debut. Fellow debutant Shay Martyn added the extras to make it 6-0.

Salford responded shortly after. Tui Lolohea sent a grubber kick down the Salford right, which Ken Sio won the race too to score for the hosts. Chris Atkin missed the conversion, 6-4 Saints led.

We extended our lead almost instantly though, as Grace’s grubber kick from the Saints left was chased down by the returning Jonny Lomax who touched down. Martyn once again added the extras to maker it 12-4.

A few minutes before the break Saints were awarded a penalty. Martyn once again kicked the goal to extend out lead to 14-4 as we approached the break.

There was still time for another Salford try before the break. Former Saint, Matty Costello going over in the corner. The try was awarded despite the Saints arguing that Costello had not got the ball down. Atkin added the extras, as Saints led 14-10 at the break in Greater Manchester.

Salford started the second half strongly. Andy Ackers made a break, he then found Ellis Robson who found Atkin to score. Atkin converted his own try to give Salford a 16-14 lead.

Saints defence was opened up again minutes later as Robson himself grabbed Salford’s fourth try of the game with a close range run. Krisnan Inu took over kicking duties but missed, 20-14 Saints trailed.

Shortly after that, Inu grabbed his second of the game. Inu added the extras to make it 26-14 to the Red Devils.

Despite Saints’ best efforts to get back into the game in the second half they were unable to break through the Red Devils defence, as the three early second half tries for the hosts saw them earn a 26-14 victory over a young Saints side on Friday evening.

But our youngsters can hold their heads up high after a spirited display. All focus will move now to the playoffs, as Saints have a week off before our semi-final clash at the Totally Wicked Stadium a week on Friday!

Salford Red Devils Team: Morgan Escare, Ken Sio, Matt Costello, Dan Sarginson, Rhys Williams, Tui Lolohea, Chris Atkin, Jack Ormondroyd, Andy Ackers, Josh Johnson, Ollie Roberts, Ellis Robson, Elijah Taylor.

Interchanges: Seb Ikahihifo, Greg Burke, Connor Aspey, Krisnan Inu.

Tries: Ken Sio (13, 54), Matty Costello (38), Chris Atkin (45), Ellis Robson (48)

Conversions: Chris Atkin (2 from 3), Krisnan Inu (1 from 2)

Saints Team: Jonathan Bennison, Shay Martyn, Josh Simm, Ben Davies, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Kyle Amor, Aaron Smith, Matty Lees, Joel Thompson, Sam Royle, Jake Wingfield.

Interchanges: Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Jack Welsby, Josh Eaves, Dan Norman.

Tries: Jonathan Bennison (6), Jonny Lomax (17)

Conversions: Shay Martyn (2 from 2)

Penalties: Shay Martyn (1 from 1)

HT: 10-14

FT: 26-14

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