Salford City Under-21s stormed to a third straight win in the North West Under-21 Development League with a 3-0 win over FC United of Manchester.
Kamar Moncrieffe followed up Zack Woodcock’s opener with a brace, and could have had a hat-trick, while FC failed to trouble The Ammies that much at the other end.
It started as early as the fourth minute when the referee played a good advantage which allowed Brandon Lockett to switch the ball to the left for James Hooper. He lifted a cross into the area aiming for Anointed Chukwu, but it was just too high for the forward although the ball didn’t drop too far wide of the right-hand post.
The ball was in the net a couple of minutes later as Will Shepherd arrived late to nudge Moncrieffe’s cross over the line, but a late offside call against Chukwu in the build-up chalked the goal off. No let up was in sight for the FC keeper as Hooper stung his palms with a powerfully-struck central free-kick, just outside the area.
Max Crocombe was called into action on the 15-minute mark, making a diving save to his right after the FC number nine swivelled and shot without too much pace.
The young Ammies picked back up though, and Sam Adetiloye was unlucky to see a header come off the top right-hand corner of the bar from a corner before Taylor Dyson shot wide from the edge of the area.
Shortly after the half hour mark the deadlock was broken though, and in favour of the side that had been on top. The FC keeper hadn’t had much luck holding onto the ball, and Hooper again tested him with a powerfully struck free-kick. He got his body behind the ball, which bounced in front of him for Chukwu to have an attempt on goal. While he did well to smother Chukwu’s shot, the ball then fell for Woodcock, also following in, to see over the line and give Salford the advantage.
Chukwu came close to doubling the lead a few minutes before the break as Hooper’s cross from the left was met by the tall forward, but it came off the top of the post. However it wasn’t long before The Ammies did double the lead. Quick thinking by Woodcock to take a free kick in the middle released Shepherd on the right-hand side who moved forward to the final third before rolling a pass into Moncrieffe. Some nifty footwork and a shift of the body by the forward and he created just enough space to take a step and curl a lovely shot into the left-hand post.
Half Time: FC United 0-2 Salford City
A swift and intense start to the second period should have extended the visitors’ lead further. Moncrieffe picked out Hooper on the left who cut inside and crossed the ball to the back post where Chukwu nodded it down into the path of Shepherd, but he just guided a sweeping shot wide of the post.
10 minutes was all it took until the ball hit the back of the net again though, and this time it was Moncrieffe in the middle. Mani Ogunrinde had only just come on as a substitute when Woodcock released him into space on the right. His cross was low, accurate, and paced perfectly for Moncrieffe who arrived in the six-yard box to tap in the third of the game, and effectively seal the points.
There was some defending to do past the hour mark, albeit briefly, as FC found some space on the right and the number nine crossed into the middle. Crocombe hadn’t had too much to do and came to clear the cross, only managing to get a palm on the ball which dropped on the right. However Brandon Lockett was back to cover and cleared the ball away from danger. An ambitious shot by the number eight from 30 yards followed, but to no trouble for Crocombe.
Moncrieffe’s hat-trick chance came with three minutes left to play. Hooper swung in a free-kick from the right but the forward’s header, on target, was saved. The ball ended up in the net a couple of minutes later from another Hooper free-kick, this one more central. The initial effort was blocked by the wall but the left-back followed up with another shot which was tapped in at the far post, but Ogunrinde was judged to be offside.
Full Time: FC United 0-3 Salford City
Those last chances mattered not as Salford cruised comfortably to a third win and clean sheet, and to the top of the league!