S a l f o r d
C i t y
F o o t b a l l
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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Bradford City
13
Sam Hornby
4
Paudie O'Connor (c)
Yellow card for Paudie O'Connor (c)
6
Anthony O'Connor
8
Callum Cooke
Yellow card for Callum Cooke
15
Charles Vernam

Stevens 84'

17
Gareth Evans
18
Elliot Watt
22
Levi Sutton
23
Connor Wood
Yellow card for Connor Wood
24
Finn Cousin-Dawson
29
Andy Cook

Novak 72'

Salford City FC
1
Vaclav Hladky
3
Ibou Touray
4
Jason Lowe
5
Ash Eastham (c)
10
Ash Hunter

Coutts 56'

12
Di'Shon Bernard
16
Jordan Turnbull
18
Oscar Threlkeld
24
Robbie Gotts
37
Brandon Thomas-Asante
40
Ian Henderson
1 goals for Ian Henderson
Substitutes
1
Richard O'Donnell
9
Lee Novak
10
Clayton Donaldson
12
Jordan Stevens
14
Matty Foulds
25
Jorge Sikora
26
Kian Scales
Substitutes
31
William Evans
6
Tom Clarke
14
George Boyd
15
Luke Burgess
20
Mani Dieseruvwe
25
Paul Coutts
33
Liam Loughlan
Managers
Manager - Mark Trueman
Manager - Conor Sellars
Managers
Manager - Gary Bowyer
Match Officals
Referee - Ross Joyce
Assistant Referee - Richard Woodward
Assistant Referee - Billy Smallwood
Fourth Official - Robert Atkin

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Match
Report

Ian Henderson’s injury time goal did more than secure a 3rd successive league win for the first time since Salford City became an EFL side. It also propelled the Ammies into League Two’s top 7 for the first time since early March, with participation in the end-of-season play-offs now entirely in their own hands. Once again this was a victory built on the prowess of the division’s best goalkeeper and meanest defence – is a 5th promotion in 7 seasons on the cards?

There was a single change to the XI that started Saturday’s win over Mansfield Town as Brandon Thomas-Asante replaced suspended Richie Towell.

This would turn out to be a momentous evening for the Ammies, yet the home side were lively during the opening stages. Charles Vernam’s left-footed effort in the 3rd minute had to be tipped around the post by Salford keeper Václav Hladký.

The Czech keeper was called into action again a few minutes later, this time producing an impressive reaction save to keep out Andy Cook’s goal-bound effort.

A wretched run of recent form had extinguished the Bantams’ own play-off hopes, but there was little initial sign of that malaise. On 13 minutes Callum Cooke’s corner found its way through to Paudie O’Connor who could only head wide of the target.

At the other end a Henderson effort was blocked by Anthony O'Connor and the home side’s spell on top was already coming to an end.

Chances at either end became rare for a while but 9 minutes from time Robbie Gotts was played into some space on the right. The angled shot that followed was decent, but not good enough to beat home keeper Sam Hornby.

In the 43rd minute Thomas-Asante jinked inside before unleashing a shot that flashed wide of the upright.

HALF-TIME: BRADFORD CITY 0 SALFORD CITY 0

Not much between the teams at the break, although Salford had perhaps finished the stronger of the two sides.
With rain continuing to fall steadily, it was the Ammies who started the second half on the front foot. A Thomas-Asante volley flew over the bar in the 51st minute and soon after that Gotts' free-kick caused anxious moments for the home defence before the ball was put behind for a corner.

Gary Bowyer – returning to one of his previous managerial haunts – replaced Ash Hunter with Paul Coutts in the 55th minute.

Salford continued to press, and Gotts did well to turn inside the area only for his shot to take a defensive deflection on its way through to Hornby. The Leeds United loanee was having a good game and midway through the half a teasing free-kick needed only a slight touch to be converted – but didn’t get it.

The Ammies needed a goal, but despite dominating since the break they weren’t yet forcing Hornby into serious action. Thomas-Asante used a combination of strength and footwork to find a yard in the box, but his shot was deflected wide for a corner.

The Bantams hadn’t contributed too much in the way of attacking action, yet could – and probably should – have taken a 78th minute lead. Vernam did well to pull a low ball back into the box and although substitute Lee Novak missed it, Callum Cooke got there to slam a shot wide of the target.

Close for Bradford, and time was running out for the visitors to grab the goal they needed.

With 7 minutes left home defender O’Connor did tremendously well to clear a Henderson shot off the line, but the offside flag had gone up in any case.

A draw would not have marked the end of Salford’s play-off dreams by any means, yet a win would give their ambitions a major boost. Defender Jordan Turnbull recorded his first goal for the club recently but with 3 minutes left could only plant a header straight at Hornby. Soon after that a quickly taken Thomas-Asante free-kick almost played Henderson into space and his shot was on target until O'Connor produced a fantastic headed clearance.

It was looking as if the game would end in a goalless draw, but there seems to be something inexorable about Salford’s progress at the moment. We were already in the 1st minute of time added on when Turnbull’s through-ball was picked up by HENDERSON and he recorded his 18th goal of the season courtesy of a clipped finish that rose clear of Hornby before dropping into the net. There was a suspicion of offside that the replays might clear up, but frankly - who cares?

Just what that goal meant to the Ammies was encapsulated by the joyous celebrations, and it could yet have a huge effect on the outcome of their campaign.

Bradford couldn’t summon a response during the few minutes that remained and a third successive win – and clean sheet – had been secured.

FULL-TIME: BRADFORD CITY 0 SALFORD CITY 1

A big, big - and late, late win for Salford City leaving the play-off ball now firmly in their court. Just a few weeks ago it seemed that the promotion push might be fading, but 5 wins from the last 7 outings have transformed the campaign.

Forest Green Rovers’ defeat at home to Barrow this evening secured the Bluebirds’ survival, as well as providing a vital opening for the Ammies to force a way into the top 7. Even so, the job is not yet complete.

Saturday’s trip to Colchester United – now safe from relegation, barring a mathematical turnaround of improbable proportions – is an opportunity to cement a play-off berth, but concentration must be maintained. In what has been a tight division, virtually anybody can beat anybody else, and the Essex side will fancy rubber-stamping their survival in style.

On paper Salford have more chance of points than their play-off rivals and by the time Leyton Orient visit the Peninsula Stadium for the final game of the regular season, that job could be done and dusted…

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