Justin Carney raced in for a hat-trick of tries as Castleford Tigers signed off with a victory in their last home game of the 2013 Super League season.
Daryl Powell’s men scored nine tries in total as they ended their home campaign with a 44-30 success over Salford City Reds to make it three wins in a row.
As in recent games they made hard work of it after letting a 20-6 lead slip to be 24-20 behind going into the last quarter, but a strong finish ensured it was celebrations at the finish.
There were few signs of the mayhem to come in a first half that ended 14-6 to Cas with both defences doing a decent job.
Castleford were given a flying start when after Lee Gaskell kicked the ball out on the full from his own 30-metre line the hosts made the most of the possession with Jordan Tansey sending Michael Channing through a gap to score his first Tigers try at the Wish Communications Stadium. Kirk’s Dixon’s goal made it 6-0 after only four minutes.
Salford thought they had replied when Gareth Owen touched down Theo Fages’s kick through only to have his effort ruled out for offside.
It was the Tigers who did score on 24 minutes when Grant Millington made a half-break and found captain Michael Shenton in support to go over, too far out for Dixon to add the conversion.
Cas appeared in control, but paid for sloppy play 40 metres from their line as Jamie Ellis’s tricky pass was dropped by Weller Hauraki and Reds winger Jodie Broughton swooped to race clear for a try against the run of play. Marc Sneyd’s goal narrowed the gap to four points.
Only a Carney tackled then prevented a try for Gaskell after Danny Williams had knocked back Sneyd’s high kick.
But the hosts were back on attack just before half-time and scored their third try when half-backs Ellis and Rangi Chase began a move taken on by Jordan Tansey. Quick hands from Shenton created space for Carney and the Australian winger squeezed over in the corner for his eighth try in his last six matches. Again Dixon was unable to goal in the windy conditions.
Cas made a good start to the second half when Dan Fleming backed up Ryan Boyle’s break to score his first Super League try and Dixon’s goal stretched the advantage to 14 points.
But Salford came storming back with three tries in 11 minutes through winger Danny Williams and two by Broughton, who completed his hat-trick. With Sneyd adding all the goals they had suddenly turned the game round at 24-20.
However, once the Tigers got hold of the ball again they were rewarded as Chase produced a bit of magic in what is expected to be his last home game, dummying to create space and then having the pace to race in from 30 metres out.
More superb play from Chase two minutes later saw him kick through for himself on the sixth tackle and he regathered before the ball was sent right to Channing, who finished strongly for his second try.
Cas then made it three tries in four minutes when Carney raced in from 60 metres out for a spectacular try. But with Dixon unable to add the goal the game was still alive at 34-24.
Sneyd’s 40-20 kick gave the Reds good field position, but they wasted the chance and the Tigers effectively killed the game off when Chase made another smart break and Carney finished it off to complete his hat-trick.
Jamie Ellis added the conversion to make it 40-24, but it was followed by the sight of Carney being helped off the field having dislocated his shoulder in the act of scoring.
Still Salford fought back with Williams’ second try and Sneyd’s fifth goal from five attempts. But on the last play of the game Chase sent in Jordan Thompson for a try on his likely last home performance.
Chase took the conversion himself, but was unsuccessful to leave the final score at 44-30.
Scorers - Castleford: Tries Channing 2, Shenton, Carney 3, Fleming, Chase, Thompson; goals Dixon 3, Ellis. Salford: Tries; Broughton 3, Williams 2; goals Sneyd 5.
Castleford: Tansey; Dixon, Channing, Shenton, Carney; Chase, Ellis; Boyle, Milner, Huby, Millington, Hauraki, Massey. Subs: Clark, Thompson, Fleming, Reynolds.
Salford: Gaskell; Williams, Gibson, McGoldrick, Broughton; Sneyd, Fages; Griffin, Owen, Emmitt, Ashurst, Dixon, Wild. Subs: James, Davies, J Walne, A Walne.
Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow.