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Team Sheet

Harrogate Town
1
James Belshaw
2
Ryan Fallowfield
Yellow card for Ryan Fallowfield
4
Josh Falkingham (c)

Williams '90+2

5
Callum Howe
6
Warren Burrell
8
Jack Emmett

Thomson '75

9
Mark Beck
11
Joe Leesley
15
Kelvin Langmead
17
Lloyd Kerry
18
Jack Muldoon
Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
4
Gus Mafuta
Yellow card for Gus Mafuta
5
Liam Hogan (c)
6
Carl Piergianni
Yellow card for Carl Piergianni
8
Lois Maynard
15
Devonte Redmond
1 goals for Devonte Redmond
20
Mani Dieseruvwe
23
Nathan Pond
Yellow card for Nathan Pond
30
Rory Gaffney

Green '64

Substitutes
7
George Thomson
13
Joe Cracknell
16
Aaron Williams
20
Liam Kitching
21
Michael Woods
Substitutes
7
Matt Green
9
Adam Rooney
11
Tom Walker
12
Max Crocombe
18
Danny Whitehead
Managers
Manager - Simon Weaver
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Match Officals
Referee - Martin Woods
Assistant Referee - Daniel Woodward
Assistant Referee - Oliver Mackey
Fourth Official - John Matthews

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Match
Report

It’s now a remarkable nine hours plus of game time since Salford City last conceded a National League goal. That defensive bedrock has seen nineteen points won from a possible twenty-one, sweeping away memories of a run that yielded two wins from eleven games. This evening a Devonte Redmond penalty was enough to secure another league double over Harrogate Town and Ammies’ keeper Chris Neal hardly had a serious save to make. Another vital three points, picked up against promotion rivals, and Graham Alexander’s side find themselves back in the top three after an absence of seven weeks.

There were a couple of changes from the side that drew with Barnet at the weekend, starting at the back where Ibou Touray – freshly returned from international duty with The Gambia – replaced Tom Walker. Up front, Rory Gaffney was handed a first league start in six games, with Matt Green dropping to the bench. Danny Lloyd, an unused substitute for the last five matches, was left out of today’s sixteen.

A sell-out crowd at the CNG Stadium, including a vociferous following from Salford who certainly made themselves heard in front of the BT Sport cameras. The game would be keenly contested, with good chances largely at a premium although The Ammies did create a very early opportunity. Redmond launched a second minute free-kick from deep on the left into the area, with Mani Dieseruvwe getting up to plant a header straight at Town ‘keeper James Belshaw.

Harrogate soon started to knock the ball around a bit on their 3G surface, winning a corner in the seventh minute. Joe Leesley whipped in a delivery, left-footed from the right, with Lois Maynard glancing the ball out at the far post. Leesley took this one too, right-footed this time and Chris Neal could only help the ball on beyond the far post. Town defender Kelvin Langmead was underneath it but knew relatively little about a header that bounced straight to Neal.

Some early attacking activity as both sides pushed forward, but the initially frantic pace of the game would drop off a little. There was a moment of controversy in the fifteenth minute after Scott Wiseman made ground on the right only to be clattered by Leesley an instant after he had played a low ball into the middle. Dieseruvwe tussled for possession inside the area, with the ball falling to Redmond who duly slammed home a low finish. There would be no goal for Salford however as the referee had blown his whistle for the foul on Wiseman – a very late call from the official who let play continue after the challenge, seemingly intent on playing advantage.

The Ammies had to be content with the award of a free-kick and very nearly made the most of it. Touray delivered the set-piece and Nathan Pond got up to power in an eight-yard header, with Belshaw reacting instinctively to tip the ball over the crossbar.

That chance came just when Harrogate had been threatening to get on top, and the home side would have an opportunity of their own a couple of minutes later. Home skipper Josh Falkingham slid a pass forward for Jack Emmett who in turn played in overlapping right-back Ryan Fallowfield. The cross was a good one, finding Jack Muldoon in the middle, but with the goal at his mercy the ball spun off his forehead and away to relative safety on the far side.

A very presentable opportunity for Harrogate Town but it had gone begging and the pattern reverted to both sides looking for openings that did not really appear. The ball was probably spending more time in Salford’s half of the pitch but that little bit of composed quality was evading both sides. Just before the midpoint of the half Emmett’s threaded pass played Fallowfield into the right-hand side of the box.
Having made it to the line the former North Ferriby man slid in a low cross that looked destined to be met by Mark Beck. Neal, guarding his near post, managed to stretch out a leg, deflecting the ball away from danger.

Just past the half-hour mark Harrogate’s Lloyd Kerry nudged a pass to the left for Leesley, who cut inside before trying a 25-yarder that cleared the crossbar by a yard or two. Leesley turned provider a few minutes later, curling in a free-kick from deep and wide on the right. Salford, for once, neglected their defensive duties with Town defender Warren Burrell left unattended to get in a twelve-yard header that was gathered comfortably enough by Neal.

Most of the attacking initiative was coming from Harrogate as half-time approached and they could have edged ahead in the fortieth minute. Emmett’s pass out to the right found Fallowfield who once again got in a good cross. Beck appeared to push Liam Hogan as the ball approached but justice was done as the former Darlington striker then failed make contact with his head, right in front of goal.

Salford’s attacking efforts had been modest for a while, but they had a glimpse of Harrogate’s goal during time added on. Touray’s advance on the left ended with a cross that was blocked, with Gus Mafuta mopping up the loose ball. From twenty-two yards out and well left of centre the midfielder failed to keep down an effort that soared high over Belshaw’s goal.

No goals at half-time and although Harrogate had contributed most of the attacking activity, Salford had gone closest to breaking the deadlock.

HALF-TIME: HARROGATE TOWN 0 SALFORD CITY 0

The Ammies emerged for the second half with rather more attacking intent and almost unlocked the home defence three minutes after the restart. Mafuta won a midfield header, with Gaffney helping the ball forward for Dieseruvwe to chase. The Salford centre-forward had stolen a march on Harrogate’s defence but Belshaw anticipated the danger, racing to the edge of his box in order to punt clear.

There would soon be more intense pressure for Town to withstand, and quite how they avoided going behind in the fifty-first minute will probably only be explained by studying the television footage. Hogan’s throw-in from the right was headed straight back to him by Burrell and this time he played a great cross towards the far post. It was Carl Piergianni’s type of delivery and he got above Fallowfield to meet it with a firm header, only to be denied a tenth goal of the season as Belshaw dived to his right to make a great stop. Piergianni got an immediate second bite at the cherry only be thwarted again as the Harrogate keeper recovered to save his low four-yarder with an outstretched foot. Still the danger wasn’t over with Gaffney hammering in a volley from the edge of the six-yard box. This time Belshaw was beaten but Langmead was there,stretching to deflect the ball wide of the keeper’s right-hand post for a corner.

An incredible passage of play with Belshaw’s double save and a great piece of defending from Langmead keeping The Ammies at bay. The respite would be cruelly brief for Simon Weaver’s men, even though it looked as if they had cleared the subsequent corner. Hogan popped up outside the box to nod the ball back into the mix and it bounced through into the path of Dieseruvwe, who found himself clear and right in front of goal on the edge of the six-yard box. If you’re being charitable you might describe Fallowfield’s challenge as a genuine, although a clumsy and unlikely attempt to win the ball. The referee took that lenient view, producing a yellow card that might just have merited a red.

Fallowfield managed to look astonished by the award of one of the most clear-cut penalty decisions you will see this season, and the responsibility for it was taken by REDMOND. With Belshaw jiggling up and down on his line, Harrogate fans drumming on the boards behind the goal and under the glare of live TV cameras the midfielder displayed nerves of steel, finishing hard and low into Belshaw’s bottom left-hand corner. Credit is once again due to the keeper, who went the right way, but there was no stopping a shot that had both pace and accuracy.

Salford ahead, and deservedly so after a fine start to the second half that had the home side reeling. That lead could have been extended in the fifty-fourth minute and once again Redmond was involved. His free-kick, almost chipped into the box from a deep, left-of-centre position was met by Piergianni. The downward header was on course to creep inside Belshaw’s left-hand upright but the Town keeper continued his impressive evening, springing to the left to push the ball behind. Touray swung in the corner, from the right, but Hogan could only head wide of the far post from about eight yards out.

Harrogate, pressed back from the restart, had not managed to exert any sort of pressure on Salford’s goal. They rallied after a torrid ten minutes, winning a free-kick wide on the left after Leesley was bundled over by Mafuta. It was Leesley who took the free-kick, aimed towards the far post where Langmead managed to get his head to the ball, yet could only nod an effort at Neal. There were demands for a penalty from the Harrogate supporters behind the goal, but the referee decided that Langmead & Lois Maynard’s clinch was a case of six-of-one and half-a-dozen of the other.

There was a real determination about Salford as the final quarter of the game approached, defending with discipline and numbers when required. Harrogate buzzed around outside the area to generally little effect for a while, although Mafuta was booked for a foul on Falkingham.

Salford manager Alexander introduced Green for Gaffney and the next opportunity went their way in the sixty-seventh minute. Mafuta found some space nearly thirty yards out before drilling in a low effort that passed a yard outside Belshaw’s right-hand post.

With twenty minutes left Leesley curled in a fine cross from the right but Langmead’s twelve-yard header dropped over the crossbar without causing too much concern for Neal.

A rare second-half chance for Town against organised opponents who were defending their lead very efficiently indeed. A degree of frustration began to creep onto the home side’s play and Salford continued to look dangerous whenever they ventured forward. With fifteen minutes left Hogan’s throw from the right was headed by Burrell, then Falkingham inside the box but there was little distance on either attempted clearance. The dropping ball tempted Maynard to try a sixteen-yard volley from right-of-centre, but the effort flew low outside Belshaw’s left-hand post.

Time was running out for Harrogate who couldn’t convert what possession they had into clear-cut chances. In fact, Salford looked more likely to add to the evening’s scoring and could have made the game safe nine minutes from time. Mafuta’s forward pass found Dieseruvwe on the edge of the area and he rolled the ball wide to the right for Wiseman. A good cross just beyond the far post followed but Touray’s looping header back across goal dropped wide of Belshaw’s left-hand upright.

This time Harrogate countered, with Fallowfield’s pass to the edge of the box picking out substitute George Thomson. From right-of-centre a neat left-footed cross looked for Beck at the far post, but Hogan was there, getting up high to glance the ball behind for a corner.

There was another sniff of a chance for the home side six minutes from time after Piergianni was booked for a hefty challenge on Muldoon. Leesley had another opportunity to use his left foot to good effect, this time swinging a cross to the far post where Langmead got up, only for the ball to come off Maynard for a corner. Leesley took this one too, from the right, with the ball dropping well behind the far post. Callum Howe got their first with a firm header, but the angle was tight and the ball fell harmlessly over the bar.

There was still time for Harrogate to conjure a leveller but The Ammies are getting good at protecting narrow leads and they saw out the remaining minutes – then five more that were added on – without any scares. In fact, the last opportunity of the game would go to the visitors, deep into time added on. Another Town attack had been repelled when Green picked up possession wide on the right and inside Salford’s half. The former Lincoln forward skipped past Thomson’s challenge and a determined run took him into the Harrogate penalty area. Redmond had kept pace to his left but Green elected to shoot, hitting a rising effort that cleared the crossbar by some distance. Hindsight is a wonderful thing of course, but perhaps a square ball to the man in space may have been the better option there.

It wouldn’t matter however – Harrogate couldn’t force another chance during the scant time that remained, and Salford City had recorded a tremendously important win.

FULL TIME: HARROGATE TOWN 0 SALFORD CITY 1

A fifth win in six games for Salford City and once again, the three points were deserved. All the evening’s best chances went the way of The Ammies and but for the heroics of Belshaw, the margin of victory could have been greater. A one-goal advantage is always fragile, but it would have taken something special to prise open up a well-drilled, robust defence who have got out of the habit of conceding goals.

Harrogate probably shaded the first half, in terms of territory certainly, yet visiting keeper Neal didn’t have a difficult save to make all evening. Much of the credit for that is due to the defensive trio who stood strong once again, winning nearly all of what was thrown at them. Similarly, the three in midfield worked extremely hard all night, restricting the supply lines to Harrogate’s forwards and wide men as much as possible.

A win that restores Salford City’s position in the top three, and this run of form could hardly be better timed. Leyton Orient are in the driving seat in terms of automatic promotion, but there are plenty of points to play for yet and there may be a few twists yet in a tight finish to the National League season.

Attendance: 1,700 (@150 Salford City)

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