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Team Sheet

Barrow
12
Joel Dixon
3
Dan Jones
4
Jason Taylor
5
Josh Granite (C)
7
Jack Hindle

Dyson '78

8
John Rooney

Kay '74

9
Jacob Blyth
2 goals for Jacob Blyth 2 goals for Jacob Blyth Yellow card for Jacob Blyth
12
Joel Dixon
21
Jack Barthram
23
Kyle Jameson
26
Rhys Norrington-Davies
28
Germaine Agustien
1 goals for Germaine Agustien
Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
1 goals for Ibou Touray
4
Gus Mafuta
Red card for Gus Mafuta
5
Liam Hogan (c)
Yellow card for Liam Hogan (c)
6
Carl Piergianni
7
Matt Green
1 goals for Matt Green Yellow card for Matt Green
9
Adam Rooney
10
Danny Lloyd

Nolan '43

18
Danny Whitehead
23
Nathan Pond
Yellow card for Nathan Pond

Dieseruvwe '90+4

Substitutes
2
Connor Brown
10
Josh Kay
14
Luke Carroll-Burgess
19
Oliver Dyson
25
Steven Jennings
Substitutes
12
Max Crocombe
15
Liam Nolan
20
Mani Dieseruvwe
24
Harry Brockbank
30
Rory Gaffney
Managers
Manager - Ian Evatt
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Match Officals
Referee - Daniel Middleton

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Match
Report

Salford City slipped to their fourth successive league defeat at Holker Street this afternoon, with the deciding goal coming in the fifth minute of time added on. It was a cruel end to the game for The Ammies who had battled back to level twice, despite being down to 10 men for almost an hour. Gus Mafuta’s challenge on Jason Taylor was ill-judged, to say the least but his team-mates very nearly managed to climb the mountain that dismissal left them to face.

There was one change in personnel from the side that were beaten at Wrexham on Boxing Day, with Liam Hogan coming in for the suspended Tom Walker. That change ushered in a shift in formation, with 3 central defenders flanked by wing-backs, 3 in midfield and a forward duo.

There was a blustery wind in Cumbria and that would take its toll on the quality of football at times. It would still be a compelling afternoon however and the visitors looked lively early on.

It seemed as if The Ammies had shrugged off recent frustrations as they enjoyed plenty of early possession. No chances though, and there was a moment of concern at the other end in the 6th minute. Nathan Pond mopped up a loose ball on the edge of his own penalty area before turning away from the rapidly approaching Jack Hindle. The Barrow man seemed to clip his opponent and the referee gave himself a moment to think before awarding a Salford free-kick.

In the 9th minute Danny Lloyd’s run to the edge of the box was blocked by a couple of defenders but the loose ball fell for Scott Wiseman on the right. His cross toward the far post was tempting for Adam Rooney who tried an overhead kick that clipped off a defender and behind.

The corner came to nothing and despite seeing plenty of the ball so far, The Ammies hadn’t managed to test home keeper Joel Dixon.

Fortune hasn’t been kind to Graham Alexander’s men recently and they fell behind in the 14th minute at the end of Barrow's first real attack. John Rooney prodded a pass out to the right and an untimely slip left Carl Piergianni on the turf and Hindle advancing into space. A turn inside took Hindle into the box where he let fly with a shot that spun off the chest of Hogan and wide of Chris Neal’s right-hand post.
The referee, convinced he had seen a handball, pointed to the spot with the Salford skipper's protestations of innocence cutting no ice.

It was a very harsh decision, with salt rubbed into Salford wounds as Hogan was shown a yellow card for the handball offence that never was. Penalty it was however and JACOB BLYTHmade no mistake, slamming a low finish to Neal’s right with the keeper committing himself the other way.

For the 3rd successive away game Salford were behind early on and they tried to find a response straight from the restart. Matt Green did well to keep possession on the edge of the area, moving from right to left, with the ball eventually rolling into the path of Mafuta. From 22-yards out and centrally positioned the big midfielder put in a low shot, but Dixon was behind that one all the way. The Bluebirds countered, with Kemy Agustien picking up possession well outside the Salford area. A nicely delivered diagonal ball dropped over Piergianni and into the right-hand side of the 6-yard box, where Jack Barthram had evaded the attentions of Ibou Touray. The angle was tight but Barthram managed to poke in a low, left-footed effort with Neal extending a leg to deflect the effort behind for a corner.

For a while play became condensed into the central areas of the pitch, with odd forays forward failing to puncture the respective rearguards. A half-chance did present itself for Salford in the 25th minute after full-back Wiseman found himself, unusually, in possession wide on the left. He did well to make a yard following a dart to the line, then even better to drop a good cross to the edge of the 6-yard box. Lloyd was on the end of it but couldn’t react quickly enough as the ball bounced off him and safely through to Dixon.

A couple of minutes later Barthram played a neat one-two with Hindle before hitting a rising, angled effort from the right that spun off Salford defender Nathan Pond. With the referee in an apparently generous mood it was certainly worth a penalty shout but this time the officials managed to arrive at the correct decision. The danger wasn’t quite over as Agustien lofted another ball into the area, with Blyth not too far away from getting there in front of goal.

This was turning into a decent spell for the home side and following a corner, John Rooney lobbed a great ball into the right-hand side of the area. Agustien met the ball, side-footing in a low delivery that evaded everyone inside the 6-yard box before passing narrowly outside the far post.

Seconds later Blyth got between Hogan and Pond as he latched onto a long ball over the top, just failing to get in a decent connection as possession fell for him inside the area.

Modest early promise had dissipated a little from Salford’s point of view although they had a genuine cause for grievance over Barrow’s goal. The next body blow came 10 minutes before time as Mafuta stretched into a midfield challenge with Taylor. The foot was up, Taylor’s trailing leg was caught, and the home side scented Ammie blood. The referee dispersed the players gathered around him before producing a red card that seemed inevitable, leaving Salford to play the remaining 55 minutes with 10 men.

Mafuta’s distress was obvious and he’s not the sort of lad to go in to hurt, but you can understand why the red card was shown.

Soon after that incident Green’s challenge on Josh Granite had the home support baying for another red card but this time the contact was obviously minimal, and the referee contented himself with a finger-wagging.

Agustien sent a low 25-yarder just wide of Neal’s left-hand post before half-time and Salford made a tactical substitution, replacing Lloyd with midfielder Liam Nolan.

The home support was, understandably enough, in happy mood as half-time approached but they had a moment of concern late on. An incisive Danny Whitehead pass sent Green into space on a left-of-centre run but as he cut inside along the edge of the area, home defenders crowded him out.

HALF-TIME: BARROW 1 SALFORD CITY 0

Not a classic first-half for Salford and they had to be switched on as the second started. Barrow pushed forward, looking to build on their advantage but were held at arm’s length by a hard-working Ammies defence. The first Barrow chance didn’t arrive until the 53rd minute as John Rooney picked up a right-flank corner before drilling in a rising effort that flashed just outside the far post. Within another minute or so Agustien picked up Dan Jones’ pass inside from the left, but his attempt to curl in a 22-yarder dropped harmlessly outside Neal’s left-hand upright.

Salford were having to get men behind the ball and when Hindle flicked on Rhys Norrington-Davies’ cross from the left, Barthram was a yard away from getting a touch inside the 6-yard box.

The Ammies were struggling a bit when it came to exerting pressure although Wiseman’s lobbed ball forward was nodded down by Green for Hogan. From almost 25-yards out the defender hit the bouncing ball with power but couldn’t keep the shot down.

Back at the other end a spell of Barrow quick passing gave John Rooney a sight of goal only for his 1st attempt to be blocked by Hogan. A second chance presented itself as the ball went loose but this time Rooney could only blast over the bar from 18 yards out.

A quiet start to the second half for Salford in terms of attacking activity yet they grabbed an equaliser in the 59th minute. GREEN did well to win possession wide on the left in an advanced position before tucking a pass back to Touray. The recent signing from Lincoln moved inside to collect the return, pushed the ball forward to make a yard on the tracking Kyle Jameson then hit a 22-yarder that dropped over the dive of Dixon and inside the far post.

A great strike to record his first Salford City goal, and with quality like that in the locker it seems that plenty more will follow.

The Ammies were level and although Barrow continued to have more of the ball their patient build-ups, although neat, bordered on the ponderous for a while. The visiting defence were holding firm and Salford were looking much more assured as the game entered its final quarter.

Hindle had a shot blocked by Hogan and Blyth got his head to Jones’ cross from the left, yet under pressure from Piergianni could only head over. The patient football continued with Hindle nudging a pass to the left for John Rooney, but from inside the area he couldn’t get enough curve on a shot that dropped wide of the far post.

Salford’s attacks were relatively rate but in the 72nd minute Whitehead’s deep free kick from a central position dropped into the right-hand side of the box. Piergianni got up to head down and inside but Granite got in to clear, ahead of Hogan.

It was beginning to look as if neither side would find a way through to goal before the end of the game and home manager Ian Evatt made a couple of substitutions, aiming to freshen up his attacking options.

Otherwise the prevailing pattern was maintained – Barrow stroking the ball around in search of openings and 10-man Salford looking to break forward when the chance was presented.

It was the sort of finely balanced game that needed a flash of quality to spark it back into action, and that was what Agustien provided with 8 minutes left. There seemed to be relatively little danger as substitute Olly Dyson pushed a low pass forward, but Hogan’s challenge on Blyth saw the ball drop for AGUSTIEN on the right. The Curaçaoan international has significant Premier League experience and from 25-yards out he hit a superb angled shot that lifted over Neal and dropped perfectly inside the far post.

There isn’t a great deal you can do when an opponent finds that degree of quality but Salford’s response to it was impressive and effective. The game got back underway and from wide on the right, almost on the halfway line, Hogan lofted a mighty forward ball into the area. Green tussled with Jameson and the ball went loose, rolled intelligently to the left by Nolan. TOURAY had never previously scored for Salford but he kept his composure, taking a touch before rifling a 12-yard left-footer across Dixon and inside the far post.

Dramatic stuff, with little more than a minute passing by between Agustien’s strike and Touray’s leveller. There was more to come, too…

Stung by Touray’s equaliser Barrow immediately went onto the offensive, pressing their opponents back. Agustien stroked a pass to the left for Dyson who took his time before rolling the ball to the edge of the area. Taylor popped up to guide in a low shot but it was too close to Neal and the save was a routine one.

The Ammies now fancied their chances of nicking the win and when Pond’s up-and-under was partially cleared, Touray’s pass to the left found Whitehead in some space. The midfielder got into the box and cut inside Taylor before trying an angled effort that Dixon pushed wide of the far post.

The corner was cleared and although Pond almost managed to keep possession he was yellow-carded for a foul that prevented Taylor from launching a counter attack.

The game entered 4 minutes of time added on and Taylor’s pass inside from the left found Norrington-Davies whose 16-yarder slammed into Pond. The ball fell for Whitehead who set off on a driving run that took him past Agustien and into Barrow half. A pass to Green on the left was moved on to Touray on the overlap, but with red shirts in the centre the cross was over-hit.

Time was running out for either side to find a win although Dyson’s back-heel gave Barthram the chance to hit a shot that was blocked. Agustien picked up possession and rolled a pass back to Dyson whose cross to the far post looked a touch too heavy, eventually rolling out of play. The referee adjudged Wiseman to have got the faintest of headed touches on the ball, awarding a corner to Barrow on their left.

It would prove another key decision and The Ammies have been vulnerable to balls played into the box of late. This one would be a heartbreaks as Norrington-Davies took the corner short, back to Josh Kay whose angled cross was aimed toward the far post. There were red shirts aplenty in and around the 6-yard box but it was BLYTHwho got above Touray to nudge a 5-yard header into the net.

That goal came 40 seconds from the end of added time and Salford manager Alexander was yellow carded for berating the 4th official. The Ammies had been trying to make a substitution for some time before the goal and only the match officials will be able to explain – despite plenty of opportunity – they had not been allowed to do it.

You can’t knock Salford’s spirit and they pushed desperately forward during the second that remained, but it was to no avail. A late corner was cleared at the near post and the referee’s whistle brought the game to an end.

FULL-TIME: BARROW 3 SALFORD CITY 2

Any 10-man side that comes from behind twice probably deserves a share of the spoils and The Ammies very nearly took a point from this game. They coped generally well with their numerical disadvantage, defending well for long spells and looking occasionally dangerous on the break particularly during the final half-hour. Once again though, the frailties that have affected recent performances reared their heads, allowing Barrow to snatch that late winner.

That first-half penalty was a real blow and should not have been awarded. Mafuta’s red card was move avoidable and left the 10 men with a very difficult task. That they almost salvaged something is credit to them and one of the big positives that can be taken from the game.

Four game losing streaks are not good news under any circumstances, but the better teams emerge from such things stronger. The spirit is there for all to see and that must be translated into positive results. What better time to turn the corner than the first day of the new year, against one of our promotion rivals?

Great viewing for those watching BT Sports but the travelling support could have done with seeing one goal less...

Attendance: 2,311 (142 from Salford City

https://salfordcityfc.co.uk