Leigh Centurions 16 Salford Red Devils 26

SALFORD may have a fresh image and a big budget squad, but they had a devil of a job disposing of a Leigh Centurions side that took them all the way after conceding three tries in the middle of the first half.

Leigh started brightly with Oliver Wilkes, Tom Spencer and Tommy Goulden putting in some big tackles while Matthew Sarsfield again impressed with his strong running.

Missing their first three hookers, Leigh shuffled their pack with Liam Kay starting and 20 year old Lewis Foster impressing from the bench.

The Centurions fashioned the first chances of the game but neither Spencer or Tom Armstrong could hold onto passes.

Salford opened their account after thirteen minutes when Greg Johnson dashed down the wing and he was soon followed by Andrew Dixon after Tim Smith’s pass found the former Saint in a hole.

Darren Williams claimed Salford’s third try but Leigh fought back well and were unlucky when Alex Brown was pulled back in a try scoring move for a forward pass by Kay.

Jake Emmitt and Anthony Bate stepped off the bench to add further impetus and when Bate found a small hole in the Salford defence before half-time he raced through and had presence of mind to put a one handed pass to his left for Kay to slide over in the torrential conditions. Martyn Ridyard, again a huge influence for the Centurions, goaled and Leigh went in at half-time trailing 16-6.

Early in the new half Leigh rattled their opponents but a scrum on halfway looked a formality until Dixon peeled off the back and fired a pass into the arms of Ridyard for the halfback to intercept and run to the posts.

Two tries either side of the hour mark from fullback Jake Mullaney and former St Helens forward Tony Puletua, allied with Mullaney’s third goal put the Red Devils 26-12 up but Leigh finished the game strongly with Matt Gardner to the fore with ball in hand.

The Centurions willingness to attack saw Ridyard fire the ball left for Alex Brown to run thirty metres before handing on for Ryan Brierley to finish.

Leigh Centurions: Greg McNally, Adam Higson, Stuart Littler, Tom Armstrong, Alex Brown, Marten Ridyard, Ryan Brierley, Oliver Wilkes, Liam Kay, Tom Spencer, Matt Sarsfield, Tommy Goulden, Sam Barlow. Subs: Andy Thornley, Anthony Bate, Matt Gardner, Jake Emmit, Jamie Acton, Lewis Foster.

Salford Red Devils: Jake Mullaney, Danny Williams, Martin Gleeson, Francis Meli, Greg Johnson, Rangi Chase, Tim Smith, Adrian Morley, Tommy Lee, Lama Tasi, Andrew Dixon, Matty Ashurst, Tony Puletua. Subs: Theo Fages, Darrell Griffin, Jason Walton, Adam Walne, Jordan Walne, Jordan Davies, Stuart Howarth, Will Hope, Gareth Owen.

Referee: Warren Turley

Attendance: 1,887

* Leigh Centurions second friendly of the weekend against North Wales Crusaders fell foul of the wet weather with the game being postponed. Both teams are keen to rearrange the fixture and this could take place as early as Tuesday 28th January with a 7.45pm start. Further inspections of the LSV pitch are set to take place tomorrow (Monday).