Carney has last laugh on return to Castleford

Castleford's Denny Solomona, who scored a hat-trick against Salford.
Castleford's Denny Solomona, who scored a hat-trick against Salford.

Former players came back to haunt Castleford Tigers as they suffered their first home defeat of the season in going down 32-16 to Salford Red Devils.

Justin Carney and Josh Griffin scored two tries each while Gareth O’Brien kicked several goals from the touchline and landed six out of six to help his side to a big win.

The final score flattered the visitors, but they were deserved winners after being ahead for much of the contest and surviving a second half fight back from the Tigers.

The first half started like a house on fire as both sides threw the ball about early and ripped into each other, but neither team could finish off their promising moves with only one try each in the 40 minutes and Salford ahead courtesy of O’Brien’s two goals to Luke Gale’s one.

A hot atmosphere brought about by Carney’s return to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle threatened to explode in the first five minutes as the Australian winger clashed with Nathan Massey and was sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes to cool down after punches were thrown.

Cas failed to make the most of their man advantage, however, as Jake Webster was tackled inches short and their pressure came to nothing with an interception.

It was Salford who scored in this period when they were awarded a penalty for a high tackle by Lee Jewitt and O’Brien put the ball through the posts from 25 metres out.

The Tigers looked to hit back, but Solomona was prevented from squeezing over in the corner by a tackle from Carney just after he had returned to the field.

Luke Dorn was then tackled just short on a trademark run to the line on the left edge and a Gale high kick was only just saved by Greg Johnson as he palmed the ball back over his own line.

Another probing Gale kick was well defended by Josh Jones and Webster was tackled a metre short after the Tigers chose to run the ball on a sixth tackle play.

After surviving, Salford broke out and scored the first try on 29 minutes when Tommy Lee made a strong break down the middle, Junior Sa’u backed up and sent Johnson over for a score converted by O’Brien.

Logan Tomkins bombed another chance for the visitors as he attempted a solo effort when he had number on the outside.

But Cas came back and finally got over the line two minutes before half-time, Solomona having an easy run in after collected Gale’s superb pass over the top.

Gale was unable to convert, but kicked a penalty for a high tackle right on the hooter to reduce the arrears to two points.

Cas looked to have made the better start to the second half when Solomona charged over from a long pass by Gale only to turn round and see that referee Phil Bentham had disallowed the effort for a controversial forward pass decision.

Two penalties then marched Salford downfield and they came up with a huge try as Josh Griffin forced his way over for a score converted by O’Brien.

Another big call by Bentham saw him give the visitors head and feed at a scrum after Josh Griffin had appeared to knock-on and they took full advantage to score again with Carney powering over. O’Brien’s goal made it 20-6 and the hosts had a mountain to climb.

They looked like making it, however, as they replied with the next two tries.

First, Paul McShane intercepted a Michael Dobson pass and raced 40 metres upfield, Ryan Hampshire carried the move on and played a long pass out for Solomona to race in. The final pass looked a shade forward, but it was allowed to stand this time,

Cas scored again when Jake Webster’s pass sent Solomona over for his hat-trick, but Gale’s missed conversion left them four points behind.

Another promising attack ended with a huge interception by Ben Murdoch-Masila and this gave the Red Devils field position from which they gained the match winning try.

Josh Griffin went over for his second and in the last minute Carney rubbed salt into the wounds when he won a race with Adam Milner to get to the ball from a kick in behind by Dobson.

Hooker Milner had finished the game on the wing after Joel Monaghan went to full-back following an injury that led to Dorn going off early in the second half.

It was one of those days for Castleford, who have now suffered back to back defeats with games against Warrington and Leeds to come next.

Scorers - Castleford: Tries Solomona 3; goals Gale 2. Salford: Tries Johnson, J Griffin 2, Carney 2; goals O’Brien 6.

Castleford Tigers: Dorn; Monaghan, Crooks, Webster, Solomona; Hampshire, Gale; Lynch, Milner, Jewitt, McMeeken, Cook, Massey. Subs: McShane, Springer, Boyle, Maher.

Salford: O’Brien; Carney, Sa’u, J Griffin, Johnson; Lui, Dobson; Kopczak, Lee, G Griffin, Murdoch-Masila, Jones, Lannon. Subs: Flanagan, Walne, Tomkins, Joseph.

Referee: Phil Bentham.

Half-time: 6-8.

Attendance: 8,151