Wigan Warriors 28 Salford Red Devils 12

George Williams on the attack
George Williams on the attack

Adrian Lam's Wigan moved into the play-offs positions for the first time this year with a fourth straight win.

Liam Marshall's two tries helped them claim a solid victory, in front of 12,066 fans, which moved them to fourth in the table.

They will stay there if Catalans lose at Leeds on Sunday and if Castleford don't overhaul the Warriors' superior points difference if they beat London.

Either way, this was a successful return to the DW after six weeks on the road.

Tony Clubb and Morgan Smithies gave good value down the middle, George Williams added some flair and Jarrod Sammut made the most of his opportunity with an energetic, sparkling display off the bench.

Disruption before and during the game made the performance a little disjointed at times, and the left side - so lethal at times this year - didn't get many opportunities.

But the win was underpinned by a tigerish defence which only conceded two tries - and one from a mix-up just before half-time.

Salford, who went into the game in fifth, gave a debut to Tui Lolohea following his switch with Robert Lui at Leeds. Wigan-bound Jake Bibby was on the wing but didn't get many chances to catch the eye, while Warriors-target Jackson Hastings frequently caught the eye - he was at the heart of most of Salford's best work.

Wigan were dealt a blow in the build-up when Liam Farrell withdrew with a minor knee injury, which allowed Joe Bullock back into an otherwise unchanged line-up.

Within two minutes, they had lost another influential forward after Sean O'Loughlin suffered an injury, thrusting Morgan Smithies into early action.

Krisnan Inu booted Salford 2-0 ahead with an early penalty and by the 20th minute, Chris Hankinson had drawn level.

In between, Wigan had the better of the attacking chances, with Williams sparking and Clubb used to damaging impact. And they eventually got their rewards when a sweeping attack to the right finished with Marshall soaring over.

Joe Greenwood stretched their lead minutes later, diving onto Williams' measured grubber.

Hankinson missed the first conversion and Zak Hardaker took over for the second, but fared no better.

Still, at 10-2, Wigan looked comfortably in control with seconds to go before the break.

But a real howler at the back let Salford get a foothold back into the contest.

It seemed everyone at the DW could see Hardaker and Marshall were on a collision course as they both ran to defuse a kick; the ball was spilled and, from the next set, Derrell Olpherts crossed down Marshall's wing.

If the 10-6 scoreline created a nervousness at half-time, Wigan struck twice early from the restart to settle any jitters - and both had touches of class to them.

Sammut jetted through a gap, 35m from his own line, and angled a grubber kick inside for Hardaker to touch down. Hankinson resumed kicking duties and made it 16-6.

And then Marshall showed wonderful footwork to squeeze through the defence from close range to score. Hankinson again converted.

It didn't all go Wigan's way but their line-defence was steely, and in the final quarter they applied the squeeze, forcing errors and looking for a try to kill off the hosts. Gil Dudson and Romain Navarrete were sinbinned for their part in a melee and with three minutes to go, Hastings sent Kris Welham over for a converted try but Ollie Partington ensured Wigan had the final say when he crashed over for a try which Hankinson converted.

Hull KR visit the DW Stadium next Friday.

Wigan: Hardaker; Marshall, Hankinson, Gildart, Burgess; Williams, Leuluai; Clubb, Powell, Navarrete,Isa, Greenwood, O'Loughlin. Subs: Smithies, Sammut, Partington, Bullock.

Salford: Evalds; Bibby, Inu, Welham, Olpherts; Lolohea, Hastings; Nakubuwai, Tomkins, Dudson, Jones, Lannon, McCarthy. Subs: Burke, Flanagan, Lussick, Sio.

Referee: Chris Kendall

Half-time: 10-6