S a l f o r d
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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Colchester United
Shamal George
Miles Welch-Hayes
Tommy Smith (c)
Noah Chilvers

Bohui 62'

Tom Eastman
Ryan Clampin
Brendan Wiredu
Yellow card for Brendan Wiredu

Lapslie 73'

Kwame Poku
Ben Stevenson
Michael Folivi
Frank Nouble
Salford City FC
Vaclav Hladky
Ibou Touray
Jason Lowe
Ash Eastham (c)
Yellow card for Ash Eastham (c)
Di'Shon Bernard
Red card for Di'Shon Bernard Yellow card for Di'Shon Bernard Yellow card for Di'Shon Bernard
Jordan Turnbull
Yellow card for Jordan Turnbull
Oscar Threlkeld
Yellow card for Oscar Threlkeld
Robbie Gotts

Hunter 85'

Paul Coutts

Clarke 53'

Brandon Thomas-Asante

Boyd 58'

Ian Henderson
Dean Gerken
Tom Lapslie
Omar Sowunmi
Courtney Senior
Jevani Brown
Josh Bohui
1 goals for Josh Bohui
Junior Tchamadeu
William Evans
Tom Clarke
Ash Hunter
Red card for Ash Hunter
George Boyd
Luke Burgess
Mani Dieseruvwe
Liam Loughlan
Head Coach - Hayden Mullins
Manager - Gary Bowyer
Match Officals
Referee - Leigh Doughty
Assistant Referee - Adam Crysell
Assistant Referee - Mark Jones
Fourth Official - Michael George

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An afternoon when pretty much everything that could go wrong for Salford City did so. Di’Shon Bernard picked up a second yellow card well before half time, with Hunter joining him for an early-ish bath after been shown a straight red 5 minutes into time added on. After working tremendously hard to haul themselves into the play-off spots, the Ammies looked a little subdued for most of this game, failing to test the Colchester keeper even before Bernard’s dismissal. With one league fixture to play, the requirements are clear – Gary Bowyer’s side must beat Leyton Orient next Saturday and hope that both Forest Green Rovers and Exeter City fail to pick up 3 points.

Just one change from the eleven that started the midweek win at Bradford City as Fleetwood Town loanee Paul Coutts stepped in for Ash Hunter.

Technically Colchester United required a point to secure their EFL status, but in reality a much better goal difference than Southend United made them effectively safe. For Salford, a win – with favourable results elsewhere – might secure a play-off spot.

Plenty to play for then, but this was a game that would never quite ignite – at least, not in the footballing sense. The opening exchanges were brisk, without producing any real scares for the respective keepers.

In the 9th minute Kwame Poku found space to advance into Salford’s area on the right, only for Oscar Threlkeld to get across in time to block the cross out for a corner. Noah Chilvers delivered the set-piece from the right, with the ball bouncing once before reaching the centrally positioned Tom Eastman. The big defender was unmarked, 7 yards out, but had to crouch a little to get in a header that dropped outside the far post.

There was a 3-minute break in play for Salford striker Ian Henderson to receive treatment for a hand injury, but he was able to continue with a bandaged finger. In the 15th minute visiting defender Bernard was yellow-carded for a foul and ramifications would not take long to materialise.

The game developed into a tight affair, with Salford playing some neat possession football without managing to carry it into the final third. The U’s looked lively at times yet attempts to create chances were generally snuffed out by that mean Ammie defence.

The first shot on target arrived in the 24th minute and went the way of Colchester United. Michael Folivi stroked a forward pass into the left-hand side of the area where Frank Nouble found himself in quite a bit of space. The low, angled 15-yarder that followed was well struck, but Václav Hladký had positioned himself well to drop and make a good holding save.

A decent opportunity for the home side, with Hladký pressed into action again on the half-hour as he punched away Folivi’s lofted cross from the left.

Colchester’s chances of taking the point they need to banish any niggling fears of an unlikely relegation were given a boost in the 32nd minute. Chilvers looked set to burst past Bernard on the left, only to be balked by the Salford defender. The referee strode over, reaching for his pocket and despite neither offence being particularly serious, the United loanee was show a second yellow card.

Jason Lowe dropped into the right-back position for the rest of half that produced only one more sniff of a chance. Brandon Thomas-Asante did well, right of centre and in a deep position, slotting a low pass into the right-hand side of the box. Henderson set off in chase, only for rapidly advancing home keeper Shamal George to get their first.


With Forest Green Rovers drawing and Exeter City losing, the Ammies were still in 7th position as the second half got underway.

As might be expected the 11 men saw more of the ball after the restart, although Salford’s defence was holding firm. In the 53rd minute Tom Clarke came on for Coutts, slotting into the right-back berth and allowing Lowe to push back into midfield. Five largely eventless minutes later Thomas-Asante made way for George Boyd - a change that came ever so close to paying relatively quick dividends.

After just 3 minutes on the field Boyd rolled back the years to produce a little bit of Premier League quality. The former Scotland international picked Henderson's pass just inside the U's half before slipping past Eastman. The deftest of touches left Tommy Smith on the turf and the way to goal had opened up. Exquisite skill from the a player who was plying his trade in the top-flight 4 years ago, but with Ryan Clampin closing him down he was forced to snatch at a 24-yard left that rolled wide of George's left-hand post.

Colchester manager Hayden Mullins made a change of his own after that, replacing Chilvers with JOSHUA BOSHUI. This one actually did pay dividends as just 6 minutes later Ben Stevenson threaded a leisurely ball forward, with Jordan Turnbull failing to cut it out. The U's substitute won a race with Threlkeld to catch the ball just inside the area before slamming in a low 16-yard angled effort from right of centre that beat the keeper on its way inside the far post.

Narrow margins, as ever, and the Ammies needed to find a response. That would prove easier said than done and although some of the approach play held promise, Colchester’s defence managed to deal with the pressure that resulted. Crucially, home keeper George still wasn’t being tested.

Thirteen minutes from time Colchester’s Folivi carried the ball into the right-hand side of Salford’s area, but Lowe had tracked him and got in a great blocking challenge when the shot came in.

Jordan Turnbull was booked after that, and skipper Ash Eastham would follow him as the Ammies’ frustration began to show. Between those two bookings Robbie Gotts did well to get to the ball inside Colchester’s area and on the right before managing to wriggle goalside of covering defender Clampin. The Salford man went down as possession was muscularly wrestled away from him, only for the referee to ignore claims for a penalty.

Salford committed men forward as the game entered its final 10 minutes, but the ball wouldn’t run for them as the U’s managed to clear their lines before a shot could even be launched. In the 83rd minute Lowe played Clarke into space on the right, but his cross was headed away by a blue-shirted defender.

Hunter came on for Gotts with 5 minutes to play, with the Ammies still struggling to unlock a stubborn home defence. His long throw from the right was headed behind for a corner as the game entered 4 minutes of time added on, and Touray’s delivery from the right was cleared without too much fuss.

Salford needed a break, but the football Gods weren’t smiling on the men in black today. In the 4th minute of time added on a spell of pressure forced Nouble to head back towards his own area. Henderson contested the dropping ball with Smith whose outstretched right arm did seem to make contact with his opponent's head. Boyd rasped in a 16-yard shot that George could only parry and there were calls for a penalty from Salford. You see them given, but the referee decided - a little suprtisingly - that Henderson had been the offender and awarded Colchester a free-kick. As a spot of bickering broke out and the referee emerged to show Hunter a straight red card, courtesy of remarks made to the assistant who had failed to support his side's claims for a spot-kick.

There was no time for the 9 men to create another chance, and shortly after Hunter had trudged disconsolately from the field, the final whistle left Salford's play-off hopes hanging by a thread.


It would be difficult to argue that the Ammies deserved to win this game – most of the few decent scoring chances went the way of the home side. One of those days perhaps, but that first-half sending off certainly did the visitors no favours.

Two fouls from Bernard sure enough, but you see players given far more leeway every week without red cards being handed out. The Ammies had gone all season without a league dismissal yet have now picked up 3 over the last 3 outings.

Another good defensive performance today, but it’s difficult to remember U’s keeper George having to produce a decent save. Teams pressing for points at the sharp end of the season need to be doing better than that.
It’s immaterial now however – “bad days at the office” do happen, although this one could hardly have been worse timed.

The Ammies have to put this one behind them and make sure they do what they can to keep the promotion dream alive. Elsewhere, Newport County beat promoted Cheltenham Town to secure their play-off place. Exeter came from behind to grab a last-minute winner at Bolton and Forest Green Rovers beat Tranmere 2-1.

All that means that there is one last play-off place to claim, and 3 clubs vying for it. Salford must beat Leyton Orient at the Peninsula Stadium next Saturday and must hope that both Exeter City (home to Barrow) and Forest Green Rovers (away to Oldham Athletic) fail to pick up 3 points.

Any other combination will mean League Two football for the Ammies next season. Today went just about as badly as it could for them – maybe next week the luck will even out…