|Salford (8) 24|
|Try: Watkins, Inu, Greenwood, Lussick Goals: Inu 4|
|Warrington (14) 22|
|Tries: King, Austin, Murdoch-Masila Goals: Ratchford 2, Widdop 3|
Spirited Salford came from behind to beat Warrington 24-22 and reach their first Challenge Cup final in 51 years.
Holders Wolves led 14-8 at the break as scores from Toby King and Blake Austin were answered by a Kallum Watkins try.
Krisnan Inu touched down to cut the lead, only for Ben Murdoch-Masila to again extend Warrington’s advantage.
James Greenwood gave Salford hope before Joey Lussick powered over to set up a behind-closed-doors final with Leeds at Wembley on 17 October.
Warrington, who beat St Helens at Wembley last year and were bidding to reach their third successive final, dominated much of the game in terms of possession and territory.
But they were unable to shake off Ian Watson’s dogged Salford side, who have reached the final for the first time since losing to Castleford in 1969 a year after beating the odds to reach an unlikely Grand Final.
Salford fought back from 18-0 to beat Warrington in a Super League game between two much-changed teams in midweek after coming from 12-0 behind to win in extra time against Catalans Dragons in the quarter-finals, and again showed their tenacity.
They withstood a period of early Warrington pressure before finally falling behind when a man short after Tyrone McCarthy had been sent to the sin-bin for a reckless tackle.
Wolves made the most of their numerical advantage by spreading the play wide for King to score in the corner, with Stefan Ratchford’s conversion and later penalty seemingly giving them a controlling 8-0 lead.
But Salford hit back with 12 men when Warrington full-back Matty Ashton was unable to gather Tui Lolohea’s grubber kick and Watkins raced in to touch down.
Austin dummied his way over to give Warrington a six-point half-time lead, only for Inu to claim Kevin Brown’s high kick to reduce Salford’s arrears immediately after the restart.
Warrington appeared to have breathing space once again when Murdoch-Masila went over against his former club.
But Salford, whose only Challenge Cup win came in 1938, refused to give in as Greenwood won the race to touch down Brown’s angled grubber kick before Lussick powered his way over from close range to seal the Red Devils’ trip to Wembley.
Salford: Sarginson, Williams, Watkins, Welham, Inu, Lolohea, Brown, Mossop, Lussick, Dudson, McCarthy, Greenwood, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Burke, Ikahihifo, Kear, Pauli.
Warrington: Ashton, Charnley, Gelling, King, Mamo, Ratchford, Widdop, Hill, D. Clark, Cooper, Currie, Hughes, Austin
Interchanges: Murdoch-Masila, J. Clark, Philbin, Walker.