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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Crawley Town
Glenn Morris
George Francomb (c)
Joe McNerney
Jack Powell
Ashley Nadesan
Yellow card for Ashley Nadesan
Archie Davies
Tom Nichols
1 goals for Tom Nichols
Jordan Tunnicliffe
Jake Hesketh

Sesay 73'

Jordan Maguire-Drew

Wright 73'

Jake Hessenthaler
Salford City FC
Vaclav Hladky
Ibou Touray
Jason Lowe
Tom Clarke (c)

Bernard 58'

Ash Hunter

Gotts 69'

Jordan Turnbull
Richie Towell
Yellow card for Richie Towell

Wilson 62'

Oscar Threlkeld
Paul Coutts
Yellow card for Paul Coutts
Brandon Thomas-Asante
Yellow card for Brandon Thomas-Asante
Ian Henderson
Stuart Nelson
Tyler Frost
David Sesay
Davide Rodari
James Tilley
Josh Wright
William Evans
Ash Eastham
Bruno Andrade
Di'Shon Bernard
James Wilson
Mani Dieseruvwe
Robbie Gotts
Head Coach - John Yems
Manager - Richie Wellens
Match Officals
Referee - Sam Allison
Assistant Referee - Paul Evans
Assistant Referee - Marc Wilson
Fourth Official - Matthew Lee

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A Tom Nichols goal midway through the first half condemned Salford City to a 3rd away defeat in 4 outings. The pattern of this game was all too familiar – the Ammies dominate possession, don’t convert enough of it into chances and fail to put away the ones that do come along. By far the better team after the interval, Salford deserved to bring a point – at the very least – home, but yet again it wasn’t to be and they face a real scrap to secure one of the division’s four play-off berths.

A change in personnel and formation this evening as Salford reverted to a 4-man defence. Di’Shon Bernard was the defender to lose out, with Jason Lowe installed at right-back for this one. Oscar Threlkeld and Brandon Thomas-Asante were drafted into the side, with Robbie Gotts on the bench.

Salford were in need of a good result from this match and they set off looking determined to earn one. Thomas-Asante looked lively early on and his pass out to the right was carried almost to the line by Ian Henderson. A chipped cross dropped beyond the far post, but there was nobody there to take advantage.

Thomas-Asante found space on the left in the 7th minute, getting in a cross that flicked off the head of Town’s Jack Powell at the near post. Jason Lowe nodded back in from the far side, with Henderson getting in a header from the penalty spot that was collected by home keeper Glenn Morris.

Crawley had been relatively quiet, but their quick breaks would trouble the visitors all evening. Powell’s lofted ball from the right-back position dropped nicely for Ashley Nadesan to get away from Clarke and into the area. Václav Hladký had advanced to narrow the angles and managed to deflect the clipped 16-yard effort that followed just outside his right-hand upright.

Great goalkeeping from the Czech and he had to be alert again after a low corner from the left picked out Jordan Maguire-Drew. A training ground move but Clarke had anticipated to get in a challenge, with the ball spinning up and then harmlessly down into the arm of the keeper.

At the other end Richie Towell was fouled outside the area, with Ash Hunter’s 20-yard free-kick from just left of centre dropping over the keeper’s left-hand angle of post and bar.

An open match so far, with the Ammies edging possession while never able to relax against adventurous opponents who had created the game’s best opportunity so far.

In the 17th minute Thomas-Asante’s sublime low ball to the left slipped between Archie Davies & Jordan Tunniclffe. Hunter was in yards of space but it looked as if he tried to slide an angled finish through Morris’ legs, only for the experienced keeper to deflect the ball wide of his right-hand post.

There was another half-chance soon after as Hunter’s cross from wide on the left was squared inside by Lowe from the far side of the box. Henderson nearly got there at the near post, only to be robustly blocked by Town defender Tunnicliffe.

Crawley had seen less of the ball but had already created one great opportunity. They repeated the trick in the 21st minute as a long, high punt from Morris caught out the Ammies’ defence. Nichols met the dropping ball, got away from Clarke and then tricked his way past Jordan Turnbull. Once again Hladký was equal to the low shot, but luck was against him as possession fell straight back to NICHOLS who managed to dig out an inelegant 12 yard left of centre follow-up that dropped with just enough legs to roll over the line.
Good play from the Crawley man, yet you can’t help but feel the goal was eminently preventable from an Ammie point of view.

Nichols was involved again minutes later, finding Maguire-Drew whose attempt to get in a chip was taken by Hladký.

The Ammies needed a goal and Henderson’s low drive from outside the area found itself at the feet of Thomas-Asante on the edge of the 6-yard box. Morris got down to block the striker’s prodded effort, but the flag was up as the ball went loose.

The game was still open as the half-hour came and went, with both sides looking menacing when they pushed forward. Twelve minutes before the break Towell threaded a good, low pass into the left-hand side of the area for Henderson. Another very presentable chance but Henderson’s low effort was straight at Morris, with the keeper recovering quickly to smother the loose ball after his initial parry.

Crawley had the ball in the net again after 35 minutes following fancy footwork from Maguire-Drew on the edge of the box and right of centre. A dinked cross towards the far post found Nadesan but his 5 yard headed finish was in vain as the assistant had already raised his flag for offside.

Salford finished the first half looking for a leveller as Hunter squared Henderson’s pass to the left. Thomas-Asante was the target, yet it was Joe McNerney who got there first to smash behind for a corner. Paul Coutts delivered from the left, with Clarke timing his run to get up and meet it 4 yards out, towards the far post. The skipper has a goal in him but was left disappointed here as his header dropped harmlessly over the crossbar.


Salford didn’t really deserve to be behind at the interval and could have righted that injustice within the 1st minute of the second half. A very early spell of Ammie pressure allowed Hunter to get a low, diagonal shot in, from 20 yards out and right of centre. Morris dropped down to make the save, only for the ball to spin up off his left at a convenient height for the incoming Henderson. You would have backed Salford’s top scorer to tuck this one away, yet he could only direct a header outside the grounded Morris’ right-hand upright.

There would be more pressure for Town to absorb and Nadesan was a little bit lucky to be yellow carded after a late challenge on Clarke.

The second half would belong almost entirely to the Ammies, and they showed patience and control in their attempts get a goal back. A nice build-up ended with a low Ibou Touray cross from the left that Tunnicliffe sliced at the near post. The ball could have gone anywhere, but on this occasion drifted out for a throw on the far side.

Even with Salford bossing possession Crawley could never be discounted as an attacking force. In the 54th minute Nichols squared from the left, with Nadesan’s deft touch beyond the far post setting up the inrushing Jake Hesketh for a shot. It could easily have been Town’s second of the night, yet in trying to place a low finish the Southampton loanee could only direct a low 10-yarder wide of Hladký’s left hand post.

Something of an escape for the Ammies, and they went ever so close to an equaliser just a couple of minutes later. A Lowe cross from the right was cleverly left by Henderson, with Hunter getting in a shot that was well saved by Morris. Again the ball spun up and Henderson got in a header that lacked power, with Archie Davies able to take a touch before clearing long from virtually on the line.

Towell hammered a left of centre 18-yarder high over the bar before Salford made their first change of the evening as Bernard replaced Clarke in the centre of defence.

Salford were playing well without getting any reward for their craft and patience. Crawley on the other hand seemed content go get men behind the ball yet almost snatched another goal in the 62nd minute. Thomas-Asante nodded away a long ball into the Salford box, with possession falling conveniently for Jake Hessenthaler. The former Gillingham man took a touch before slamming in a low effort from 19 yards out that clipped off the outside of Hladký’s right-hand post.

The Ammies responded by bringing on James Wilson for Towell and the next opportunity went their way on 65 minutes. Thomas-Asante lifted a good pass to the right for Henderson who tried a 19-yard lob that dropped into the hands of Morris.

Crawley were having to defend and a long ball from Coutts dropped into the left-hand side of Crawley’s area. Wilson showed strength to hold off his marker but after turning could only hook a first-time effort high over the target.

Salford had been by far the better side during a frustrating second half, although they had conceded the odd chance to their opponents. With just over 20 minutes to play Robbie Gotts came on for Hunter.

The pressure continued to be applied, with Lowe again crossing from the right and Wilson’s 12-yard volley taking a defensive deflection on its way wide of Morris’ left-hand post.

Time was running out for the Ammies' chances of rescuing a deserved reward from this game and with 11 minutes left Coutts free-kick from the left was punched behind at the far post by Morris. Touray swung the corner in, left-footed, but it was easy for Morris to deal with.

Crawley had nearly everyone behind the ball most of the time, but they had the game’s only goal and it seemed as if the intensity of the visitors’ attacks was declining. Seven minutes from time, after minutes of fruitless Salford pressure, Town almost caught them again as Nichols threaded a forward ball into the inside right channel for Nadesan to chase. This was dangerous for the Ammies but in the end Nadesan’s low angled effort was blocked by Bernard, with Hladký on hand behind him for double insurance.

After that Salford more or less camped in the home side’s half, yet Town were defending well. In the 87 minute Thomas-Asante’s low ball forward almost played Gotts into space, with a defender getting in a challenge and the ball rolling to the left for Touray. A low delivery to the near post followed and Wilson may have got a touch before the ball was bravely smothered by Morris.

Hladký showed some nifty footwork to keep possession under pressure from Nadesan, but the ball really needed to be at the other end of the pitch. There were a minimum of 4 minutes to be added on but Crawley played them out intelligently, keeping possession and running the clock down.

Salford didn’t manage to threaten again and their 9th league defeat on the road had been inflicted.


It would be very difficult not to feel sympathy for Richie Wellens and his side following what has to go down as an unfortunate defeat. The Ammies had loads of possession – particularly in the second half, created a healthy number of chances and a fair number of decent attacking situations. Even allowing for Crawley’s chances on the break, there’s no way Salford deserved to return home empty-handed.

On the other hand, it’s probably not unfair to observe that ‘bad luck’ has struck quite a bit recently.

Putting the ball into net has become a challenge, with more than two goals recorded only three times during the last twenty league outings. The league’s best defensive record has kept Salford in contention but with 13 games to go, the ball has to start hitting the net with more regularity.

Looking at the wealth of creative and attacking talent in the squad, that should be something the Ammies are capable of doing.

There’s a chance to get away from the frantic promotion push this Saturday as Salford travel to Wembley for the delayed 2019-2020 EFL Trophy final. After that, Colchester United travel to the Peninsula Stadium next Tuesday, and even with 13 to play that one has a “must win” look about it.