ANTHONY JOHNSON said there are a lot of positives for Salford City to take after a 2-2 draw with FC United of Manchester prevented a three-match losing run.
A point keeps The Ammies four points ahead of Harrogate Town in the National League North as we begin 2018, however it was within minutes of being all three.
Anthony Dudley scored his first goal since the end of October to open the scoring in the first half for a much-improved Salford side.
FC hit back through Craig Lindfield not long before the break, and dominated proceedings until the interval, however The Ammies responded early in the second half when Jack Redshaw got on the end of a Dudley cross to restore the hosts’ advantage.
There was one more twist in the tale though, or deflection on the shot, as Steve Irwin’s driven effort in the 87th minute was deflected past Max Crocombe, with Zac Corbett claiming the last touch.
Despite another late setback though, Johnson was positive about his side’s performance and praised the endeavour from counterpart Tom Greaves’ side.
“Both equalisers were very similar in the fact that they were both deflections, and actually out of the last five goals we’ve conceded against these, four have involved deflections.
“But there are a lot of positives to take from it, some of the football that we’ve played, some of the chances we’ve created, particularly in the first half, then all of a sudden you come out in the second half and some sort of storm starts, you’re kicking against the wind and it was tough.
“To be fair to FC over the last two games you’ve got to give them a lot of credit because of the way that they try and play, the way that they try and attack, and it’s almost like the new manager’s come in and there’s so much freedom on them and how they play.”
“We’re in a little rut, the lads are gutted, naturally gutted, we’ve not won for three games and performance wise two of the three haven’t been good enough and they’re disappointed but we’ve just said to them there, every side has a blip and we’ve just got to get out of it.
“Fortunately we haven’t lost, we’ve gained a point there and stopped that losing streak and we’ve got to make sure that we get back on a run because the longer you stay in it, as happened to us last season with the seven-match winless run, the longer you’re in it the harder it is to get out so we’ve just got to stick together and take the positives from what we’ve done.”
There were two changes to the side that fell to defeat on Boxing Day with Gus Mafuta coming in for the suspended Scott Burton, and Dudley coming in for Mike Phenix with the former Bury forward standing out.
As well as opening the scoring, Dudley assisted Redshaw with a tricky cross from a free-kick on the left, and could have had a second goal himself were it not for Lloyd Allinson.
“It was a great performance from him [Dudley], I thought him and Jack linked up really well, did everything we asked them to do,” Johnson said.
“I thought all over the pitch we played some decent stuff, obviously the second half the weather and the pitch didn’t help, the lads have tried to do what we asked them to do and on another day we could have gone and won by a bigger margin but this time unfortunately we’ve managed a draw.”
Next up Salford travel to Stockport County in what looks to be a testing month to start 2018, however Johnson is relishing the challenge that the schedule provides:
“It’s a really exciting month – Stockport, Darlington, Telford, Harrogate and Brackley – they don’t come much bigger than those games!
“There’ll be plenty more twists and turns over the season, 19 games to go so half the season still, loads of twists and turns and the message to our lads is keep their heads up, we’ve had a brilliant season so far and, I’ve said it loads of times, if someone had offered us where we are we’d have took it.
“Because of the circumstances with two defeats, a draw and late goals that we normally score have been against us, it makes it a little more disappointing but you know as Bernard said last week, as we’ve just said to the lads, there’s no need to panic, we’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing.
“We’re working hard, things aren’t going for us at the minute, deflected goals are flying in whereas probably four, five weeks ago we had great blocks on the line and people were saying it’s great defending, it’s just a little bit unfortunate but there are reasons them things are happening and a few things that need tweaking.”