Castleford Tigers lost their unbeaten record when they went down 23-16 to big spending Salford Red Devils.
Daryl Powell’s men were chasing the game from the fifth minute when their opponents scored their first try and trailed 22-6 19 minutes into the second half before a fight back in the final quarter left the hosts holding on at the finish.
Salford were able to field their costly recruit from Cas, Rangi Chase, for only the second time since he signed for them and the classy half-back showed his worth as he made the difference to his new team who had lost their previous three matches.
Chase, jeered by the travelling Cas fans, won the home side’s official man of the match and his late drop-goal finally clinched the Red Devils’ victory.
The Tigers, who dropped down to third place in the Super League table with this result, knew they were up against it from the start when Tommy Lee and Tim Smith combined to send Martin Gleeson over for the opening try.
A second try followed on 18 minutes as Lee, Smith, Jake Mullaney and Gleeson handled well to give Greg Johnson the chance to get over the line. Mullaney’s conversion made it 10-0.
Castleford were not in the mood to be rolled over and hit back with a try of their own on 23 minutes after a good move that saw full-back Luke Dorn supply the final pass for winger Justin Carney to go over. Marc Sneyd, on loan from Salford, kicked the goal and it stayed 10-6 to half-time.
Cas thought they had scored again, however, when Dorn went over only for Jake Webster’s pass to him to be ruled forward.
Salford started the second half like they had the first and within three minutes extended their lead as Chase’s pass sent Andrew Dixon over for a try converted by Mullaney.
The Tigers hit back and came close to a second try when winger Richard Owen dropped Weller Hauraki’s pass with the line open.
But they were reduced to 12 men for 10 minutes soon after when Adam Milner was sin-binned for obstruction on Theo Fages and the hosts took advantage as Chase and Mullaney combined to put Dixon over for his second try. Mullaney’s third goal made it 22-6 and left the visitors with a mountain to climb.
They began climbing it when Daryl Clark made a burst and Hauraki backed up to score in the corner,
Sneyd could not add the goal, but within six minutes Cas had another try when back to their full compliment, Dorn finishing in impressive style for a fine score.
Sneyd’s conversion cut the deficit to six points with 10 minutes left, but the comeback could not be completed as the Tigers failed to make their possession count in the closing stages.
It was effectively all over after Chase’s drop-goal gave Salford a seven-point advantage they held to the final hooter.
Scorers - Salford: Tries Gleeson, Johnson, Dixon 2; goals Mullaney 3; drop goal Chase; Castleford: Tries Carney, Hauraki, Dorn; goals Sneyd 2.
Salford: Mullaney; Johnson, Gleeson, Sau, Meli: Chase, Smith; Morley, Lee, Tasi, Hansen, Dixon, Puletua. Subs: Fages, A Waine, J Waine, McPherson.
Castleford: Dorn; Owen, Channing, Shenton, Carney; Sneyd, Finn; Lynch, Clark, Huby, Holmes, Hauraki, Millington. Subs: Webster, Milner, Mariano, Massey.
Referee: James Child