WARRINGTON Wolves staved off a second half comeback from Salford Red Devils at The Halliwell Jones Stadium to extend their winning run to seven games.
Junior Sa’u opened the scoring inside two minutes, but Gene Ormsby, Ryan Atkins, Chris Bridge and Joel Monaghan gave Wolves a first-half lead.
Adrian Morley and Niall Evalds, who grabbed two tries, threatened to lead a Salford comeback in the second half, but a Bridge penalty and Rhys Evans and Ben Currie scores sealed the victory.
Within a minute Ben Evans spilled a simple pass after Micky Higham had picked up from dummy half and handed Salford the incentive to attack the Wolves line.
The visitors, with ball in hands for the first time in the game, punished Wolves’ early error as the ball passed through Logan Tomkins, Tommy Lee and Rangi Chase before putting Sa’u over in the left corner. Chase converted.
Salford were forced to drop out from their in-goal area when a long Wolves kick hit the touch judge.
Stefan Ratchford caught the drop out, fed Chris Hill on the charge and from the set Wolves were able to work the ball right to Ormsby in the corner for his ninth try of the season six minutes in. Bridge converted from a tight angle.
Despite Wolves levelling the scores, it was Salford looking the brighter of the two sides early on and on 12 minutes they almost furthered their lead when Andrew Dixon beat Rhys Evans to Chase’s chip on the sixth tackle.
But having regained possession close to Wolves’ line, the Red Devils’ move came to an end when Tommy Lee fumbled a pass.
However, with 18 minutes played it would be Tony Smith’s side who took the lead for the first time.
Hill reacted quickest to scoop up the loose ball after the Red Devils spilled in a tackle and the powerful forward fed Atkins a neat offload for the centre to go the distance, leaving Bridge a simple goal in front of the sticks.
Wolves increased their lead four minutes later after the Red Devils were penalised for offside and Bridge kicked for touch.
Matty Russell was able to go close from the set and after Hill had drawn in several Salford defenders the ball was whipped wide via Higham and Ratchford for Bridge to find a way over in the right hand corner. The half back was unable to add to his tally with the boot.
Hill was again at the heart of Wolves’ attack with quarter of an hour remaining in the first half, but having put them in a similar position to the previous try Ratchford’s pass trickled out of play behind Rhys Evans.
Moments later and Iestyn Harris’ side felt they should have been back in it, a superb break from Francis Meli took him deep into Wolves’ half and he fed Sa’u, who was unable to reach out and ground from close range.
On 32 minutes Wolves crossed again, but as Ben Currie and Atkins exchanged passes the youngster could not gather and knocked on before Ratchford collected to dart over.
Rhys Evans, Russell and Higham were all held up as Wolves continued to apply the pressure and Salford’s only let off came after Jason Walton wildly hacked a Bridge grubber out beyond his own deadball line.
The hosts were able to keep the Red Devils pinned on their own line and after Russell again twisted and turned close to the try line it was Joel Monaghan who crossed for his 19th of the campaign. Bridge converted.
With four minutes underway in the second period Morley marked his return to The Halliwell Jones with a reply for the visitors.
Ormsby was forced over his own line and Wolves never recovered from the in-goal drop out, with Lee and Logan Tomkins combining the send the former Warrington man over besides the post. Chase added the extras.
Three minutes later Rhys Evans broke through two would-be Salford tacklers and scooted 60 metres before full back Niall Evalds made the covering tackle.
Ratchford picked up and fired a pass into Glenn Riley, but the replacement was unable to hang onto the ball.
Ben Westwood was next to break the Salford line, but Wolves’ attack came to a similar end as this time Higham from dummy half found Riley, who knocked on.
Atkins was penalised for a high tackle on 56 minutes giving Chase the opportunity to find touch. But it was after Morley and Sa’u had been stopped short that the in-form half back delivered a clever grubber for Evalds to ground.
Bridge took the opportunity to extend Wolves’ lead beyond a converted try with a penalty from nearly 40 metres with 19 minutes to play.
Wolves began to enjoy a spell of pressure and with quarter of an hour remaining Hill hit the line on the angle from Bridge’s pass and was stopped short.
From the set the ball found its way back into Bridge’s hands but his grubber through the Salford defence was too long for Atkins.
Two minutes later and Wolves were over, this time the final pass came from Ratchford who delivered a perfectly weighted miss-pass for Rhys Evans to run onto and the winger proved unstoppable from close range. Bridge again found the target from a difficult angle.
Wolves lost Ben Evans with 10 minutes to play after a collision following Chase’s kick through, the forward had to be helped from the field after another impressive performance.
On 75 minutes Evalds grabbed his second and kept hopes of a Salford comeback alive, the full back darted on to a pass from Chase after he had gathered his own grubber, but was unable to add the conversion.
Ben Currie added a late try as Salford’s defence failed to deal with a high bomb and Bridge added the extras.