Hull FC had their hopes set on a jump from eighth to third spot in the table which would be achieved from a home win against a Salford Red Devils side who themselves knew that a decent points win could lift them from tenth to a position inside the top five as the final game of round four took place on Saturday afternoon.
Both sides suffered defeat last time out, FC being walloped by the Catalans Dragons while Salford lost to league leaders Warrington Wolves. Both coaches made wholesale changes as they chased the result although the freezing conditions were as likely to play a role equally as important as team selection.
It was a tremendous start for FC who controlled from the first whistle, Jake Clifford taking a Danny Houghton pass to go in against a Salford Red Devils defence who had been caught cold in the early exchanges. Clifford was unable to add the extras from a kickable position.
Salford woke up.
Within a couple of minutes of the opening Hull try, the visitors went the length of the field and in the space of two tackles Dion Cross went through a gap and strolled in for the simplest of four pointers. Marc Sneyd added the conversion and Salford had the lead.
With twelve on the clock Salford were in again as they forced the error and created the overlap for Shane Wright to go in. Sneyd converted from wide for a 12-4 lead.
It was becoming one way traffic on sixteen with a break from Brodie Croft who found Ryan Brierley in space to sprint for the line and score with ease. Sneyd added his easiest conversion of the game so far for 18-4.
A great substitution saw Tyler Dupree score a great solo try on twenty-four as he went in by the uprights. Sneyd smacked his fourth conversion over for a 24-4 lead, the Airlie Birds not at the races.
Wright got his second on thirty-five as the FC defence again fell apart allowing the second rower to crash over the top of his tackler and get the ball onto the ground. It was the errors which were costing FC, they were their own worst enemy. Sneyd was unable to add a fifth goal, the Red Devils amassing an unassailable lead.
Sneyd opted to kick a forty-five-metre penalty in the dying seconds of the half to give his side a 30-4 lead at the half time hooter after a totally dominant first forty.
Within seconds of the restart Cross was again the beneficiary from a flowing Salford move which covered the length of the field as he again went in at the corner, the winger fouled in the act of scoring for an eight point try. Sneyd kicked another touchline conversion and then added the penalty for 38-4.
A couple of minutes later a Brierley kick to the corner was taken by Kallum Watkins, the second rower dotting down for the seventh Salford try of the afternoon. Sneyd was again on target for a seventh goal.
Sneyd added a try to his conversion haul as he went in under the sticks on forty-nine after stepping three times through a disinterested defence. He added the conversion to his own try to bring up the fifty.
Salford were now scoring at will. Sneyd the provider this time as Tim Lafai scampered over on fifty-five and when Sneyd added another conversion for 56-4 the Red Devils were recording a point a minute.
Adam Swift gave the home fans a little cheer on sixty-three with a length of the field score after showing the Salford chasers a clean set of heels. Clifford was unable to tag on the extra two.
Brad Fash brought up double figures on seventy-five after some good FC pressure. Clifford kicked his first conversion of the afternoon, FC behind by 14-58.
The final try of the game, the tenth for Salford, came from Lafai as the Red Devils brought up the sixty. Sneyd was unable to convert and add to his ten but Salford sealed a tremendous and quite unexpected 60-14 win.
The win takes Salford up to fifth in the table with three wins in their opening four games of the season, while Hull FC drop to ninth, just one spot above St Helens, but four points above the bottom two sides. Despite FC taking the early lead as soon as Salford started scoring they couldn´t stop. Sneyd and Croft were exemplary for the visitors and controlled the game until taking their foot off the gas in the last twenty, certain that the game was run and conserving some energy for next time out.
Hull FC: Hoy, Swift (T), Griffin, Scott, McIntosh, Lovodua, Clifford (T, G), Taylor, Houghton, Fash (T), Sao, Savelio, Lane. Subs: Brown, Dwyer, Savelio, Lane. 18th Man: Litten.
Salford Red Devils: Brierley (T), Sio, Cross (2T), Lafai (2T), Williams, Croft, Sneyd (T, 10G), Ormondroyd, Ackers, Vuniyayawa, Watkins (T), Wright (2T), Atkin. Subs: Sidlow, Dupree (T), Longstaff, Bourouh. 18th Man: Costello.
Score Progression: 4-0, 4-4, 4-6, 4-10, 4-12, 4-16, 4-18, 4-22, 4-24, 4-28, 4-30 : HT : 4-34, 4-36, 4-38, 4-42, 4-44, 4-48, 4-50, 4-54, 4-56, 8-56, 12-56, 14-56, 14-60 : FT.
Lead Exchanges: Hull FC – Square – Salford.
Referee: Chris Kendall.