Salford tonight entertained Wakefield in the quarter-final of the Challenge Cup, the third time both teams have met this season. Both previous games had been belters, and this was to be the most belting of them all with Salford triumphing 30-6 in our biggest game in the cup since 1998 when we reached the semis.
The club had issued a plea for the fans to be loud and proud and cheer the team onto victory, and the big crowd certainly responded, with 'Salford...Salford' ringing around the ground. And the team responded with the most intense performance I have seen all season. This game was always going to boil down to who wanted it the most...and there was only one team at the races tonight.
The first half was a pleasure to watch, with Michael Dobson, Robert Lui and Mark Flanagan all outstanding. Coach Ian Watson changed the team around and boy did it work wonders...
First to score for Salford was Ryan Lannon, after brilliant work by Dobson and Lui. It was kicked by Dobson and it was all Salford at this stage. Lui then gave an inside ball to my man of the season, big Ben Murdoch-Masila, who stormed over the line right under the Wakefield post. Dobson kicked the goal: Salford 12 Wakefield 0.
After more pressure, Salford were awarded a penalty which Dobson kicked, making the score Salford 14 Wakefield 0. And just before half time, Salford went over again, Niall Evalds scoring and Dobson kicking, making the half time score Salford 20 Wakefield 0.
The AJ Bell was a very happy place to be at half time, fans were phoning hotels up to book their Wembley trips. In the second half, it just got better and better. Greg Johnson went over after brilliant work by Lui; too far out for Dobson to kick. But soon after this Craig Kopzcak went over at the side of the post, and this time Dobson goaled: Salford 30 Wakefield 0.
With Salford seeing out the sets and running time down on the clock, Wakefield scored. But there was to be no fightback. Final score: Salford Red Devils 30 Wakefield Trinity 6.
Salford now have eyes on the Holy Grail, and I have a great feeling it is coming home. I loved it and just know we are going to Wembley. And so does every single fan who was in that ground tonight. Sometimes they say your name is on the cup...and with everything that goes with being a Salford fan, chairman and all, I really do believe this year is our year. It could be the last time ever Salford RLFC win at Wembley, if the name change goes ahead.
Report by Simon Williams
Photos by Gareth Lyons