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

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Team Sheet

Braintree Town
21
Ben Killip
4
Andrew Eleftheriou
9
Korrey Henry

I. Allen '74

10
Courtney Richards
11
Sam Kelly
16
Kodi Lyons-Foster
24
Callum Morton
1 goals for Callum Morton
26
Ricky Gabriel
28
Cameron James
29
Rob Atkinson
1 goals for Rob Atkinson
30
Justin Amaluzor
Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman
Yellow card for Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
5
Liam Hogan (c)
Yellow card for Liam Hogan (c)

Walker '60

6
Carl Piergianni
7
Matt Green
16
Joe Muscatt

Dieseruvwe '72

18
Danny Whitehead
Yellow card for Danny Whitehead
22
Dennis Politic

Lloyd '72

23
Nathan Pond
Yellow card for Nathan Pond
30
Rory Gaffney
Substitutes
5
Oscar Borg
7
Luke Allen
25
Dan Matsuzaka
27
Mo Sagaf
35
Ifeanyi Allen
Substitutes
12
Max Crocombe
10
Danny Lloyd
11
Tom Walker
20
Mani Dieseruvwe
24
Amine Linganzi
Managers
Manager - Danny Searle
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Match Officals
Referee - Paul Howard
Assistant Referee - Scott Williams
Assistant Referee - Joseph Stokes
Fourth Official - Michael Robertson-Tant

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Match
Report

Braintree Town were denied a win at The Peninsula Stadium by a late goal back in October, but a last-gasp effort of their own secured victory this afternoon. Bottom of the table they may be, but the Irons grafted hard all afternoon and Danny Searle’s men will feel that they deserved Callum Morton’s late winner after looking the more purposeful side for a significant proportion of the game. For Graham Alexander one defeat doesn’t kill a season of course, but that superb win at Leyton Orient seems far, far longer than a month ago now.

Only 3 of the 11 that started Tuesday’s FA Trophy tie on Tuesday began this afternoon’s match – Liam Hogan, Joe Muscatt & Dennis Politic. The Ammies adopted the recently familiar formation of 3 at the back, a couple of wing-backs around a midfield trio with a 2-man strikeforce.

On a blustery day at Cressing Road it was Braintree who made the first attacking impression. Cameron James picked up possession after an early corner was cleared, and although his first touch into the box was good, his second lifted the ball high over the crossbar. The Irons were looking lively and Morton beat Ibou Touray to a clearance on halfway before moving the ball to the left for Sam Kelly. The recent signing advanced before squaring back inside but Morton couldn’t get the bouncing ball under control, allowing Chris Neal to mop up the danger.

A promising start for the division’s basement side and they would continue to belie their lowly position throughout the 90 minutes. Salford would look occasionally dangerous themselves and could have gone ahead as early as the 5th minute. A throw-in on the right released Politic who got to the line before clipping a cross into the middle. Rory Gaffney's header was cleared, allowing Matt Green to pounce as he directed a low effort back towards goal. Fortunately for Braintree Ricky Gabriel was on hand to hack the ball away from almost on the line and just inside the keeper’s left-hand post. The clearance dropped nicely for Carl Piergianni whose well-struck first-time effort was held by Ben Killip in the home goal.

Soon after that Politic delivered a corner from the left, with skipper Hogan rising high to get in a header that was blocked.

It seemed as if Salford were establishing a degree of dominance and just before the quarter-hour Nathan Pond’s nicely weighted pass played Touray into space on the left. The low cross that followed was whipped in, with Green just failing to get a near-post touch and Rob Atkinson clearing from right in front of his own goal.

Something for the 100 or so travelling supporters to get excited about, but The Ammies didn’t really maintain their grip on the game. In the 25th minute Politic had a shot blocked and when Danny Whitehead threaded the loose ball into the left-hand side of the box, Gaffney couldn’t quite get onto the end of it.

Joe Muscatt was the next to try his luck after a Green effort was blocked but couldn’t keep his shot from distance down.

Possession-wise the game had evened out again, with clear-cut chances relatively thin on the ground. For Salford a Politic free-kick from wide on the left found Piergianni towards the far post only for his downwards header to be claimed by Killip.

The Irons had been quiet for a while but started to press forward as the 1st half drew to its close. Ten minutes before the interval Kelly advanced on the left before hitting a 22-yard angled effort that deflected off a defender and wide of the far post. The corner came to nothing, but it wasn’t long before Braintree were back on the offensive. Pond’s header fell for Korrey Henry on the left and he made a yard before slamming in an effort that Neal blocked at his near post.

Two long-range efforts from Kelly saw out the 1st half action. The first, hit from 30 yards out drifted well wide of Neal’s left-hand post and the second, a free-kick from even greater range, dropped harmlessly over the bar.

HALF-TIME: BRAINTREE TOWN 0 SALFORD CITY 0

Not a great 1st half from Salford’s point of view but they almost snatched the lead within 2 minutes of the restart. A lofted cross into the Braintree penalty area wasn’t dealt with and the ball spun off a defender and hit the face of the crossbar before dropping back into play to be hastily cleared.

Close for The Ammies and they carved out another decent opportunity in the 51st minute. A sublime Whitehead pass into the left-hand side of the area gave Gaffney a sight of goal but his firmly struck angled effort was blocked at the near post by Killip.

Again though, Salford failed to stamp their authority on the game, with too many passes going astray and too many crosses proving easy for the home defence. Once more Braintree played themselves right back into the match and went close to breaking the deadlock just before the hour. Justin Amaluzar’s pass sent Morton scampering into space on the right and there was a big penalty shout when Henry went down under pressure at the near post. The referee allowed play to continue but the danger hadn’t passed as the ball rolled on to find Kelly on the left-hand side of the box. This was a certainly a shooting chance, but the Braintree debutant seemed caught in two minds and succeeded only in delivering a low ball into the middle that was cleared.

With little attacking penetration from his side Graham Alexander made a tactical substitution in the 61st minute, replacing Hogan with Tom Walker and moving to 4-4-2 formation. The change almost paid a quick dividend as Walker slid a pass through the inside-right channel for Green, whose 1st touch wasn’t the best. Two Braintree defenders got across to close him down and when the shot came on it was deflected behind for a corner. Politic swung the set-piece in from the right, with Piergianni getting up beyond the far post to power in a header that dropped just over the crossbar.

Better from The Ammies but again they couldn’t exert consistent pressure on the home goal and soon had defending of their own to do. First Kelly’s pass into the box, left-of-centre, gave Morton a chance to shoot. Piergianni had anticipated well, sliding in to make an effective block but Salford’s lines were not cleared. Possession fell for Henry, left-of-centre and 15 yards out but he was denied a debut goal as Neal spread himself to deflect the shot wide of his left-hand upright for a corner.

That set-piece led to a thrown-in on the right and Green, back helping his defence, glanced it clear. The ball fell temptingly for James who snatched at the chance, lifting his 20-yarder high over the crossbar.

It was looking more and more like the first goal would claim the points and Salford had a chance to score it 19 minutes from the end. A free-kick from the right dropped to the far post where Gaffney nodded back inside. Green got on the end of it but was under defensive pressure and could only prod in a low effort that was saved by Killip.

The Ammies made 2 more substitutions after that, introducing Mani Dieseruvwe and Danny Lloyd for Muscatt & Politic. Attacking changes, but the carelessness that had marked Salford’s afternoon persisted, with simple passes not finding their man and balls into the box too easy for the Irons’ defence.

There was an odd exception to that rule and in the 77th minute Walker’s pass found Dieseruvwe inside the box and he tucked the ball back for Whitehead. A dart to the left opened up some space for the midfielder and he curled a shot that passed just outside Killip’s right-hand angle of post and bar.

A couple of minutes later Whitehead’s challenge on Kelly earned a yellow card and James collected possession after the free-kick was cleared. The Braintree man’s sights hadn’t quite been in so far but this time he curled in a 25-yarder that was on target for the top corner until Neal flung himself to the left, touching the ball behind for a corner. The delivery came in and Courtney Richards got in a low shot that was blocked by Walker.

The final 10 minutes saw the game open up a bit as both sides looked for a winner. For Salford a Walker corner from the left was glanced on, falling for Gaffney whose off-balance shot went well wide. At the other end James had a shot blocked and was fouled as he scooped a follow-up effort over the bar. A free-kick was awarded, dead centre and just outside the box but Kelly could only crash his shot into the defensive wall.

The Ammies pushed forward as time ran out and Walker got past his man before striking an effort that was deflected wide. The whistle had already gone for a foul on the Salford winger and he lined up the right-of-centre 22-yard free-kick himself. It wasn’t a bad effort either, beating the wall yet not quite dipping enough as it dropped over the bar.

That came during the 1st minute of 3 added on and it looked as if Salford might well have to settle for a single point. In the event they wouldn’t even take that reward from the game, conceding a goal from just about its final meaningful kick. In the last minute of those 3 Scott Wiseman was booked for a foul on Richards, wide on Braintree’s left. The Salford man seemed convinced that no infringement had occurred but free-kick it was, lofted in by Kelly towards the far post. The ball wasn’t cleared, a shout went up for hands but the ball dropped out of a scramble for MORTON, positioned towards the keeper’s right-hand post and he made no mistake from close range.

There was time for nothing more and Salford’s players were left heads-in-hands at the final whistle as their opponents celebrated.

FULL-TIME: BRAINTREE TOWN 1 SALFORD CITY 0

Not good enough, of course, and nobody will be more aware of that than manager Alexander and his players. With the top-end of the table increasingly tight this was a real chance to get valuable points on the board against a struggling side. Once again though, Braintree Town proved to be no pushovers and The Ammies find themselves in 5th place.

That’s not as bleak as it sounds – only 4 points separate those 5 teams - but with just 2 wins from the last 9 National League games a sharp upturn in form is required sooner rather than later.

A sober inspection of this game’s statistics suggest that The Ammies didn’t deserve to lose but they certainly didn't come close to their best form. This was a performance littered by mistakes and against determined but modest opposition, defeat has to be considered a hugely disappointing outcome.

Next Saturday Dover Athletic make the long trip to Salford and they must make the return journey empty-handed. It won't be easy against a recently rejuvenated side of course but the business end of the season is well and truly here and games have to be won...

Attendance: 765 (83 from Salford)

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