London Broncos produced a controlled performance on Saturday 22nd of September to take their second Super League scalp in beating Salford Red Devils by 11 points to 8.
Danny Ward had to be creative with his line up due to the injury to James Cunningham against Hull KR and much to the surprise of the London faithful saw Jay Pitts start in the halves!
The changes, however, paid off as Pitts and the mercurial Sammut ran things throughout the first half at a rain sodden Trailfinders Sports Club.
The arm wrestle started early on in the piece and sets were traded until on 10 minutes Dixon pounced on a loose ball and between he and Jarrod Sammut they managed to kick the ball and chase it to the visitors five metre line and force Salford to concede a penalty. London chose to go for goal and up stepped Sammut to put the home side two points in front.
Three minutes later and another London penalty led to the home side starting a new set on the Salford 10 metre line. Within two tackles captain Jay Pitts had carried the ball and three defenders over the line and touched down for their first and only try of the day. Sammut converted and the Broncos led by eight points to nil.
Penalties seemed to be the order of the day from referee Mikalauskas as both sides were penalised. London were, on 24 minutes, put on a team warning and within 60 seconds Eddie Battye was sent to the bin for 10 minutes following what was adjudged to be a ball rip.
The visitors could not profit from the extra man and but for the Referee calling play back for an offside to Salford, Sammut was away and over in the corner for a second try.
The Broncos defence was holding firm and Salford knocked on the door but could not get through. Then the tide turned and on 35 minutes London played the ball on the last tackle back to Sammut who had dropped into the pocket and the half-back put the drop goal over for the hosts to lead by nine points to nil.
Matty Gee looked to be over in the corner on 37 minutes but his impetus and three defenders managed to take the former Salford man in to touch and at the hooter for half time the Broncos held a well deserved lead.
The Red Devils came back out early for the second half and they started with a more determined feel to their play and the pressure they exerted finally paid off on the hour mark when following a penalty to the visitors winger Gregory Johnson went over in the corner. The line judge looked to have ruled it out at first but the referee overruled him and gave the try. With Chamberlain off the field for a head assessment Lussick took the kick but missed well wide of the uprights and the score remained nine points to four.
The time ticked down for what seemed like hours for the home fans until on 74 minutes London were given a penalty right in front of the posts and Sammut stepped up to put the ball straight between the uprights to extend the lead to seven points leaving Salford needing two scores.
The visitors kicked it short from the restart and came up with the ball and ran on the last tackle of the set and they again went through the hands and put Johnson over for his second in the corner. Chamberlain, now back on the field, took over the kicking but this time he put the kick wide of the far post and with two minutes on the clock London led by 11 points to eight.
The Salford onslaught came straight back at the hosts but when the kick on the last was collected by Man of the Match, Alex Walker the Broncos could run down the time remaining and run out victorious.
London Head Coach Danny Ward said, ” I can imagine that was a great game to watch from a neutral point of view but I think I aged in those last ten minutes. The boys were fantastic today and their work rate and effort were tremendous”
London now have a final home game of the season on Saturday 29th September against Halifax RLFC and know that they still have a fighting chance of making it either up automatically or via the Million Pound Game on October 7th.
Tickets for the game with Halifax are available here :- londonbroncosrl.com/match-day-ticket-sales
LONDON BRONCOS :- Walker, Dixon, Hellewell, Kear, Williams, Pitts, Sammut, Evans, Davis, Ioane, Gee, Hindmarsh, Battye
INTERCHANGE:- ( All Used) Spencer, Butler, Adebiyi, Pelissier
TRIES :- Pitts (14)
GOALS :- Sammut 3/3
DROP GOAL :- Sammut 1/1
SIN BIN :- Battye (25)
SALFORD RED DEVILS :- Evalds, Johnson, Welham, Chamberlain, Bibby, Lui, Littlejohn, Burke, Lussick, Burgess, Jones, McCarthy, Lannon
INTERCHANGE:- (All Used) Flanagan Nakubuwai, Kopczak, Turgut
TRIES:- Johnson (57, 77)
GOALS:- Lussick 0/1, Chamberlain 0/1
REFEREE:- Scott Mikalauskas