Late drama as Webster wins it for Castleford

Jake Webster
Jake Webster

A last-gasp try by Jake Webster earned Castleford Tigers a narrow 14-10 victory over Salford Red Devils at a damp Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

It was a struggle from the first minute to virtually the last as the Tigers turned in probably their worst home display of the season, but they found a way to win right at the death.

Trailing 10-8, they did not give up and came up with a match-winning play with the very last attack of the game and just five seconds left on the clock.

Daryl Clark began the move with a sniping run from acting half and passed to impressive centre Webster, who powered forward and slid over for a try that crowned a thrilling finish that was in stark contrast to what had gone before it.

Marc Sneyd added the conversion for good measure and the sing-song to Sweet Caroline was bouncing round the stadium.

It was a memorable finish to a distinctly unmemorable game in which conditions had played a big part with players finding it hard at times to keep their footing and keep hold of the ball.

The first half was an error-ridden affair in which defences dominated.

The tone was set when Salford knocked-on from the first play the ball and from the resulting possession the Tigers fashioned a good move only for Michael Shenton to drop an awkward pass near the line.

With the aid of several penalties and Castleford’s inability to hold onto the ball for a full set Salford had most of the field position for the next 20 minutes, but aside from forcing a drop-out they rarely threatened to score and were guilty too of making too many handling errors.

The deadlock was finally broken by Cas in the 29th minute when Liam Finn’s superb high kick was collected by Justin Carney, who then powered over for the half’s only try.

Sneyd added the conversion from wide out to make it 6-0 and that was the way it stayed until the interval.

Cas did threaten for another score when Luke Dorn tried a side-step near the line only to slip and lose the ball.

Salford huffed and puffed, but their former Tigers players Rangi Chase and Josh Griffin were denied by solid tackles in the home 10.

The second half brought better play from both teams, but it was still tight with Kirk Dixon shelling a chance for the hosts following a poor pass by Weller Hauraki and Salford denied by a superb cover tackle by Carney and Dorn on Niall Evalds after he had broken 70 metres downfield after picking up a loose ball following a knock-on not seen by referee Tim Roby.

It showed just how difficult it was that Cas opted to go for goal from the only penalty they were awarded in the second half and Sneyd sent the ball between the posts to make it 8-0.

But back came Salford to fashion a chance for Junior Sau, who squeezed over in the corner for an unconverted try to cut the gap to four points.

Griffin then dropped a Chase high kick to miss a great chance and Chase made a trademark long range break only to be well tackled by Frankie Mariano.

But a penalty from the next play gave the Red Devils another set and Gareth Hock crashed over from close range. Chase added the conversion and suddenly the visitors were 10-8 ahead.

Aided by a second half penalty count of 7-1, they came close to another score soon after when Francis Meli made a break only for home full-back Dorn to get a vital touch to a pass that would have put Salford out of sight.

The Tigers still had enough energy and spirit to produce a big finish and came close when Webster’s low kick was just too long for his chasers, much to Salford’s relief.

Finn’s kick forced a drop-out and Salford’s defence finally cracked when Webster came up with that match-winning score.

Scorers: Castleford: Tries Carney, Webster; goals Sneyd 3. Salford: Tries Sau, Hock; goal Chase,

Castleford: Dorn; Dixon, Webster, Shenton, Carney; Sneyd, Finn; Lynch, Clark, Huby, Millington, Hauraki, Wheeldon. Subs: Milner, Mariano, Jewitt, Carvell.

Salford: Evalds; Griffin, Meli, Sau, Johnson; Chase, Fages; Morley, Lee, Tasi, Ashurst, Hock, Puletua. Subs: Walne, Rapira, Tomkins, Walton.

Referee: Tim Roby.

Half-time: 6-0.

Attendance: 5,937.