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Team Sheet

Nuneaton Town
1
Ross Etheridge
2
Luther Wildin
3
Niall Heaton
4
Tom Elliott
5
Kelvin Langmead
6
Ryan Johnson
7
James Ferry
8
Ryan Beswick (c)

Daniels '88

9
Ashley Chambers
10
George Green
Yellow card for George Green

Mitchell '42

11
Daniel Nti
Salford City FC
1
Tim Erlandsson
2
Michael Nottingham
3
Ibou Touray
4
Scott Burton
5
Carl Piergianni
1 goals for Carl Piergianni
6
Liam Hogan (c)
7
Tom Walker
8
Gus Mafuta
Yellow card for Gus Mafuta
9
Mani Dieseruvwe

Shelton '85

10
Nick Haughton
1 goals for Nick Haughton

Dudley '72

11
Josh Askew

Allen '73

Substitutes
12
Billy Daniels
13
Dean Lyness
14
Kairo Mitchell
15
Joel Dielna
16
Adil Nabi
Substitutes
12
Mark Shelton
14
Richie Allen
16
Jack Redshaw
17
Mike Phenix
18
Anthony Dudley
Managers
Manager - Gary Charles
Managers
Joint Manager - Anthony Johnson
Joint Manager - Bernard Morley
Match Officals
Referee - Martin Woods
Assistant Referee - Jonathan Maskrey
Assistant Referee - Paul Stonier

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Match
Report

First half goals from Nick Haughton & the recently prolific Carl Piergianni eased Salford City to a vital win at the LDJ Solicitors stadium this afternoon. This was a controlled, composed performance from the Ammies who never looked like relinquishing their lead against one of the National League North’s form sides. Nuneaton were unbeaten in 5 home games prior to today, a sequence that included wins over Harrogate Town and York City yet they barely managed to trouble Tim Erlandsson.

There were three changes from the side that beat Gainsborough Trinity at The Peninsula Stadium last Saturday, starting at left-back where Ibou Touray was back following his 3 match suspension. With Lois Maynard struggling for fitness following an injury Scott Burton was restored to the holding midfield pair alongside Gus Mafuta. Jack Redshaw was on the bench today with Mani Dieseruvwe spearheading the attack, supported by Josh Askew, Nick Haughton and Tom Walker.

The early stages of this game would provide few moments of excitement although home forward Daniel Nti found some space on the right-hand side of the area in the 6th minute. The shot had power and direction but clipped off a defender and was gathered comfortably enough by Erlandsson at his near post.

Salford’s first sniff of a goal came with a dozen minutes played as Haughton passed square from the left for Michael Nottingham. The Ammies’ right-back checked neatly inside a Tom Elliott challenge before hitting a 20-yarder from just right-of-centre that was straight at Ross Etheridge in the home goal.

The quiet start on the pitch was not mirrored off it as Salford’s travelling support serenaded their side form behind Etheridge’s goal. They would have something to celebrate before too long but Boro responded to Nottingham’s effort by launching an attack of their own. Elliott would be the pick of the home side’s players and from wide on the left and just inside Salford’s half he chipped a diagonal ball inside that dropped onto the edge of the penalty area. Ashley Chambers appeared to be in pole position for that one but the bounce prevented him from getting any real degree of control and visiting skipper Liam Hogan was able to get in a clearing challenge.

With 17 minutes played Nottingham’s nicely judged diagonal pass inside from the right found Walker who moved possession on for Haughton. A low, drilled ball into the middle looked likely to cause problems and Boro were fortunate to see the effort spin off one of their defenders and over the crossbar.

Salford were slowly but surely getting on top and they went ahead in the 19th minute. A darting run from HAUGHTON took him towards the penalty area before he was sent sprawling by an over enthusiastic challenge. A free-kick was awarded and the former Fleetwood man’s shot from just left-of-centre and 22 yards out dipped over the defensive wall before dropping low inside the motionless Etheridge’s right-hand upright.

A very decent finish from Haughton and although Nuneaton tried to find a quick response their occasionally neat football didn’t look particularly likely to puncture the Ammies’ defensive resolve.
On 25 minutes Luther Wildin’s pass from the right found Boro skipper Ryan Beswick in a little space but his ambitious 25-yarder was always rising and cleared the bar by a couple of yards.

The home side could muster little more against a Salford side who had a steely look about them this afternoon. Former Ammie loanee George Green was yellow-carded 11 minutes before the interval for
foul on Burton and his afternoon took a further downturn shortly afterwards. Having already required treatment on the pitch Green went down near the halfway line and this time the physio was on for nearly 5 minutes. In the end a stretcher was brought on and the unfortunate midfielder was given a generous ovation from both sets of supporters as he left the pitch with a suspected knee injury.

Play got back underway and in the 43rd minute Salford doubled their advantage, again courtesy of a set-piece. Walker’s free-kick from deep and wide on the left dropped into the penalty area where PIERGIANNI lost his marker to get in a header that from about 10 yards out that beat Etheridge at his right-hand post. A 3rd goal in 7 games for the former Boston United defender who couldn’t have picked a better time of the season to find his scoring form.

Already this looked like a very strong position for a Salford side who were conceding next to nothing at the other end. In the 1st of 7 minutes added on Walker almost added a third goal after moving inside from the right. A great touch took him inside Beswick’s challenge but the subsequent 20-yard left-footer dropped just outside Etheridge’s right-hand post.

Nuneaton needed a goal before half-time and 4 minutes into time added on Haughton was harshly penalised for handball after raising his arm to protect himself from a high challenge. Nti elected to have a go from 25 yards out but failed to keep the effort down anywhere near enough to trouble Erlandsson.
There was another set-piece for the Ammies to defend just before the half-time whistle and Beswick delivered from wide on the right and just inside the Salford half. Liam Hogan got up to meet the ball but it glanced off his head, dropping wide of the far post for a corner that was dealt with.

HALF TIME: NUNEATON TOWN 0 SALFORD CITY 2

Nuneaton did their best to apply pressure as the second half got underway but again the cutting edge was missing from their sometimes decent approach play. This quiet passage of play suited a Salford , happy to defend their two-goal advantage but keeper Erlandsson gave the visiting bench a moment of discomfort in the 52nd minute. With the ball at his feet and outside his box the Swedish custodian resisted the temptation to lump a clearance, preferring instead to turn inside the rapidly advancing Elliott’s challenge before finally playing the ball forward.

At the other end a couple of minutes later Askew’s persistence allowed him to get the better of Wildin, tight to the line on the left-hand side of the area. A low ball inside almost set up Dieseruvwe but Niall Heaton got in with a great blocking challenge at the expense of a corner. Walker delivered the set-piece from the left beyond the far post where Hogan placed a header back into the 6-yard box. Piergianni stretched to get his own head to the ball, doing well to get an effort on target but Etheridge was handily placed to raise his hands and pluck the ball out of the air.

Nuneaton had a good deal of possession after that but were still struggling to do anything much with it. In the 57th minute Elliott hoisted in a free-kick from the left with Erlandsson just about managing to palm away at his near post. Boro picked up the loose ball and this time Elliott popped up on the right, driving into the area before chipping a delicate cross just beyond the far post. Chambers managed to hook back into the middle but Salford’s defence once again held firm.

Generally Elliott looked like Nuneaton’s best bet if they were going to get back into this game. Substitute Kairo Mitchell was looking lively too and his touch into the box almost found Chambers, only for Hogan to get in an improvised block with his heels. Touray completed the clearance and it looked increasingly as if Boro’s afternoon would be a frustrating one.

Having absorbed a little pressure Salford were soon back in control of proceedings and as we entered the final 20 minutes Richie Allen and Anthony Dudley came on for Haughton and Askew respectively.

With 15 minutes left Elliott pushed Boro forward again, advancing to the edge of the box before playing a pass to the right for James Ferry. The low return ball was a good one but Elliott couldn’t get a good contact and his scuffed effort was efficiently cleared.

As we entered the final 10 minutes the Ammies were being pressed back a little and Ferry’s pass into the right-hand side of the box allowed Wildin to get away from Walker. Once again though the final delivery wasn’t quite good enough and Erlandsson was able to smother the ball inside his 6-yard box.

With 8 minutes left Walker produced a moment of real quality, sliding a low and perfectly judged pass through the middle of the home defence for Dieseruvwe to run on to. This looked as if it might be 3-0 but Etheridge did well, advancing quickly and getting down bravely to block the striker’s poked effort.

Boro hadn’t given up hope and Mitchell slipped a pass to Ferry, inside the box on the right. The powerfully struck rising drive that followed forced Erlandsson into a good save, diving to his right to push the ball away. In the penultimate minute Ferry and Billy Daniels combined to play in Elliott on the right but Piergianni was there to knock the cross behind for a corner.

That was about if for Nuneaton’s attacking efforts and it was Salford who pushed forward most during the 4 minutes of time added on. Substitute Mark Shelton’s low cross from the right was partially cleared by Wildin but Walker couldn’t get the ball to sit up for a shot. Another substitute, Richie Allen,
threatened next picking up Walker’s pass into the box on the left. From almost on the line Allen slammed in a low effort the to the near post where it was blocked by Etheridge.

NUNEATON TOWN 0 SALFORD CITY 2

On paper this was a tricky fixture for the Ammies but they rose the the challenge and did what they needed to do. At the bottom line the three points and two-goal winning margin is a case of “job done” but managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley will be pleased by the manner of this performance.
Salford looked strong, organised and focused this afternoon and against an in-form side with plenty of confidence they did a very professional job. Two good goals gave them a great advantage at the break and solid defending as a team unit prevented Nuneaton from creating the chances they needed to get back into contention.

Boro had plenty of possession at times yet failed to test Erlandsson nearly enough. Conversely Salford looked capable of creating a chance every time they got into the final third and on another day may have won even more convincingly.

Brackley’s defeat this afternoon distils the automatic promotion race into a two-horse affair and Harrogate – 2-0 winners at home to Southport today – will have fancied Nuneaton’s chances of putting a spoke in Salford’s wheel. That never really looked like happening and with 3 games to go the Ammies need 7 points to secure promotion for a third time in four seasons.

A tenth game unbeaten augurs well and even better, the last two of those included confidence boosting clean sheets.

The players and coaching staff took a deserved ovation from the travelling support who had urged them on loudly for 90 minutes – the spirit is there, the form is there and the desire is there...bring on Southport !

GOALS:
0-1 Nick HAUGHTON (19th min)
0-2 Carl PIERGIANNI (43rd min)
Attendance: 937

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