CASTLEFORD TIGERS made it three successive wins as they proved too good for a woeful Salford Red Devils side at Wheldon Road.
Daryl Powell’s side never found their own best in a scrappy game but were still too classy for the dire visitors.
They were 20-0 up at half-time and should really have been farther ahead despite being down to 12 men for 10 minutes due to Oli Holmes’ yellow-card.
The second-row was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Salford’s Tyrone McCarthy in the 18th minute.
At that point, his side were 12-0 to the good but – such was the visitors’ ineptitude – Castleford actually extended that to 14-0 by the time he returned.
Ian Watson’s side were abysmal, not just during that spell but throughout the entire first period, constantly either spilling the ball, making forward passes or fumbling kicks.
It was possible to count the number of times they reached a kick of their own on one hand.
All of which made life so easy for Powell’s side.
Captain Michael Shenton opened the scoring as early as the fifth minute with a strong finish in the corner.
They soon added another. Benny Roberts claimed a – rare – kick behind his own line on the full, quickly restarted with a 20m tap and saw Greg Minikin unleash Shenton.
Although he was stopped, Jake Bibby made a mess of Paul McShane’s grubber and James Clare – the winger making his ‘second’ debut for Tigers after rejoining from Leigh Centurions – mopped up.
Groggy McCarthy clearly wasn’t right after Holmes’ ‘spear’ tackle; he dropped the ball in the next set as Salford continued to err before Gale added a penalty.
Even after Greg Johnson produced a remarkable tackle to deny Minikin a try on the winger’s 100th career appearance they still managed to mess things up, Josh Jones coughing up Gale’s harmless grubber to see the England scrum-half cross for a try of his own.
Gale improved all three of Castleford’s tries but Salford returned after the break with an improved attitude.
Junior Sau got them off the mark after running a good line off Jack Littlejohn’s pass in the 51st minute but Robert Lui fluffed the conversion attempt and then Sau had to depart soon after with a nasty head wound.
On the hour mark, Castleford’s Grant Millington – arguably their best forward – and Salford’s Logan Tomkins both had to depart, too, to the sin-bin.
Tomkins was penalised for laying on the Australian too long in the tackle. When the hooker still didn’t get off Millington picked him up and dumped him on the floor, causing a melee.
Gale kicked the two points but the game became increasingly bitty, the hosts falling towards Salford’s level.
Two great tackles from Clare off his wing denied Kris Welham before three times in one set Castleford held a Salford player up over the goalline in what was generally a low-quality second period.
Bibby did eventually cross late on for Salford’s second try but they have now lost four of their opening five games.
Castleford host Wigan Warriors, who ended Wakefield Trinity’s 100 per cent winning start with a 30-18 success this afternoon, next Sunday.
Castleford Tigers: Roberts; Minikin, Webster, Shenton, Clare; Ellis, Gale; Massey, McShane, Millington, Holmes, McMeeken, Foster. Substitutes: Milner, Cook, Sene-Lefao, Green.
Salford Red Devils: Evalds: Bibby, Welham, Sau, Johnson; Lui, Littlejohn; Griffin, Wood, Burgess, Jones, Hauraki, McCarthy. Substitutes: Tomkins,m Tasi, Nakubuwai, Flanagan.
Referee: Liam Moore (Leeds).