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Gus Mafuta celebrates after setting up the winner at Bradford Park Avenue

MIDFIELDER Gus Mafuta didn’t have the best start to his Salford City career after picking up an injury during a warm-up in pre-season.

However the 22-year-old was glad to have made an impact after coming on and setting up what turned out to be the winning goal at Bradford Park Avenue yesterday.

Trailing 1-0 at The Horsfall Stadium, Mafuta was one of two changes with just over 20 minutes to go bought on to change the game.

After Mike Phenix equalised, just a couple of minutes later Mafuta picked up the ball at the top of the box before powering down the right-hand side of the box and dragging the ball across the face of goal, which was diverted into his own net by James Knowles.

“That’s what you’ve got to do if you’re sitting on the bench,” said the former Gateshead midfielder.

“The manager’s trusting you to come on, so you’ve got to come on and do something to help the team and make an impact.

“That’s what I’ve done and I’m happy with that!”

A Difficult Match

The match was moved to a 13:30 kick-off after Storm Brian felled a floodlight at The Horsfall Stadium, and the wind again was a big factor on the day.

Circumstances were made tougher when Oli Johnson put Avenue ahead from the penalty spot after Nicky Clee was felled by Carl Piergianni.

However Mafuta says that The Ammies, chasing top spot, were always confident of picking up a fifth straight win against Bradford Park Avenue.

“It wasn’t great, it was against the wind in the first half so it was difficult, and we’ve given away a penalty and had out backs against the walls.

“But I was confident going into the second half that we were going to win, we were putting them under a lot of pressure and that’s what we’ve done, ended up getting the win.”

Getting Back At It

It’s not the first time Mafuta has suffered from a medial injury, however unlike last time, recovery has been a lot quicker.

Now the midfielder is hoping to continue getting minutes under his belt having come on as a substitute in the last three league games, and playing 80 minutes against Irlam in the Manchester Premier Cup:

“I’m feeling really good. 

“I’ve played a couple of games, been training for a while now and getting minutes on the pitch now and again so sooner or later I’ll be back, up and running at full fitness.”

There was also praise for Mafuta’s performance from joint-manager Anthony Johnson who added:

“For Gus, he’s had a frustrating time coming in as a big name signing, getting an injury, and waiting, being disappointed not to have had his start yet, but his performance today for 25-30 minutes, I thought he was unplayable. 

“His goal epitomised that the way he broke through and smashed it, but you could see he wanted to prove to everybody what he is about.”

Watch Gus Mafuta’s full interview on our YouTube channel.

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