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

Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Cambridge United
1
Dimitar Mitov
2
Kyle Knoyle
3
Jack Iredale
1 goals for Jack Iredale

Mullin 70'

5
Greg Taylor (c)
6
Harry Darling
7
Luke Hannant
11
Harrison Dunk
14
Wes Hoolahan
16
Robbie Cundy
20
Joe Ironside
1 goals for Joe Ironside

Knibbs 77'

44
Hiram Boateng
Salford City FC
1
Vaclav Hladky
3
Ibou Touray
4
Jason Lowe
5
Ash Eastham (c)
1 goals for Ash Eastham (c)
6
Tom Clarke
10
Ash Hunter
Yellow card for Ash Hunter
16
Jordan Turnbull
18
Oscar Threlkeld

Burgess 83'

19
James Wilson
37
Brandon Thomas-Asante

Boyd 70'

40
Ian Henderson

Andrade 77'

Substitutes
25
Callum Burton (GK)
9
Andrew Dallas
10
Paul Mullin
17
Leon Davies
18
Idris El Mizouni
23
Tom Knowles
26
Harvey Knibbs
Substitutes
31
William Evans
7
Luke Armstrong
11
Bruno Andrade
12
Di'Shon Bernard
14
George Boyd
15
Luke Burgess
24
Martin Smith
Managers
Head Coach - Mark Bonner
Managers
Interim Head Coach - Paul Scholes
Match Officals
Referee - Declan Bourne
Assistant Referee - Stephen Finch
Assistant Referee - Adrian Tranter
Fourth Official - Ryan Whitaker

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Match
Report

A frustrating evening at the Abbey Stadium as home side Cambridge United came from behind to win 2-1. The Ammies dominated possession, had more chances on goal and played the better football, yet after going behind in the 50th minute were not able to get back on level terms.

An unchanged XI for the fourth game in a row, but there was a change on the bench as new signing George Boyd replaced Joey Jones.

Salford have developed an agreeable habit of starting away games quite well, and on a cold night in Cambridge they were soon looking for goals. As early as the 2nd minute Oscar Threlkeld passed inside from the right, allowing James Wilson to advance. Despite scoring in 5 consecutive home games, the former Manchester United man awaits his first goal away from The Peninsula Stadium. He fancied his chances here, but the low shot from distance bobbled wide of Dimitar Mitov’s left-hand upright.

The encouraging start continued and within another minute Ibou Touray pushed forward into space on the left before threading a low ball towards the near post. Ash Hunter got a touch but could only direct his effort into the side-netting.

Cambridge started this game in 2nd place and were soon looking to join in the attacking action. The home side knocked the ball around well for a while, only to find Salford’s defence in an uncompromising mood. In the 14th minute Hiram Boateng played a one-two with Jack Iredale on the left before seeing his 15-yarder blocked by the alert Jason Lowe.

That would be the sole moment of threat from Cambridge’s spell of possession and the balance of the game began to tip heavily in Salford’s favour. Hunter’s ball to the right found Brandon Thomas-Asante whose clever first-time pass picked out Ian Henderson inside the area. The experienced front man was lining up a shot until a defender got in to nudge the ball out for a corner. Hunter’s delivery from the right dropped beyond the far post where Henderson tried a lob that was caught by Mitrov.

The Ammies were looking neat in possession, displaying patience in their attempts to find a way past United’s defence. In the 24th minute Tom Clarke played a good ball up the right touchline, and Henderson’s angled run took him into the penalty area. An unselfish left-footed pass inside was tucked back by Wilson for Hunter to drill a low 16-yarder just wide of Mitrov’s right-hand post.

A very presentable opportunity, and Hunter turned creator next as he lofted a cross from a deep position on the left towards the far post. Henderson was arriving, only to be thwarted as a defender got up to flick the ball out for a corner.

There was a half-chance on 26 minutes after Threlkeld crossed from the right, with Henderson knocking down inside the box. Clarke was off-balance as he swung at the ball, with Cambridge’s defence managing to smother the danger.

The Ammies were knocking on the door and it came as little surprise when they took a 31st minute lead. Clarke rose high to glance on Hunter’s corner from the right, with the ball falling to the far post. The ball seemed to be dropping for Henderson but ASH EASTHAM arrived to clip a 4-yard left-footer past Mitrov, with the skipper recording his first ever Salford City goal.

A first Salford goal for the skipper, and it was no more than his side deserved following an enterprising half-hour.

Cambridge looked to respond quickly and within a minute or so Joe Ironside teed up Luke Hannant for a mishit shot that didn’t make it out of play for a goal kick. Otherwise, The Ammies were looking composed and were soon looking for the 2nd goal that would give them a decent half-time cushion.

Hunter did tremendously well to win possession in midfield, then regain his feet In time to turn and head towards the home penalty area. A pass to the right was touched on by Threlkeld for Clarke to hit a low ball into the area. Thomas-Asante was on the end of it, smashing in a rasping, angled drive that took a deflection on its way just outside the far post.

At the other end Boateng had a shot charged down, but it was Salford who remained on top. Five minutes before the interval the busy Hunter nicked possession away from Greg Taylor on halfway before scampering forward through the inside-left channel. After making it into the box he played a low diagonal ball towards the far post, with the sliding Wilson just failing to make contact. Mitrov was anticipating a touch from the Salford striker and from a grounded position could only push the ball away to his left. Thomas-Asante was on hand and must have seen his first goal of the season beckoning before seeing a powerful angled effort come back off Mitrov.

That could have been 2-0 but having dominated the half and restricted their opponents to a couple of half-chances, Salford were pegged back in the 43rd minute. A tussle for the ball inside Salford’s half went the way of the U’s, as Wes Hoolahan emerged in possession. A left-footed pass to the left was perfect for IREDALE to collect and he cut into the box before driving in a 15-yard effort from the left that beat Václav Hladký’ its way inside far post. The Salford keeper has been in superb form all season, and although Iredale’s effort was well hit, he might just feel that he could have done better with it.

HALF-TIME: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1 SALFORD CITY 1

The mood in Salford’s changing room must have been one of disappointment at going in level, but there was more frustration to come early in the second half.

The home side restarted in brisk fashion, winning an early free-kick and corner as they put Salford under pressure. In the 49th minute Iredale picked up possession left of centre, inside the visitors’ half before skipping away from Jordan Turnbull. The Cambridge man weaved his way into the area through the middle but seemed to be heading into a wall of red shirts when he was clipped from behind by the retreating Turnbull. A penalty was awarded and IRONSIDE finished in conclusive fashion from 12 yards, smashing a low shot just inside Hladký’s right-hand post with the keeper committing himself the other way.

Something of a dramatic turnaround in fortune, and the Ammies must have been wondering how they were behind, based on the pattern of the game so far.
Behind they were though, and Paul Scholes’ side spent the next 5 minutes or so hogging possession almost entirely and playing some neat football inside the Cambridge half. The territorial domination continued but it took until the 62nd minute for the visitors to muster an effort on goal. Hunter’s pass to the left released Touray who advanced a little before crossing to the near post. A Cambridge head got the ball away, but only as far as Lowe, on the edge of the area. The shot that followed was badly sliced, eventually rolling out of play on the right for a Cambridge throw.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the game had turned into a large-scale version of attack and defence, and fair to add that the defence was on top. Cambridge were getting bodies behind the ball, allowing Salford possession but slamming the door shut when they got too close to Mitrov’s goal.

Heaven knows what the possession statistics looked like for the third quarter of the game, but the all-important one showed Cambridge United a goal ahead. With 20 minutes left Boyd came on for Thomas-Asante, with the former Peterborough man doubtless hoping to strike a blow against his former club’s arch-rivals.

At the same time Mark Bonner had introduced Paul Mullin into the action and Cambridge’s first real chance since the penalty fell to League Two’s current top scorer. A ball played into the penalty area on the right found the former Tranmere striker, and he managed to muscle away the close attention of Turnbull. The angle was tight and Mullin was off balance as he prodded in a low effort that Turnbull intercepted and then cleared.

A modest opportunity worth mentioning only because it’d been a while since either side carved out a more clear cut one. It took only a minute for the next to arrive though and the Ammies very nearly grabbed an equaliser from it. Touray did well, wide on the left, playing a low ball into the area. Wilson did well too, nipping in front of a defender to collect the pass before darting to the line. A low cross to the near post flicked off Mitrov, dropping just beyond the far stick where Clarke dived in to head the ball back across the face of goal. Any sort of contact along the way would surely have been decisive, but there was no red shirt close enough and the ball fell back into the grateful arms of Mitrov.

It was turning into that sort of an evening for the Ammies and with 13 minutes to play Bruno Andrade came on for Henderson.

By this stage though, Salford’s share of possession was waning a little and Cambridge were showing little inclination to give up their precious lead. The frustration began to show, and Hunter was booked with 6 minutes left for a petulant challenge on Cambridge substitute Harvey Knibbs.

Time was running out and there were only 2 minutes left when Wilson made it to the left-hand angle of the box. There were options available but Wilson opted to have a go, succeeding only in directing a relatively tame effort at Mitrov, positioned at the near post.

The game had entered the 1st of 4 added on minutes when Andrade played a short free kick out to the left. Hunter hoisted a right-footed ball into the box, with Turnbull getting up 8 yards out to flick in a header that dropped just outside Mitrov’s left-hand post.

Lowe picked up a yellow card late on and the final chance of the night fell to Cambridge United. The Ammies needed to retain possession and tried to play the ball out of defence. Hoolahan closed down Eastham whose hasty attempt to clear looped up off the Cambridge man, dropping into the area. Knibbs was onto it, but as defensive cover closed in could only poke an effort wide of Hladký’s right-hand post.

That was that, and Salford were left to start the long journey home empty-handed.

FULL-TIME: CAMBRIDGE UNITED 2 SALFORD CITY 1

It’s harsh on Salford City that they took no reward from a game that had, at times, promised to deliver so much more. The Ammies were on top for large stretches of this one, and particularly during the first half could have added another goal or two.

Cambridge’s equaliser just before half-time came somewhat out of the blue, and the penalty capped one of the home side’s few – and brief - periods of domination.

Of concern must be the overwhelming advantage in terms of possession and territory during the second half, with home keeper Mitrov not forced into a save of any real note. Credit is due to Cambridge for an organised, hardworking defensive performance – already this season they have proven resistant to the idea of conceding goals.

With rumours of a new manager's appointment growing, the Ammies can now concentrate on cup and trophy action for a while. On Saturday Hartlepool United provide Peninsula Stadium opposition in The FA Cup before Salford make the short hop to Spotland on Tuesday for their final EFL Trophy group stage game. The next league game is a biggie, and another competitive fixture that would have been virtually unthinkable a few years back as we travel to Bolton Wanderers on Friday 13th.

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