By Ben Burrows - at the Etihad Stadium
Adam Sidlow proved the unlikely hero for Salford City Reds in an absolute thriller against Huddersfield Giants at the Magic Weekend on Sunday.
The prop scored twice – including the very late winner – in a victory which reignites their Super League play-off hopes.
Salford were without a win in five after drawing last time out against Bradford Bulls, but this was by far their best performance of the season so far.
Salford started the better side and made the most of the dry conditions to show off their usual brand of expansive attacking rugby.
They took the lead in the fourth minute when Jodie Broughton showed excellent athleticism to keep the ball alive on the touchline and livewire centre Joel Moon touched down.
Standoff Daniel Holdsworth struck the extras from the touchline to give the Reds an early 6-0 lead.
Kevin Brown – playing at loose forward rather than his usual half back role – struck back for his side when he slipped through a gap at dummy half to register the Giants’ first points.
Giants then nearly scored one of the tries of the season when great slight-of-hand from their backline nearly put Luke George in the corner but the prolific winger couldn’t collect the final pass.
Danny Brough showed no such handling errors minutes later – the scrumhalf collecting Joe Wardle’s pass to scythe through giving the Yorkshiremen the lead.
Reds rallied and profited from their next trip into opposing territory with Moon grabbing his second after a superb Luke Patten offload.
The mercurial Holdsworth was again on hand to knock over the touchline conversion to give Reds the lead once more.
Salford went from strength to strength and extended their lead when centre Sean Gleeson showed good power to surge over in the right hand corner
Holdsworth’s goal attempt was wayward leaving his side 16-10 in front ten minutes before the break.
Huddersfield seemed visibly rattled by the Reds energy in both attack and defence and went further behind when fleet-footed winger Broughton slid over on the left hand side. Holdsworth again registered the goal from a seemingly impossible angle.
Huddersfield regrouped and got themselves back into the game shortly before the break as second row Michael Lawrence crossed to reduce the arrears to 22-18.
Salford rode their luck somewhat early on in the second period but could do nothing to stop prop Eorl Crabtree from crashing over and tying things up.
And Crabtree was again the right man in the right place as he powered over the whitewash two minutes later to give the Giants the lead for the first time.
Salford fought back once again and started to exert some more pressure on their opponents and it paid off in points when Moon provided the assist for Broughton to pick up his second of the afternoon.
In a thrilling topsy-turvy contest Reds prop Adam Sidlow then stretched out an arm to swing the pendulum Salford’s way again – Holdsworth’s extras making the score 32-28 with only 13 minutes remaining.
And Matty Ashurst had the chance to extend the lead but couldn’t reel in the ball after excellent athleticism from Patten.
The miss proved costly as the influential Brough raced clear to score under the posts and give his side the lead again.
Many in the stands believed that was that but prop Sidlow silenced any doubters with his second to give Reds a famous victory.