S a l f o r d
C i t y
F o o t b a l l
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Team Sheet

Boreham Wood
1
Ryan Huddart
3
Femi Ilesanmi
4
Mark Ricketts (c)
6
David Stephens

Parry '44

7
Ricky Shakes
8
Tom Champion
9
Ralston Gabriel
1 goals for Ralston Gabriel
10
Kieran Murtagh
1 goals for Kieran Murtagh Yellow card for Kieran Murtagh
12
Jamal Fyfield
19
Kane Smith

Kanu '85

20
Justin Shaibu

Ash '75

Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
4
Gus Mafuta
1 goals for Gus Mafuta
5
Liam Hogan (c)
1 goals for Liam Hogan (c)
6
Carl Piergianni
1 goals for Carl Piergianni Yellow card for Carl Piergianni

Gaffney 75'

9
Adam Rooney

Whitehead '64

15
Devonte Redmond
Yellow card for Devonte Redmond

Whitehead '64

20
Mani Dieseruvwe

Green '75

23
Nathan Pond

Gaffney '75

24
Amine Linganzi
Substitutes
21
George Legg
5
Manny Parry
11
Bradley Ash
15
Charlie Cooper
16
Idris Kanu
Substitutes
12
Max Crocombe
7
Matt Green
1 goals for Matt Green
11
Tom Walker
18
Danny Whitehead
30
Rory Gaffney
1 goals for Rory Gaffney
Managers
Manager - Luke Garrard
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Match Officals
Referee - Richard Hulme
Assistant Referee - Dan Bonneywell
Assistant Referee - Craig Simpson
Fourth Official - Andreas Anastasiou

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Match
Report

Matt Green’s dramatic late strike snatched victory for Salford City and kept hopes of automatic promotion well and truly alive. The Ammies had established a two-goal lead during the first half at Meadow Park but were pegged back by a determined Boreham Wood side. With Orient and Solihull both ahead in their games it seemed as if Salford City were play-off bound until Greens winner, scored with ninety seconds of regular time remaining.

There was one change from the line-up that has served so well over the past month or two. Amine Linganzi had to be drafted into the three-man midfield as Lois Maynard struggled to overcome a suspected case of food poisoning.

The travelling support were basking in Easter weekend sunshine as the game got underway and they would make their voices heard all afternoon. There would soon be something to shout about too, as Salford grabbed a seventh minute lead. Devonte Redmond hoisted in a corner from the left and CARL PIERGIANNI met it at the far post, guiding a close-range header into the top corner. A tenth goal of the season for Salford’s talismanic defender and the Ammies were on their way…

A great start on a crucial afternoon and another composed performance seemed to be on the cards as Wood struggled to find any attacking rhythm against the division’s meanest defence. By the time Nathan Pond and home midfielder Mark Ricketts collided painfully just past the quarter-hour mark, the goal had been the only real incident of note.

Both players recovered sufficiently to continue and just before the mid-point of the half Salford extended their lead. Ibou Touray was the architect, finding space on the left to deliver a cross that was headed firmly past Ryan Huddart by LIAM HOGAN.

Not for the first time this campaign defence had proven to be the best form of attack for Salford and they appeared to be firmly in control of the game.

Up until going two down Boreham Wood had contributed little to the game as a spectacle but they were handed a lifeline in the twenty-sixth minute. Kane Smith made ground on the right and from his ball inside Justin Shaibu hammered in a low shot that Chris Neal saved well. Salford didn’t manage to complete a clearance and as Pond tussled for possession the referee had a look before pointing at the spot. The highlights should shed more light on what seemed to be a soft decision yet there could be no doubt over the outcome as RALSTON GABRIEL placed a low finish into Neal’s bottom right-hand corner, with the keeper committed the other way.

A setback for Salford after they had appeared comfortable, and indeed apart from the three goals there had been little else to report.

The Ammies looked to restore that two-goal cushion and Kieran Murtagh was booked for tugging back a breaking Adam Rooney. Two minutes later Dave Stephens appeared to barge Gus Mafuta in the area only for the referee to ignore appeals for the penalty count to be levelled up.

Boreham Wood were, understandably enough, encouraged after trimming Salford’s lead and could have had an equaliser eight minutes before half-time. Murtagh’s free-kick from wide on the left dropped beyond the far post where the unattended Jamal Fyfield could only head wide of the post from a tight-ish angle.

A warning for Graham Alexander’s side yet they were almost caught out again a few minutes later. Mafuta had his pocket picked inside the Salford box only for Smith to hit a stinging low eighteen-yarder straight at Neal.

Manny Parry replaced injured defender Stephens in a like-for-like switch before half-tine, then Redmond was booked for a challenge on Smith. There were five minutes of time to be added on, but they passed without a scare at either end and Salford took their single-goal lead into the break.

HALF-TIME: BOREHAM WOOD 1 SALFORD CITY 2

The first-half had started well from Salford’s perspective although Boreham Wood had finished the stronger of the two teams. Wood continued their improvement after the interval and after Neal punched clear, Pond had to hack away from almost on the line after the ball was played back in.

Hogan was called into defensive action in the fifty-fourth minute, heading away a well-struck shot from Ricky Gabriel. Soon after that Murtagh tried his luck with a free-kick from wide on the right, but the ball didn’t dip enough to test Neal.

Modest opportunities for Wood but the balance of the game had tipped in their favour, with Salford struggling to put together anything like a dangerous attacking move. Piergianni picked up a booking for a foul and after back-to-back Boreham corners Fyfield’s lofted effort from distance on the right dropped beyond the far post.

Danny Whitehead came on for Redmond on sixty-four minutes, but it was still Boreham Wood who were asking most of the questions. Soon after that substitution Femi Ilesanmi cut inside from the left, past a challenge before poking a low shot into the side-netting. The left-back was frustrated by his failure to hit the target but wouldn’t have to wait long for his side to equalise.

A lobbed ball into the Salford box fell for Ricky Shakes on the left and he poked a low pass inside. MURTAGH had a little time and space, using it well as he placed a low twelve-yard finish between Neal and his left-hand upright.

A first-goal conceded from open play in almost fifteen hours of football, but it couldn’t have come at a worse time. With scores elsewhere taken into consideration Salford City were now in third position, four points adrift of Leyton Orient. Hopes of automatic promotion were at stake and we had just less than twenty minutes left to revive them.

Mani Dieseruvwe and Pond were withdrawn in favour of Matt Green & Rory Gaffney - the chase for a winner was on. Gaffney almost made an immediate impact, whipping in a left-footed cross from deep on the right, with the ball dropping just over Rooney’s head inside the area. The former Bristol Rover repeated that delivery within sixty seconds but this time Green could only push a low first-time ten-yarder wide of Huddart’s left-hand post.

Better from Salford, but they desperately needed a third goal and the hosts were in no mood to capitulate having hauled themselves back from two down. The seconds were steadily ticking away, with the prospect of two discarded points drawing worryingly near. In the eight-ninth minute a chance did present itself, but it went Wood’s way as Shakes’ flashed a low twenty-yarder wide of Neal’s right-hand upright.

The Ammies launched a counter immediately as Touray got into space on the edge of the box, with a defensive challenge pushing the ball to Rooney. Another Boreham Wood foot knocked the ball back out and this time GREEN picked it up. There was a sight of goal and the former Lincoln man struck, slamming in a low effort that gave the keeper no chance as it nestled into he net. The mood behind the goal had been sombre for a while but a suitable eruption of joy followed Green’s fourth of the season. To be fair it hadn’t looked likely to come, but with less than two minutes of the ninety to play, Salford were ahead and back in the automatic promotion hunt.

The referee indicated a full five minutes of time to be added on, but Salford had their winner and were not going to let the points slip away. In the last of those five Mafuta slipped past Ilesanmi from the right corner flag position before nudging the ball towards Rooney at the near post. Tom Champion anticipated the danger, getting in to concede a corner, but it didn’t matter. The referee’s whistle ushered in a mixture of joy and relief among the away supporters – it could have ended much differently but these are the moments we remember, and why we come back week after week.

FULL-TIME: BOREHAM WOOD 2 SALFORD CITY 3

There isn’t a lot to add as we all know the score now. Orient won, Solihull won and those two sides square up on Easter Monday in the season’s penultimate round of regular fixtures. Should Moors and Salford record wins, The Ammies will travel up to Hartlepool next Saturday in charge of their own destiny – any other combination leaves our chances in the laps of the Football Gods.

In truth, this wasn’t the best of Salford City’s recent performances. Two first half goals perked up an otherwise quiet game and after Boreham Wood woke up to find a way back into contention, things got a little nervous. The Ammies had “one of those halves” after the interval, but despite the body blow of Murtagh’s equaliser, found enough will and spirit to snatch a winner at the death. You know what football lore says about teams who can win without playing well…

We move on to Monday. Will Green’s goal be the pivotal moment of the National League promotion race? We shall see…

Attendance: 854 (163 Salford City)

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