S a l f o r d
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Team Sheet

Eastleigh
1
Max Stryjek
2
Josh Hare
3
Michael Green
5
Reda Johnson
9
Paul McCallum

Constable '86

10
Mark Yeates
Yellow card for Mark Yeates
14
Andrew Boyce
15
Alex Wynter
18
Ben Williamson
1 goals for Ben Williamson

Zebroski '81

19
Danny Hollands (c)
22
Joey Jones
Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
6
Carl Piergianni
Yellow card for Carl Piergianni
9
Adam Rooney (c)
10
Danny Lloyd

Politic '68

11
Tom Walker

Hogan '90+3

18
Danny Whitehead
19
Mark Shelton

Maynard '85

23
Nathan Pond
Yellow card for Nathan Pond
30
Rory Gaffney
Substitutes
8
James Constable
11
Chris Zebroski
13
Ross Flitney
16
Oliver Dennett
21
Tom Bearwish
Substitutes
12
Max Crocombe
5
Liam Hogan
8
Lois Maynard
1 goals for Lois Maynard
22
Dennis Politic
39
Kamar Moncrieffe
Managers
Caretaker Manager - Ben Strevens
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Match Officals
Referee - Richard Hulme
Assistant Referee - Marcus Carmichael
Assistant Referee - Matt Eva
Fourth Official - Roger Smith

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Match
Report

Lois Maynard’s 90th minute equaliser rescued a barely deserved point for the Ammies, who drop to 3rd place as a result of the draw. Hosts Eastleigh will be acutely disappointed with the result having looked the better side for most of the game, only to be pegged back right at the end.

There was only one change to the squad on duty at Barnet in midweek, with academy player Kamar Moncrieffe included among the substitutes in place of Devante Rodney.

An impeccably observed minute’s Armistice tribute got the afternoon off to a dignified start and both sides showed early inclinations to press forward. Despite that intent, neither keeper was to be tested during the opening stages and the first moment of excitement didn’t arrive until the 10th minute. Danny Lloyd’s driving run took him to the edge of the area on the left and the low shot that followed was pushed wide of the near upright by Spitfires’ keeper Max Stryjek.

Tom Walker delivered the corner, from the left and, not unusually, Carl Piergianni got his head to the ball. Alex Wynter was well placed to get in a block that lifted the ball over for a second but that one was dealt with more comfortably by the home defence. A moment of concern for Eastleigh but they had the bit between their teeth and were looking increasingly threatening when pushing forward.

Mark Yeates would be lively all afternoon and his cross from deep on the right dropped beyond the far post. Andrew Boyce had pulled away from the middle to meet it and did well, nodding back into the path of Josh Hare. The full-back was in space but from a central position and 7 yards out he headed down and Chris Neal was able to make a clean catch as the ball bounced up.

A good chance for the home side but the action switched quickly to the other end of the pitch. Salford skipper Adam Rooney did well to control a dropping ball on the left-hand side of the area, then slipped a low ball into the middle. It was inviting enough, but not for the first time this afternoon big defender Reda Johnson got there first to make the clearance. Rooney was involved again soon afterwards,
heading a rebounding ball towards goal only for the well placed Stryjek to make a comfortable save.

A couple of half-chances for their opponents, but the Spitfires were shading possession now and Salford defender Nathan Pond got in a great tackle to stop Ben Williamson in his tracks on the left-hand side of the box.

The busy Yeates cut into the area from the left before seeing his shot deflect off Scott Wiseman and outside the near upright for a corner. Yeates himself swung the set-piece just beyond the far post where Joey Jones couldn’t quite get a touch.

Just before the half-hour Johnson was penalised for a foul on Lloyd as the two contested a dropping ball. It looked unpleasant, but the home defender escaped with a talking-to and Lloyd was cast as the villain of the piece for Eastleigh fans from that point forward.

Eastleigh continued to do most of the pressing and Williamson won a free-kick on their right 11 minutes before the break. Yeates aimed his delivery beyond the far post where Boyce had once more taken up position. The header back dropped for Alex Wynter in front of goal but he could only direct an effort over the crossbar when it looked easier to get it on target.

Piergianni was booked in the 39th minute for a foul and another dangerous Yeates free-kick was knocked behind, with the referee awarding a goal-kick instead of the corner everyone seemed to expect.

Not a vintage first-half performance from Graham Alexander’s men but they did create a chance with a couple of minutes remaining. Wiseman collected a clearance before advancing right-of-centre only to
drag a 20-yarder wide of Stryjek’s right-hand upright.

The Spitfires had been the better side so far and the last chance prior to the interval fell for them. Hare hit a bouncing ball from 20-yards out, right-of-centre and the well-struck effort across Neal’s goal wasn’t too far wide of the far post.

HALF-TIME: EASTLEIGH 0 SALFORD CITY 0

At Barnet on Tuesday the Ammies emerged from their half-time teamtalk to grab an equaliser within a couple of minutes of the restart. Here the boot was on the other foot as the Spitfires struck at an identical point of the game. Yeates' run on the left took him away from Wiseman and the Eastleigh number 10 cut inside a little before slamming in low shot. Salford keeper Neal did well to parry, but the ball went loose for WILLIAMSON to slot home.

It would be churlish to deny that Eastleigh deserved their lead and they could have had another goal within 2 more minutes. Striker Paul McCallum found time and space to the edge of Salford’s penalty area but his attempt to nudge a pass to Williamson was under-hit and the visitors cleared their lines.

Just before that Lloyd had done well to cut inside from Salford’s left but once again the ball into the middle was cleared before anybody in a white shirt could get anywhere near. That problem with the final ball would be a feature of the Ammies’ afternoon and when they did find the target with a delivery, luck was against them. In the 54th minute Yeates was booked for a foul on Walker and the winger took the free-kick himself. From right-of-centre and deep, he curled a delivery into the box for Pond to glance a header past Stryjek. Salford’s travelling supporters rose to acclaim the equaliser, only for their celebrations to be muted by an offside decision.

Eastleigh were looking lively themselves and Yeates’ diagonal run from left to right ended with a quick turn and a low shot straight at Neal.

The Ammies were struggling to exert a consistent spell of pressure on the home goal yet might have found a leveller just past the hour mark. Rory Gaffney did well to a control a lofted pass that dropped into the right-hand side of the area. The former Bristol Rovers striker's quick turn inside flummoxed Johnson but the low shot that followed was straight at Stryjek who made the expected comfortable save.

In the 64th minute Eastleigh’s Danny Hollands met a cross from the right just beyond the far post, with Neal tipping his close-range header over the bar. A great save from Salford’s goalkeeper, rendered irrelevant by an offside flag.

Salford countered, with Mark Shelton sliding a pass into the left-hand side of the area for Gaffney to chase. It seemed as if the Ammies’ striker had got a yard on his marker but the ball got under his feet a little and an Eastleigh defensive boot propelled it wide for a corner. At the other end McCallum broke free of Pond’s attentions on the left only to be thwarted by Neal, out quickly to block his low attempt.

The Spitfires were soon pushing forward again, courtesy of Hare on the right whose low ball into the area was heading for McCailum. This was a good chance for the home striker but he swung at it, sending the ball wide of Neal’s right-hand post.

Despite the odd chance of their own, Salford were riding their luck against a home side who were working hard to close them down. Nevertheless, they strung together a few passes with 22 minutes left as Gaffney and Rooney combined, moving the ball into the right-hand side of the box for Wiseman. This was promising but yet again the low delivery was met by a blue shirt and a no-nonsense clearance duly followed.

Dennis Politic came on for Lloyd after that and the Ammies began to look a little more cohesive – and dangerous – after the change. Ibou Touray’s run took him to the line on the left but there was nobody there at the back post when the cross came in. Touray was the provider again soon afterwards, collecting Shelton’s ball to the left before swinging another delivery into the middle. Rooney got up on the penalty spot but his glancing header dropped outside the far post.

Gaffney was the next to cause problems for Eastleigh’s defence, getting to the line on the left before clipping a decent cross towards the edge of the area. Danny Whitehead was there, but with a little time and space at his disposal only managed to lift a hasty first-time effort over the bar.

Better from Salford, but Eastleigh were still looking for a second goal that would probably settle the game in their favour. Williamson’s run took him forward and his lay-off found McCallum whose effort on goal was just about saved by Neal.

As the game entered its closing stages the Ammies began to press Eastleigh back a little more and Whitehead moved into space, 20 yards out and left-of-centre. The midfielder’s shots on goal are either belters or candidates for orbit and unfortunately this one fell into the latter category.

With 11 minutes to play Piergianni’s pass failed to find Whitehead and Yeates was away on another run. A rapid advance was followed by a pass to McCallum but his shooting boots had definitely been left at home and this time he drilled straight at Neal.

Politic lost possession on the halfway line very soon after that escape and that man Yeates was away again, setting off on a lung-bursting run to the penalty area. His ambitions were balked at the last as Piergianni moved across to coolly usher the ball back to Neal.

The Spitfires still wanted that second goal and almost got it in the 83rd minute. Hare’s pass down the right set off Jones who headed for the line before crossing low into the area. McCallum was there again but once more couldn’t take advantage as Neal got down to his right to save the flicked effort.

With time running out it was looking very much as if the Ammies would taste defeat for the first time since the muggy days of August. Lois Maynard replaced Shelton with 5 minutes to play, adding his height and physical presence to the front-line for the closing stages.

It would turn out to be an effective substitution and the St.Kitts international was soon in the thick of the action. The big midfielder appeared to be tripped as he closed in on the ball, just inside the box, but the referee was having none of it. Possession fell for Gaffney, 20-yards out and left-of-centre and the in-form striker almost kept up his impressive scoring run. A pacey, dipping shot looked destined to hit the back of the net until Stryjek produced a fantastic save, stretching to tip the effort over his crossbar.

The Ammies were finishing strongly and Walker’s left-footed corner from the left dropped across the face of goal, begging for a touch that just wasn’t applied.

It seemed very much as if those handy “late big chances” had come and gone, but there was to be a sting in the tail of this game. A little spell of quick passing involving Politic and Whitehead ended with MAYNARD hitting a low effort from outside the box and left-of-centre. Stryjek’s despairing dive to the right wasn’t enough and the obviously devastated keeper could only watch the ball nestle into his bottom right-hand corner.

The disappointment among Eastleigh’s players was, understandably, profound but they raised themselves to exert some late pressure on Salford’s goal in an attempt to force another moment of high drama. A corner and a throw-in were won during those nervy closing seconds but having rescued their point the Ammies were in no mood to let it slip away.

FULL-TIME: EASTLEIGH 1 SALFORD CITY 1

Not a point that Salford deserved, based on their overall performance and the balance of play. The old adage about good teams getting results when not at their best certainly holds true, but the Ammies cannot afford too many of these showings as he National League promotion dogfight intensifies.

Against determined and useful opposition Salford never found anything like their best form and even their spells of pressure were not all that convincing. Chances were created here and there but many promising build-ups were let down by disappointing final balls into the danger areas.

Eastleigh will feel aggrieved at emerging from this game with just the one point and you can’t blame them for that. A little more steadiness in front of goal could have seem the Spitfires safely back to base long before the final whistle.

At the end of the day though, Salford took a point from a below par display, so things could have been worse. Any side who establishes a 16 game unbeaten run deserves the rub of the green occasionally and the Ammies got it today.

The response to this – and a couple of back-to-back home draws – will be vital as the top of the division remains so very tight. Both Wrexham and Leyton Orient took advantage of today’s slip there will have to be a speedy return to form if that top-spot is to be regained.

We now have a brief cup sojourn to enjoy but all Salford eyes will be focused on Aldershot Town’s National League visit to the Peninsula Stadium in a fortnight.

Attendance: 2,253 (129 Salford City)

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