Castleford Tigers scored 18 second-half points without reply to claim a 24-6 victory at struggling Salford Red Devils and climb to third in Betfred Super League.
Jake Webster scored two tries for Daryl Powell’s side who have lost just one of their last seven matches as they bid to seal a spot in the top four and reach a Grand Final at Old Trafford for the second successive season.
Injury-hit Salford battled hard and frustrated Castleford for long periods, especially in the first half which ended 6-6.
Castleford opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Greg Eden’s kick on the last tackle bounced kindly for Grant Millington and the ball was worked to the right edge via Quentin Laula-Togagae for Jake Webster to score a try which Paul McShane converted.
Salford, who came into the game with just one win from their last eight, went close to an immediate response but forward Ryan Lannon was held up over the Castleford tryline as he tried to ground the ball.
Six minutes before half-time, the home side got off the mark when winger Jake Bibby was quickest to react to a kick to the corner by Ed Chamberlain, launching himself full length to ground the ball before it rolled dead on the slippery surface.
Webster scored two tries for Daryl Powell’s side who have lost just one of their last seven matches as they bid to seal a spot in the top four and reach a Grand Final at Old Trafford for the second successive season.
It was the fourth-consecutive game where Bibby has scored a try, while Chamberlain levelled the scores with a superb conversion off the touchline.
Beaten 52-22 at Hull KR in their last outing, Salford produced some determined defence at the end of the first half, withstanding an intense spell of Tigers pressure and denying Mitch Clark a try by holding him up over the line.
The Red Devils almost created another try in the early moments of the second half when Robert Lui’s kick to the corner just evaded the chasing Bibby.
But Castleford took control of the game with two converted tries in quick succession. In the 48th minute, centre Michael Shenton cut infield from close range to evade Bibby’s tackle and touchdown.
Then Webster scored his second try of the night from close range moments later with McShane’s goal giving Castleford an 18-6 lead.
There was some concern for the Tigers when Joe Wardle had to be helped off the pitch with 19 minutes remaining.
But they were able to seal the win with nine minutes left - winger Kieran Gill sliding in at the corner from Laulu-Togagae’s long pass.
McShane again converted brilliantly from the touchline to seal victory.
Salford: Chamberlain, Olpherts, Sa’u, Jones, Bibby, Lui, Shorrocks, Tasi, Wood, Nakubuwai, Lannon, McCarthy, Murray. Substitutes: Flanagan, Burke, Mossop, Nzoungou.
Castleford: Eden, Gill, Webster, Shenton, Clare, Laulu-Togagae, Trueman, Watts, McShane, Sene-Lefao, Moors, Millington, Milner. Substitutes: Holmes, Wardle, Cook, M. Clark, M. Clark.
Referee: Chris Kendall (RFL).
St Helens took full advantage of Wigan’s slip-up at Huddersfield to move eight points clear at the top of Betfred Super League following a hard-fought 34-18 victory at Hull FC.
Bureta Faraimo put Hull ahead with the opening set but the league leaders worked their way back into the match through Tommy Makinson and Ben Barba to move 10-8 ahead at the break, despite the home winger’s second score.
Hull regained the lead when Jansin Turgut and Albert Kelly crossed to move Hull 18-10 in front, but Saints came roaring back with 24 unanswered points as Hull slipped further off the top-four pace.