Salford City Roosters made the journey to Saddleworth Rangers with only 15 players available due to injuries and work commitments and after another defeat the team were left bitterly disappointed after they matched their hosts for 80 minutes.
In fact, the Roosters had the “Lions share” of the possession in the game and just about held territorial advantage but they were just unable to turn their pressure into points. Torrential rain had put the game into doubt for a while and the conditions certainly didn’t help the Roosters. John Brookes chased Bradley Whites kick to the in goal in the first half but just failed to hold onto the slippery ball as he crossed the line and in the second half Martin Judge crossed only to have the ball slip from his grasp at the last second.
Salford welcomed back full back Paul Morgan and gave a first team debut to Steve Brooks but missing from the previous week were Steve Barry, Alex Edwards, Darren Lomas and George Kemp. Mark Thomas was a big miss again due to work commitments, although another forward – Danny Trimble stepped up and took the man of the match award, closely followed by Christian Higgins, Tom Pratt and Morgan.
Rangers opened the scoring after 2 minutes without Roosters even having the ball in their hands once. Rangers’ outstanding player – scrum half Michael Diveney kicked a 40/20 to win a repeat set, then. On the 6th tackle, he kicked to the corner where Oli Kerr get his hand on the ball just before it went dead. Diveney missed the conversion (0-4) but made no mistake with the second, on 19 minutes after James Whalley sent Kerr racing in for his second try from 30 metres out (0-10).
Rangers forced a drop out on 24 minutes when Morgan and Brookes knocked a dangerous kick to safety and although the Roosters started to take the upper hand in the game the scoreboard was not troubled again before half time.
It had become evident as the game wore on that there was not much to choose between the two sides and that points either way were not going to be scored easily so it was no surprise that Diveney attempted attempted a drop goal with the second half just 3 minutes old. Mike Foster charged down Diveney’s effort and that signalled that start of Roosters best period of the game.
Roosters dominated the next half hour and forced 3 goal line drop outs in a 8 minute period, starting on 52 minutes, but try as they might, they just could not get through the home defence.
The first drop out came when Brookes chased Foster’s kick and panicked Jack Holden into kicking the ball dead. Brookes then provided the kick that led to the second drop out with Ethan Langhorne knocking the ball dead and Andrew Muscat tackled Craig Farrimond behind the goal line for the 3rd drop out. Rangers also survived the 56th minute sin binning of Matty Bottom for leading with the elbow – an incident that saw Roosters new boy Steve Brooks led off with blood pouring from ahead wound.
The Oldham team weathered the Roosters storm however and created a few problems of their own in the last 10 minutes, with Morgan just beating Adam Walker to a kick to the in goal to concede a drop out and, in the final seconds of the game, Roosters lost the ball in a one on one tackle and the ball was moved quickly to the wing where Danny Bowker sent Holden over in the corner. As Diveney’s kick missed the target the referee blew the full time whistle (0-14).