St Helens maintained their unbeaten start to the new season but were made to work hard by high-flying Salford.
Salford (4) 10
Tries: Hodgson, Finnigan
St Helens (10) 12
Tries: Hooper, Hardman
Goals: Lyon 2
Jason Hooper put Saints ahead on six minutes with the help of the video referee although David Hodgson replied for the Reds on 10 minutes.
Ian Hardman collected Sean Long's kick to make the score 10-4 and Jamie Lyon added two points after the break.
Salford gave everything to try and win the game and Simon Finnigan's late try gave some hope but Saints just hung on.
St Helens have now not lost on their Super League travels since 13 May last year and coach Daniel Anderson will be delighted at how his side withstood Salford's bombardment in the second half.
Salford went into the game with seven wins from their opening 10 league games but two first-half tries effectively sealed their fate.
Hooper scored the first after Leon Pryce found him with a neat offload although Hodgson replied soon after when he jinked his way through the sleepy Saints defence.
John Wilshere failed to convert and Saints increased their lead on 19 minutes when scrum-half Long's deft cross-field kick was caught by Hardman, who raced in untouched to score.
Lyon's penalty increased the lead to 12-4 but Salford responded superbly, pouring forward at every opportunity.
Their pressure finally told when Malcolm Alker teed up Finnigan 14 minutes from time and although Saints had a few scares, they were able to preserve their slim lead.
Salford coach Karl Harrison:
"We were poor in the first half with the ball in hand. Even in the second half we weren't fluent with the football but the courage, determination and the togetherness nearly got us through.
"It was a real gutsy performance and the players can be really proud of it but we need to play with more fluency on the ball and take chances when they appear for us.
"That's what St Helens did but the players of both sides should be proud of their efforts tonight."
St Helens coach Daniel Anderson:
"I've got real problems with the black balls that we started with and I sent a message through to the RFL.
"I think it was embarrassing the balls were completely dark and in the second half the players told me the balls were flat as well.
"It should not happen and it's unprofessional. Given that it was our third game in eight days, we certainly don't need things like dark footballs in a professional game like this.
"Salford were excellent but so were we and they threw a lot at us. In the second half we couldn't get out of our half and they covered everything we did."
Salford: Fitzpatrick, Hodgson, Littler, Moule, Wilshere, Dunemann, Robinson, Baldwin, Alker, Highton, Coley, Brocklehurst, Finnigan.
Replacements: Haggerty, Charles, Clayton, Myler.
St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Lyon, Talau, Hardman, Pryce, Long, P Anderson, Cunningham, Fozzard, Sculthorpe, Gilmour, Hooper.
Replacements: Cayless, Roby, V Anderson, Graham.
Referee: R Silverwood (Dewsbury)