S a l f o r d
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Team Sheet

Leyton Orient
1
Dean Brill
2
Sam Ling
3
Joe Widdowson
6
Josh Coulson

Happe '66

7
Jobi McAnuff (c)
9
Macauley Bonne
16
James Brophy
17
Dale Gorman
Yellow card for Dale Gorman

Lawless '63

19
Josh Koroma
Yellow card for Josh Koroma
21
Marvin Ekpiteta
Yellow card for Marvin Ekpiteta
22
Charlie Lee
Yellow card for Charlie Lee

Maguire-Drew '63

Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
Yellow card for Ibou Touray
5
Liam Hogan (c)
6
Carl Piergianni
2 goals for Carl Piergianni 2 goals for Carl Piergianni Yellow card for Carl Piergianni
7
Matt Green

Rodney '86

11
Tom Walker
15
Liam Nolan
18
Danny Whitehead

Rooney '89

23
Nathan Pond
Yellow card for Nathan Pond
30
Rory Gaffney
1 goals for Rory Gaffney
Substitutes
24
Sam Sargeant
4
Alex Lawless
10
Jordan Maguire-Drew
15
Dan Happe
18
Matt Harrold
Substitutes
12
Max Crocombe
9
Adam Rooney
10
Danny Lloyd
20
Mani Dieseruvwe
21
Devante Rodney
Managers
Manager - Justin Edinburgh
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Match Officals
Referee - Richard Hulme
Assistant Referee - James Vallance
Assistant Referee - Mike Desborough
Fourth Official - Damith Bandara

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Match
Report

Salford City produced a superb, controlled performance as they put league leaders Leyton Orient to the sword. A sell-out home crowd had assembled at Brisbane Road for this eagerly awaited clash, but it was the travelling Ammies – loud and proud as always – who were celebrating at the end. A tremendous first 10 minutes saw Graham Alexander’s men 2 goals to the good and they held their hosts at arm’s length before grabbing a late 3rd. Defender Carl Piergianni notched a brace with Rory Gaffney chipping in another, and this has to be a contender for the finest performance in the club’s recent history.

Unsurprisingly there were no changes from the starting XI than beat Wrexham on New Year’s Day and the action got underway in front of crowd just short of 7,000.

Salford looked determined right from the word go and took the lead in the 6th minute. Danny Whitehead’s corner from the right dropped into the 6-yard box, toward the far post. Orient were a man short with their covering and CARL PIERGIANNI stooped to nod home from about 4 yards out.

A great start for the visitors got even better within a couple more minutes. Whitehead was the architect again, advancing on the right before swinging a good cross into box. Once again The O’s were caught out as GAFFNEY got between 2 defenders to head past Dean Brill from 5 yards.

The Ammies were in dreamland and their supporters bawled approval from the East Stand. Justin Edinbugh’s side needed a response and thought they’d found one in the 13th minute. Sam Ling slipped a neat pass into the right-hand side of the area and after turning away from Piergianni, James Brophy plunged to the turf. The home players and supporters bayed for a penalty with Salford’s defenders demanding a yellow card for simulation. In the event the referee obliged neither side and the score remained at 2-0.

Soon after that Josh Koroma was genuinely felled just outside the area and although the referee had already awarded a free-kick, a bout of pushing and shoving ensued. The referee allowed the handbags to subside before handing out a brace of yellow card to both teams – Charlie Lee & Koroma for Orient, Piergianni & Pond for Salford.

There had been some delay sorting out that spat and Jobi McAnuff’s free-kick didn’t live up the excitement that preceded it. His shot slammed into the wall and a follow-up effort was blocked as Salford’s defence closed ranks, as they would do so well all afternoon.

The O’s were having plenty of possession by this stage but they almost gave away a 3rd goal midway through the 1st half. Dale Gorman’s attempt to hit a square ball to the left was picked off by Whitehead who drove forward before sliding a low pass into the right-hand side of the box. Matt Green got onto it but, forced wide and running out of space, could only hit an acutely angled effort over the target.

Orient were already showing signs of frustration, but they did manage to test Chris Neal in the 27th minute. Koroma found a little space outside the area on the left yet his angled shot was easy enough for the Salford keeper. Seconds after that the referee once more incurred the displeasure of the home fans, refusing to award a free-kick after Koroma went down a little too easily.

The O’s gradually found their attacking feet as the half progressed, although too many initially promising build-ups were spoiled by a careless final pass. For their part Salford were getting men behind the ball and reacting quickly to danger when it threatened. That meant chances for the home side to find a way back into the game had been rare, but they did threaten a little more as half-time approached. McAnuff let fly from outside the box on the left with Neal having to get down sharply in order to push the ball away.

Despite having to concentrate on defending for a while The Ammies looked potent when they did push forward. Seven minutes before the interval Piergianni’s forward ball was nodded inside for Whitehead whose clever diagonal pass picked out Gaffney’s run into the left-hand side of the area. There was space for the Irishman to exploit but he got underneath his 12-yard angled shot, lifting the ball high over the crossbar.

A very good chance to give Salford what may well have been an unassailable advantage, even before time. Soon after Piergianni got in a cross from wide on the left, with Green nodding a header inside into space that no blue shirt had moved into.

At the other end Koroma played a one-two with Macauley Bonne on the left, but his attempt to place a low 20-yarder inside the far post went well wide. There was more possession for The O’s and in the 3rd minute of time added on they won a corner on the right. McAnuff’s delivery was cleared but after Lee played the ball back in Josh Coulson flicked a header that was blocked just in front of the goal-line. The Ammies cleared and that early 2 goal advantage made it safely into the interval.

HALF-TIME: LEYTON ORIENT 0 SALFORD CITY 2

The two sides returned to the pitch with no changes in personnel and as you might expect, the league leaders emerged in a determined frame of mind. Within a couple of minutes of the restart McAnuff’s diagonal pass into the area found Koroma on the left and was one-on-one with Neal. Crucially it was Salford’s keeper who came out on top, spreading himself effectively to block Koroma’s low shot then recovering quickly to gather the dropping loose ball.

A goal for Orient might well have altered the balance of the game, but it wasn’t to be. Nevertheless, the home crowd was encouraged, and Orient were keeping possession for long spells inside Salford’s half. After a patient build-up Brophy tried a shot from the edge of the box, on the right, only for Neal to comfortably gather at his near post.

Gorman was booked for a foul on Tom Walker as the Salford midfielder cleared his lines from the left-back position. Soon after that McAnuff had a shot from outside the box charged down as Salford doggedly protected their lead.

Joe Widdowson’s pass inside from the left found Koroma and tried to curl an effort inside the far post. The direction was fine, but the shot lacked pace and Neal was able to move to his left before making a comfortable enough catch. Bonne’s touch back for Gorman was followed by an ambitious shot that caused Neal little concern as it rose high over the crossbar.

Salford had hardly been out of their half since the restart but their organisation and commitment to the cause had largely restricted Orient to efforts from distance. McAnuff finished off another spell of neat possession with a snap-shot but Green had worked hard to track back and was there to get in a block. Orient rolled forward yet again, with Ling finding Koroma on the left and inside the penalty area. An unselfish pass was tucked back for McAnuff, left-of-centre, but Neal got down to save and hold his 20-yarder.

A huge amount of possession had yielded little in terms of clear-cut chances and Orient made a couple of changes in the 63rd minute. Alex Lawless replaced Gorman and Jordan Maguire-Drew came on for Lee as manager Edinburgh looked for somebody who could provide the creative quality his side had lacked so far.

Salford did manage to cross the halfway line with intent as Piergianni’s pass to the left sent Ibou Touray off on a run. The full-back headed for the line but when his shot – or maybe it was a cross – came in, it rose to almost hit the roof of the stand behind Brill’s goal.

There was a blow for Orient only a minute or so after their double substitution as defender Coulson hobbled off with an injury, to be replaced by Dan Happe.

It looked very much as if Salford had navigated their way safely through an extended spell of pressure, and Orient’s domination of the ball was slowly waning. Ling did manage to play a pass into the right-hand angle of the area but Maguire-Drew’s low shot was saved by Neal at his near post.

Impressive though their defensive play was, Salford were still not managing to threaten Brill’s goal. A rare foray forward gave Scott Wiseman the opportunity to attack on the right, but with no blue shirts arriving in the box his cross was taken by the O’s keeper.

Back at the other end, Koroma’s pass into the left-hand side of the area was meant for Widdowson, but Pond got across to shepherd the ball safely out of play. Thirteen minutes from time Maguire-Drew’s free-kick from outside the right-hand angle of the box dropped narrowly wide of Neal’s near upright.

The vigour was draining from Orient’s performance and frustration was again rearing its head. Marvin Ekpiteta was booked for a foul on Walker wide on Salford’s left and a minute or so later the game was effectively over. With 10 minutes to play Green’s persistence won a free-kick a yard inside the corner flag on their right. Walker aimed his delivery towards the far post where PIERGIANNI arrived to touch the ball home from 6 yards.

Perhaps cruel on Orient as their opponents grabbed a goal from virtually their first dangerous attack of the 2nd half, but football is all about taking your chances.

To their credit, even with the points out of reach, Orient continued to play their neat brand of football as the final whistle approached. Once again though The Ammies shut up shop at the back, refusing to allow their opponents even a consolation goal.

The referee indicated 7 minutes of time to be added on, and during that period The O’s forced a free-kick and a number of corners. McAnuff had a shot blocked after an exchange of passes with Maguire-Drew and Koroma tried a speculative tumble inside the penalty area. The referee paid no heed to that and in the very last minute Salford almost had the temerity to extend their lead again.

Gaffney’s lofted ball to the right played substitute Devante Rodney into acres of space but from the edge of the box he could only slam a rising effort high over the bar.

It mattered little – Salford had the points in the bag, courtesy of a memorable performance that firmy re-establishes their automatic promotion credentials.

FULL-TIME: LEYTON ORIENT 0 SALFORD CITY 3

It’s testament to Graham Alexander, his coaching staff and players that a worrying run of defeats at the end of 2018 has been transformed into a splendid start to 2019. A change in formation ushered in a dramatic return to form for The Ammies and this has to rank as one of their finest ever results and performances.

Make no mistake, Orient are a very good side but today their threat was almost totally snuffed out by a complete team performance. Every member of the side looked sure of their role and they took their reward in the form of this tremendous result.

Salford City fans have been waiting for a first win on the ground of an old, established ex-league club. It didn’t come at Hartlepool, Stockport or York, nor at Chesterfield or Wrexham. It finally arrived this afternoon and the three points were entirely deserved in front of a large and partisan crowd.
There was never any doubt that every opponent at this level is worthy of respect, but it’s also true that none need be feared either.

The Ammies are back on track and this was a great afternoon for the 251 who got behind their side for 90 minutes on a historic day for the club.

Attendance: 6,937 (251 from Salford)

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