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Team Sheet

Maidenhead United
1
Carl Pentney
2
Remy Clerima (c)
4
Harold Odametey
5
Ayo Obileye
7
Herson Alves

Akintunde '29

8
James Comley

Cole '29

10
Josh Kelly
11
Max Worsfold
17
Adrian Clifton
19
Ryan Upward

Owusu '57

25
Christian Smith
Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman
1 goals for Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
6
Carl Piergianni
9
Adam Rooney (c)
1 goals for Adam Rooney (c)

Rodney '73

10
Danny Lloyd

Maynard '62

11
Tom Walker

Hogan '75

18
Danny Whitehead
19
Mark Shelton
23
Nathan Pond
30
Rory Gaffney
Substitutes
9
Ryan Bird
15
Chinua Cole
18
James Akintunde
20
Nana Owusu
27
Jordan Archer
Substitutes
5
Liam Hogan
7
Nick Haughton
8
Lois Maynard
12
Max Crocombe
21
Devante Rodney
1 goals for Devante Rodney
Managers
Manager - Alan Devonshire
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Match Officals
Referee - Simeon Lucas
Assistant Referee - Ciaran Barlow
Assistant Referee - Matt Eva
Fourth Official - Jim Paterson

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Match
Report

Salford City reached the summit of non-league football courtesy of a comprehensive victory over in-form Maidenhead United. The Ammies established a two-goal advantage before the interval and despite having to soak up some pressure during the second half could have won by an even more convincing margin. Leyton Orient’s defeat at home to Sutton means that we are top of the pile, for the first time this season.

Maidenhead’s York Road ground would be bathed in sunshine throughout the afternoon and the Ammies made a suitably bright start. The game’s first chance came in the 4th minute when Tom Walker’s pass to the edge of the box was flicked on to the left by Adam Rooney. Danny Lloyd was there to advance and hit a shot that flew narrowly wide of Carl Pentney’s right-hand post.

A few minutes later Walker nudged a short one to Rory Gaffney but his 25-yarder cleared the crossbar by some distance.

Salford were gradually taking control of the game and should have gone ahead with 9 minutes played. Danny Whitehead advanced on the left, playing one-twos with Lloyd and Rooney before delivering a cross that fell to the edge of the 6-yard box. Gaffney was there and elected to guide the ball home off his chest but the effort dropped wide of Pentney's right-hand upright.

Playing down the pronounced slope and with the sun at their backs, Salford were asking all of the attacking questions. The Magpies were struggling for answers and came inches away from conceding in the 12th minute. Lloyd’s low left-footed pass from wide on the left was met by Rooney who was stretching slightly as he got in a rising effort that hit the crossbar, with Pentney well beaten.

Walker had the measure of opposite number Max Worsfold on Salford’s right and surged past him in the 15th minute. A low pull-back caused consternation in the home defence but Rooney was a foot away from making contact in front of goal.

Next to nothing had been seen of Maidenhead as an attacking force yet they fashioned a chance out of the blue with 18 minutes gone. Herson Alves’ run on the left was followed up by a decent cross that was cleared by Salford’s defence. The ball fell for James Comley just outside the area but his low shot clipped off a defender and wide of Chris Neal’s right-hand post for a corner.

It would prove to be an isolated moment of worry for Salford’s keeper during the first half and his side were soon back on the offensive. Lloyd was upended 30 yards out, left-of-centre and he decided to take the free-kick himself. The shot was fair but Pentney watched it all the way, moving to his right to gather the dropping ball.

A goal was in the air and it arrived just past the mid-point of the first half. Salford full-back SCOTT WISEMAN pushed forward on the right, played a neat one-two with Gaffney then coolly slid a low finish under Pentney and just inside his left-hand post.

No more than Salford deserved and they underlined their superiority with another goal just 2 minutes later. Ibou Touray’s pass up the left flank was carried forward by Lloyd who placed a low cross towards the near angle of the 6-yard box. Skipper ROONEY had shaken off his marker and lifted a first-time flicked finish over Pentney’s head and into the net.

Great football and top-notch finishing from the Ammies who looked capable of winning this game by a very comfortable margin. Such was the visitors’ dominance that Maidenhead manager Alan Devonshire felt compelled to make a couple of changes before the half-hour. On came Chinua Cole & James Akintunde, with Alves and Comley making way.

To be fair, the substitutions did make a difference and Salford had to work harder to find a way through afterwards. The Magpies began to see more of the ball although the home crowd were beginning to get frustrated by refereeing decisions that went against their team. Most contentious was a penalty shout 8 minutes before the break but the referee ignored impassioned pleas from the home side after the ball appeared to hit Carl Piergianni’s hand. A minute or two later substitute Akintunde was booked for a foul on Walker, the player he’d been brought on to rein in.

More possession for Maidenhead as half-time approached but they only produced one chance of real note. Four minutes before the interval Remy Clerima’s pass up the right sent Harold Odametey on a run and he squared into the box. Adrian Clifton moved the ball on to the left where Worsfold hammered in a shot that was pushed away by Neal. The winger got a second bite of the cherry but this time his effort cannoned off a defender and the danger was cleared.

Some hope for the home side but in truth a goal for them at this stage would have given the score-line a rather flattering look. The half’s final opportunity went to Salford in the 44th minute when Whitehead pushed a pass to the right where Shelton hit a low, angled 22-yarder that went a yard wide of the far post.

HALF-TIME: MAIDENHEAD UNITED 0 SALFORD CITY 2

An eminently satisfactory first half for the Ammies who led by 2 goals and could have had more. They’d played some great football at times and Maidenhead needed to respond quickly if a 3rd home defeat of the season was to be avoided. The home side were quick to press forward after the restart, with the slope and sun now in their favour.

The Magpies won a number of early corners and could have got a goal back in the 49th minute. Worsfold’s corner, left-footed from the right, swung in towards the far post where Christian Smith rose to get in a header that deflected off a defender for a corner. Worsfold moved to the far side for this one and after his delivery Salford struggled to clear their lines. Big defender Ayo Obileye hit a shot that spun up into the air, with Neal punching partially clear as the ball dropped. Obileye had another go but this time his effort struck Gaffney before rebounding to relative safety.

Nana Owusu came on for Ryan Upward for the home side and Salford remained under pressure, forced to defend and not being able to move the ball upfield with any regularity. A few more corners were won but all were dealt with in various degrees of comfort by an Ammie defence that has become rather mean of late.

On the hour Josh Kelly broke clear as he latched on to a dropping long ball but Nathan Pond got across quickly to put in a tremendous challenge inside the penalty area.

Lois Maynard came on for Lloyd after that but there was more defensive work for Neal and his team to do as Maidenhead continued to press. Plenty of endeavour from the Magpies but they were finding it difficult to convert possession and set-pieces into efforts on goal.

Salford hadn’t really tested the home defence since half-time but they did put together a good move on 66 minutes. Touray advanced on the left before sliding a pass forward that was dummied by Rooney and picked up by Whitehead. A touch back found Walker in some space but he couldn’t keep the recent run of goals going with a shot that soared high over the bar.

A goal for Maidenhead would make the final quarter of the game very interesting and their big chance came along with 20 minutes left. Akintunde had looked lively since coming on and he collected a pass then spun away from the close attention of Maynard on Maidenhead’s right. A darting run the line came next then Akintunde turned inside past Touray’s challenge before rolling a pass into the path of Kelly. This was Maidenhead’s best chance so far but having taking a touch to get it onto his left foot Kelly could only scoop a 12-yarder over the bar.

That would be the home side’s last hurrah of the afternoon. Salford manager Graham Alexander brought on Liam Hogan & Devante Rodney (for Lloyd & Rooney) with 18 minutes left and the Ammies had ridden the storm.

Whitehead tested Pentney from the edge of the box with a quarter of an hour left and the keeper dived to his right to make a good save. Touray picked up possession before sliding a pass into the left-hand side of the box for Gaffney to chase. The angle was tight but the Salford striker pinged in a low shot that Pentney dropped down onto, making a good stop as well as holding onto the ball.

Gaffney went close again 7 minutes from time, finding space on the left to lash in another angled effort that beat Pentney but passed outside the far post.

The game seemed to be over as a contest but Salford were finishing off on the front foot. Mark Shelton passed to Whitehead on the right and he crossed to the far side of the box. There was space for Gaffney but he unselfishly teed up RODNEY whose powerfully struck low shot crashed into Pentney before bouncing up and dropping into the net. A first goal of the season for the summer signing from Hartlepool who is yet to start a game for the Ammies.

That goal came in the final minute of the 90 yet the Ammies could have extended their margin of victory during 5 minutes of time added on. Piergianni’s low ball forward on the left found Gaffney and after his low cross was cleared the ball fell for Whitehead. A quick move into half-a-yard of space was followed up by a low shot that thumped off the base of Pentney’s right-hand post and back into play. The Ammies weren’t finished yet and in the final minute of the 5 Whitehead nudged a short ball to Shelton whose rising effort form the right-hand angle of the box was clutched out of the air by Pentney.

FULL TIME: MAIDENHEAD UNITED 0 SALFORD CITY 3

Another thoroughly professional performance from a Salford City side that seems to be going from strength to strength. The recent statistics are impressive – 6 straight wins with 14 goals scored and just 1 conceded. It’s also 10 games unbeaten – that 2-1 reverse at Sutton in August seems a million miles away this evening.

Chances are being taken at a very decent rate and once In front it seems to be so difficult for opponents to break down a team who defend as an 11 man unit. The appetite for hard work is plain for all to see – every player knows what’s expected of them and the bench offers real quality when changes need to be made.

Top of the league – the adventure continues for the little club from Moor Lane whose supporters are enjoying a ride that would have dismissed as fantasy just a few years ago. The only clubs who sit above us now are EFL and Premier League ones – let’s hope that’s still the case when the end of the season rolls around.

It’ll be hard work, of course, but this team genuinely need fear nobody. Who’s for Dover?

Attendance: 1,726 (approximately 100 from Salford)

https://salfordcityfc.co.uk