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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Mansfield Town
1
Nathan Bishop
3
Stephen McLaughlin
1 goals for Stephen McLaughlin
4
Elliott Hewitt
6
Farrend Rawson
9
Jordan Bowery
10
George Maris
12
Oli Hawkins (C)
Yellow card for Oli Hawkins (C)
16
Stephen Quinn

Charsley 89'

18
Rhys Oates
1 goals for Rhys Oates

Sinclair 82'

25
Ryan Stirk
32
George Lapslie
Yellow card for George Lapslie
Salford City FC
1
Tom King
2
Donald Love
3
Ibou Touray
4
Jason Lowe
Yellow card for Jason Lowe
5
Ash Eastham (c)
8
Matthew Lund
1 goals for Matthew Lund
9
Tom Elliott
11
Josh Morris

Oteh 82'

16
Jordan Turnbull
18
Conor McAleny

Shephard 58'

42
Theo Vassell

Wright 83'

Substitutes
13
George Shelvey
5
Richard Nartey
7
Harry Charsley
15
Ryan Burke
17
Tyrese Sinclair
26
Jason Law
31
James Gale
Substitutes
12
Zach Jeacock
7
Tyreik Wright
20
Aramide Oteh
22
Tylor Golden
24
Andy Smith
32
Liam Shephard
36
Marcus Dackers
Managers
Manager - Nigel Clough
Managers
Manager - Gary Bowyer
Match Officals
Referee - Anthony Backhouse
Assistant Referee - Christopher Kidd
Assistant Referee - Darren Wilding
Fourth Official - Steven Plane

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Match
Report

Salford City’s run of 5 unbeaten league games ended as Mansfield Town came from a goal behind to run out 2-1 winners at their One Call Stadium home. Matty Lund’s 9th minute strike put the Ammies ahead, two goals scored from set pieces sent Mansfield into the interval ahead. Salford had plenty of possession after the interval yet rarely threatened Nathan Bishop’s goal seriously as they tasted defeat on the road for the first time since the trip to Forest Green Rovers in October

Manager Gary Bowyer adopted a 5-3-2 formation for this game, with Theo Vassell, Ash Eastham and Jordan Turnbull forming a 3-man central defensive partnership. Donald Love and Ibou Touray took the wing-back positions, with Liam Shephard amongst the substitutes for the first time, having started all 19 previous league games. With Brandon Thomas-Asante ruled out with a knock, Conor McAleny returned to action alongside Tom Elliott up front.

A cold December afternoon in Nottinghamshire, and it took a little while for the on-field action to warm up. Town’s Stephen Quinn required treatment following a stiff early challenge and neither side had threatened before Salford City took the lead. It was a goal of admirable simplicity as Love’s long throw from the right was flicked on by Turnbull at the near post. With Mansfield’s defence failing to react LUNDgot to the ball ahead of Jordan Bowery, steering a low 6-yard finish between the keeper and his left-hand post.

A perfect start for The Ammies against a side who have been in excellent recent form under manager Nigel Clough.

The Stags had to wait until the 15th minute for a first real sight of goal when George Lapslie’s ball into the left-hand side of the box played Rhys Oates into space. This looked dangerous for Salford, yet Oates could only lash a 12-yard left-footer wide of the near post.

Jason Lowe picked up a yellow card for a heavy challenge on Oates soon after that chance and Mansfield almost capitalised on the free-kick that followed. The delivery fell for Bowery but after digging the ball out he could only slam a low effort wide of Tom King’s left-hand post.

The Stags went much close midway through the first half after Elliott Hewitt nudged a pass for Stephen McLaughlin to move forward at pace on the left. A lofted cross fell beyond the far post where Bowery unleashed a powerful 10-yard angled volley. The retreating Vassell managed to get his head to the ball a bare yard from the line, and although the shot may just have been heading wide, this was a spectacular clearance.

A great bit of defending from the former Wrexham man and Salford almost hit their opponents on an immediate break. McAleny picked up possession inside the home half before advancing on a left of centre run that took him to the edge of the area. Defenders were converging quickly and the rising shot that followed was plucked out of the air by Bishop.

Former Oldham forward McAleny was at it again a minute or two later, latching onto a threaded Josh Morris pass and holding off the challenge of Town skipper Oli Hawkins. An clipped effort from a tight angle on the left squeezed past Bishop at the near stick, but Hewitt had anticipated the danger, sweeping up the ball just in front of the line before completing a clearance.

A lively opening 25 minutes or so, and as half-time approached Mansfield began to apply some pressure. Eleven minutes before the interval a corner from the left fell for Ryan Stirk but he could only side-foot a low effort wide from 15 yards out.

In the 36th minute Love was penalised for a foul on Oates, just outside the area on the left. McLaughlin delivered the free-kick low and hard to the near post, with the ball spinning off Jason Lowe's heel for OATES to get a slight touch from 6 yards that diverted the ball at leisurely pace wide of King and inside the far upright.

The Stags continued to press, and just as if it looked as if the sides would go in level the home side scored what would turn out to be the winner. The Ammies conceded another free-kick, 25 yards out and in line with the left-hand angle of the penalty area. Again McLAUGHLIN stood over it and this time he curled a low left-footed effort around the outside edge of the two-man wall and just inside King's right-hand post. A great strike but Salford will rue the position of the wall and the goalkeeper might well feel he might have done a little bit better.

There was still time for one more chance for the home side as Quinn met a dropping clearance with a 20-yard left of centre volley that may have troubled King had it not crashed into Morris and away to safety.

Late blows for the Ammies, who didn’t really deserve to be behind at the interval and won’t have been happy to concede from two those set-pieces.

HALF-TIME: MANSFIELD TOWN 2 SALFORD CITY 1

An encouraged and confident Mansfield side would start the second half on the front foot and could have established a two-goal cushion in the 50th minute. Bowery had gone close previously and this time he cut in from the right before letting fly with a left-footer that curled narrowly wide of the far post.

Salford made a change on 57 minutes as Shephard replaced McAleny but the next chance went to The Stags. Again it was Bowery and this time he found space to attack on the right before getting into the box and hitting a well-struck effort into the side-netting.

A couple of opportunities for Town during the opening quarter, but Salford began to dominate possession as the half progressed. On 65 minutes Shephard’s tenacity won the ball and he nudged a square pass inside from the right. Morris was centrally positioned and 24 yards out when he hit a low shot straight at Bishop who crouched to save and hold the ball.

A modest effort on goal, but it would be the best that Salford could muster during the whole of the second half. Much of the final quarter would be played almost exclusively in Mansfield’s half of the pitch but there always seemed to be plenty of yellow shirts behind the ball when it mattered.

At times it became like a game of attack and defence, but in fairness it was the defence that was generally on top. Bishop wouldn’t be forced into another save of any note, even after Tyreik Wright and Remi Oteh replaced Vassell and Morris with 8 minutes left to play.

Having seen relatively little of the ball Mansfield didn’t produce much of a threat themselves during the closing stages, although a testing McLaughlin free-kick from the right was tipped away by King. Two minutes from time Touray lifted in a free-kick from the left only for the stretching Elliott to head high and wide.

Four minutes of time added on failed to yield a significant chance at either end and the final whistle confirmed Mansfield Town’s 9 win in their last 10 competitive games and a 5th successive home victory. Salford hauled themselves into the division’s top half with that win over Oldham a fortnight ago, but this defeat and the postponement of Tuesday’s trip to Barrow sees them drop back down to 17th.

FULL-TIME: MANSFIELD TOWN 2 SALFORD CITY 1

A game of three thirds for The Ammies this afternoon. Against League Two’s form side, they looked the better team for the opening half-hour and deservedly went in front. Then came a half-hour that saw two goals conceded and another one or two narrowly avoided. The final third saw the return of a familiar pattern – lots of Salford possession, converted into nowhere near enough dangerous activity in the areas of the field that really mattered.

Question marks hover over the build-up to Mansfield’s goal, and Salford might well have been awarded a free-kick before Town won the one that produced their equaliser. Even so, manager Gary Bowyer will be disappointed with the defending on show for that set piece and the one on the stroke of half-time when Town scored what would prove to the clincher.

After an unbeaten November The Ammies have already seen a change of fortune during the early stages of 2021’s final month. After that disappointing FA Cup exit last week Salford needed a boost on their return to league action. One opportunity was lost in midweek, courtesy of storm Barra’s assault on Barrow-in-Furness and today an initially promising performance fell away too quickly and failed to delivery any reward.

A defeat that leaves Salford City 9 points adrift of the play-off positions, albeit with a game in hand on most of the teams above them. It might be a case of stating the obvious, but what's desperately needed now is a consistent run of form and results. Twenty-second placed Stevenage travel to The Peninsula Stadium next Saturday before the hectic Christmas period brings a trip to Port Vale (Boxing Day, 3pm) and home games -vs- Carlisle United (29th December, 7:45pm) and Tranmere Rovers (1st January, 3pm).

Not exactly make or break just yet, but The Ammies need to emerge from that vital and congested sequence of fixtures with as many points on the board as possible.

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