Rangi Chase made a triumphant return to inspire Salford to their first win in four games and send his old club crashing to their first defeat of the season.
Chase landed the man of the match award after setting up two tries for Andrew Dixon and dropping a late goal to seal a 23-16 victory. Chase was back after suffering a calf injury on his Salford debut against Wakefield in the first match of the campaign.
The England stand-off, who joined Salford from Cas in the close season, was jeered by the large army of Tigers fans every time he touched the ball. But that did not seem to worry Chase, whose side led 10-6 at half-time.
Cas paraded Marc Sneyd against his parent club with Luke Dorn back to face his old pals in place of the suspended Jordan Tansey, banned for three matches for pushing referee Tim Roby.
Salford swept ahead after only four minutes with Tommy Lee and Tim Smith combining to send Martin Gleeson over for his first try of the campaign.
The Red Devils made it 10-0 after 18 minutes with Lee, Smith, Jake Mullaney and Gleeson handling smartly for Greg Johnson to touch down with Mullaney tagging on the conversion.
Cas hit back with Dorn supplying the pass for Justin Carney to blast over with Sneyd adding the goal. Daryl Clark’s running from dummy-half caused Salford problems and the Reds were relieved when referee James Child disallowed a Dorn try for a forward pass from sub Jake Webster, to leave Cas trailing by four points at the break.
Salford took only two minutes after the restart to extend the lead with a beautifully-timed pass from Chase putting Dixon over with Mullaney’s goal making it 16-6. Cas should have clawed a try back but Richard Owen spilled a pass from Weller Hauraki with the line open.
It was a vastly improved show by Salford on recent form and only an obstruction by Adam Milner on Theo Fages prevented another try after a strong Johnson burst. Milner was yellow-carded, and the Reds took immediate advantage with Chase and Mullaney involved in the build-up to Dixon’s second try on the hour to extend their advantage to 22-6. But Clark caught Salford napping after Smith conceded a penalty and the hooker’s opportunism and darting burst allowed Hauraki to cross in the corner.
Cas were then back to 13 players when Dorn cut inside Mullaney at pace to score a sparkling try under the posts with Sneyd’s conversion cutting the deficit to six points with 10 minutes left. Chase dropped in with his one-pointer to give Salford a seven-point cushion and it proved vital for them.
Salford: Ashurst, Dixon, Fages, Sa’u, Hansen, A. Walne, Gleeson, Chase, Johnson, Lee, Puletua, Morley, Mullaney, McPherson. Subs (all used): J. Walne, Smith, Tasi, Howarth, Meli.
Castleford: Shenton, Webster, Carney, Dorn, Sneyd, Lynch, Milner, Huby, Millington, Hauraki, Massey, Clark, Holmes, Mariano. Subs (all used): Ellis, Owen, Channing, Fleming, Finn.
Referee: James Child.