Adam Rooney scored a brace to send Salford City to the top of the Vanarama National League with a 2-0 win at Maidstone United.
The Irishman finished a clinical shot off low into the bottom corner from outside the area to open the scoring after 13 minutes.
More chances came for the dominant Ammies as last week’s winning goalscorer Nathan Pond went close and Rooney hit the inside of the post before guiding in a Scott Wiseman cross.
There was little doubt about the result, which sees Maidstone relegated to the National League South for 2019-20, and Graham Alexander beamed at a deserved three points.
“I thought we were superb in the first half and I thought we had so many chances, two excellent goals from Roons, but the keeper’s made a couple of saves, we’ve had a couple off the post, cleared off the line, so we could have been out of sight and it would have been well worth it because we were excellent first half.
“[We] probably didn’t have as many opportunities in the second half but the first half especially was probably one of the best we’ve played for a while now, it was great to see.”
It was Rooney’s first league goal since the defeat at Wrexham on Boxing Day, and the manager is glad to see him back in the team and back amongst the goals after a number of weeks out injured too.
“He’s just catching up on his true match fitness after being out for a period with his injury. But he played last Saturday, played a part in a bounce game on Tuesday and he played again today so he’s looking sharp and looking rather like the Adam Rooney we know, and his goals today were him all over; his turn and finish for the first one then attacking the cross for the second is him at his best, so he’s a great addition coming into the team on top of all the others who have come into it as well lately, and the result was deserved.
“It would have been great to have one or two more from the first half but the players have done exceptionally well over the last seven or eight games and we need to continue it as we approach the end.”
Those goals take Rooney’s tally for the season up to 20 in the league, and the 30-year-old was pleased for himself and the team.
“Yeah obviously [happy] just to get another win, keep the good run going, we’re obviously in very good form at the minute. We knew it would be a difficult game to come here with these fighting relegation so we just wanted to come home with the three points however we got it, and thankfully we managed to get the two goals which was nice, but we could have had a few more to be honest.
“It’s a good group of lads, everyone’s pulling in the same direction, we all want the same thing. Everyone’s going to be used between now and the end of the year so we’re a good squad, we’re on a good run, we just have to make sure we keep it going.”
The full-back had an outstanding game both in keeping another clean sheet and assisting Rooney for the second, and praised the efforts of the whole team while backing them to use their experience in the final four games.
“The boys have been fantastic since Ebbsfleet, clean sheets have been king for us really and it’s been a big platform for us to build on. The one goal we have conceded one week was a penalty, so from open play we’ve been absolutely solid. We’ve got ourselves back into contention and we’ve got to kick on now.
“I think we started so fast that we caught them by surprise, we got the goal, got the second goal and from then on we knew we weren’t going to concede.
“We’ve got enough experience in the team that we’re not going to let anybody, ourselves included, get ahead of ourselves, the gaffer won’t, but we know how far we’ve come over the last month, and we know how much further there is to go as well in the next month so no one can be resting on anything at the minute and we know all our focus is going to be on next Saturday.”