MARK Dunning has hailed his side’s ‘desire, enthusiasm and effort’ as Bulls reserves made it back-to-back wins – seeing off Salford Red Devils 16-12 at Horsfall Stadium.

A blistering start saw tries from Bradley Ho and Alix Stephenson hand the home side an early 10-0 advantage.

Stephenson grabbed his second in a close-fought second half where a late Salford score set up a nervy finale.

The Bulls held firm however, emerging from a ‘scrappy’ encounter with a second successive victory against Super League opposition, having also beaten Castleford Tigers 18-10.

“Back-to-back wins is pleasing - it was a scrappy encounter but when we talk about desire, enthusiasm and effort my players showed that in abundance,” said Dunning.

“They are a really good group who care about each other. I would much rather we didn’t have to show it from gifting them the ball but the resilience we showed was outstanding.

“We spoke about starting quick and starting well and putting in an 80-minute performance but it turned out to be like the first team’s game against Oldham.

“I don’t want to focus on negatives because the desire, effort and enthusiasm was outstanding, we just went away from what was working really well but the players are learning.

“Sometimes when players drop down to reserve level they can find it difficult but I think anyone who saw the game saw David Foggin-Johnston have a real dig and he is turning round to us saying I want to play first team.

“We have gone back-to-back against Super League clubs and whilst it is about progressing these young blokes and not winning, it is still pleasing and now we dust ourselves down and get ready for St Helens in two weeks.”

Danny Maskill was named in the starting line-up having made his red, amber and black stay permanent – with Harry Shackleton named on the interchange bench for his first appearance of the season.

Having forced an error from the kick-off, Bradford immediately got on the board.

On the powerplay, Maskill fed the onrushing Ho, who barged his way past two Salford defenders for the perfect start to proceedings.

Buoyed by that early score, on the next set Dunning’s side were in again through Stephenson.

A slick passage of play on the left edge saw Matthew Race feed the full-back – who stepped his way past three visiting defenders to ground the ball despite pressure.

Salford reduced arrears when a kick in behind troubled Bradford’s right edge before a further effort got the visitors within two - Joel Verite and Ryan Gray the scorers.

The scoring ground to a halt as the Bulls’ defence stood firm to maintain their advantage – losing captain Keelan Foster just before the break.

Neither side increased their points on the scoring ledger before the 65th minute when Stephenson added to his first half try.

Shackleton’s high, hanging kick was palmed back by the leaping Foggin-Johnston into the arms of the full back who dived over underneath the posts.

A late Salford try set up a nervy final two minutes but Bradford emerged unscathed for a second straight win.

BRADFORD BULLS RESERVES: Alix Stephenson, Jacob Smillie, Elliot Culling, Ryan Butterworth, Murphy Smith, Matthew Race, Billy Jowitt, Keelan Foster, Danny Maskill, Bradley Ho, Sam Smith, Evan Hodgson, Ethan O’Hanlon. INTERCHANGES: Harry Shackleton, James McGurk, Cameron Berry, Matty Stableford.

TRIES: Stephenson (2), Ho

GOALS: Race 2/3