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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Port Vale
1
Scott Brown
4
Luke Joyce
5
Leon Legge (c)
6
Nathan Smith
7
David Worrall
10
Tom Conlon
11
Cristian Montano
1 goals for Cristian Montano
17
Mitch Clark
18
Danny Whitehead

Brisley 90+4'

21
Devante Rodney
Yellow card for Devante Rodney

Robinson 79'

24
David Fitzpatrick
Salford City FC
1
Vaclav Hladky
3
Ibou Touray
4
Jason Lowe
5
Ash Eastham (c)
8
Darron Gibson

Denny 68'

10
Ash Hunter
11
Bruno Andrade

Thomas-Asante 60'

16
Jordan Turnbull
19
James Wilson
32
Tylor Golden
40
Ian Henderson

Elliott 89'

Substitutes
30
Dino Visser
3
Adam Crookes
9
Tom Pope
12
Theo Robinson
16
Shaun Brisley
20
Scott Burgess
Substitutes
31
Hayden Evans
6
Tom Clarke
7
Luke Armstrong
9
Tom Elliott
18
Oscar Threlkeld
28
Alex Denny
37
Brandon Thomas-Asante
Managers
Manager - John Askey
Managers
Interim Head Coach - Paul Scholes
Match Officals
Referee - James Adcock
Assistant Referee - Marvyn Amphlett
Assistant Referee - Danny Gratton
Fourth Official - Anthony Moore

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Match
Report

A goal scored 4 minutes from time consigned Salford City to their first league defeat of the season, and a first on the road since losing at Grimsby on the opening day of the year. Ian Henderson had a penalty saved before half-time but despite a few spells on the front foot the Ammies never really clicked into their best attacking form. A point apiece would probably have been a fair reward for these two sides, but that late strike settled matters in Port Vale’s favour. Not a great afternoon for the City of Salford, with the Red Devils losing their Rugby League Challenge Cup Final by the odd point in 33 at a fan-free Wembley.

Interim manager Paul Scholes made just one change to the side that drew with Tranmere Rovers last Saturday, with injured Richie Towell replaced in midfield by Bruno Andrade in a 4-4-2 formation.

The Ammies started their afternoon reasonably well, forcing three corners during the opening minutes. The home side dealt with all of them competently enough and then were the first to create a chance worthy of note. In the 6th minute David Worrall crossed from the right, finding Cristian Montaño in some space, about 12 yards out. The ball came off the top of the Colombian striker’s head before being ushered out for a corner that was played short from the left to Devante Rodney. The former Ammie frontman cut inside to the edge of the box before having a shot on goal blocked. The ball went loose, falling nicely for defender Nathan Smith whose low effort from just inside the box took a deflection before being saved low to his left by Václav Hladký.

A feature of this game would be the two sides enjoying relatively brief spells on the front foot, with neither really taking it by the scruff of the neck.

A decent ball down the left from Leon Legge sent Montaño on a run, but he could only prod a shot wide of the far upright.

Salford’s turn next as Darron Gibson’s hooked pass from the right-back position dropped for Ash Hunter on the far side. A typical advance followed, complete with cut inside, but on this occasion the former Fleetwood man could only drill a low 22-yard effort at home keeper Scott Brown.

There was another opening for the visitors in the 14th minute as Hunter, Henderson and James Wilson swapped neat passes on the left-hand side of Vale’s penalty area. Once again Hunter tried his luck from the angle, but this time the ball dropped harmlessly wide of the far post.

Hunter was at it again seconds later, advancing from deep on a central run. Wilson was poised to break into space but the attempted through-ball was cut out by a defender.

Rodney was booked for a rather nasty challenge on Tylor Golden after that, but the free-kick came to nothing and the next chance went to the Valiants. A ball out to the left found Montaño who was initially held up by a decent challenge from Golden. Fortune was with the Vale forward as he regained control of the ball before heading towards the edge of the area on a diagonal run. With Ash Eastham and Gibson in his path, Montaño elected to shoot, but the effort lacked power and was easily saved by Hladký.

Recent signs have suggested that Salford striker Wilson has been getting his sights in recently, and he slammed in an effort from distance on the left. It was a good attempt, forcing Brown to get down and save at his near post before safely gathering the loose ball.

Once more the balance swung back to Vale for a bit, and midway through the half Rodney’s cross from the left glanced off Smith’s head just inside the area. The ball rebounded back off teammate Montaño, with Smith hitting a rising first-time 16-yarder that cleared the crossbar.

Minutes later the tricky Worrall did well on the right, slipping a pass inside to Montaño, just outside the area and right of centre. A composed left-footed effort was on course to drop under the bar until Hladký sprang to his right to tip the ball behind for a corner.

The Ammies had probably seen more of the ball than their opponents, yet at this stage it was Vale who had the edge in terms of decent openings. In the 28th minute Worrall clipped a pass inside from the left, with Montaño wriggling into the box before laying a pass into the path of another former Ammie, Danny Whitehead, 18 yards out. This was a very decent opportunity for the midfielder to make a mark against his previous employers, but the low shot lacked conviction and was straight at the keeper.

A minute or so later Whitehead posed another threat, attempting to latch onto David Fitzpatrick’s ball through the inside-left channel, only to be thwarted by the rapidly advancing Hladký.

A few chances for each side so far, but none had been taken and the game was yet to ignite. That almost changed 8 minutes before half-time after Ibou Touray darted to the line on the left before pulling a pass back to the edge of the 6-yard box. Henderson nipped in ahead of Legge who clumsily tripped Salford’s current top scorer. The referee pointed at the spot and so clear-cut was the decision that Port Vale’s players barely bothered to lodge a protest between them.

Henderson hasn’t been at the Peninsula Stadium long, yet your average Ammie might have been tempted to bet his house on this penalty hitting the back of the net. Somewhere to spend the night would have become a priority if they had as Brown dived to the left to parry a so-so effort. A good save from the keeper who did well to regain his feet, yet with the ball dropping right back to Henderson it looked as if the opening goal would still be scored. No again, as the experienced finisher somehow managed to lift his follow-up effort over crossbar from 6-yards out.

A great chance gone, but the Ammies appeared unaffected and continued to press forward. In the 42nd minute Henderson did well on the right, holding possession well then sending Wilson away on a run up the flank. Two challenges were evaded with aplomb before a neat pass inside picked out Andrade on the edge of the box. A little bit of twisting and turning took the ex-Lincoln man closer to goal but he ran into trouble, with the referee rightly ignoring his claim for a foul.

The half ended with a chance for Port Vale, crafted by Worrall who pushed forward on the right prior to slipping the ball inside. Whitehead was the recipient, 15 yards out, but again he didn’t get ideal contact as his shot clipped of Eastham before being collected by Hladký.

HALF-TIME: PORT VALE 0 SALFORD CITY 0

A decent, even first-half and Salford would look lively as the second got underway. Three minutes after the restart Wilson slid a right-of-centre pass through to Hunter who was prevented from getting in a shot by a good Legge challenge.

The Vale skipper would do well again 5 minutes later after Hunter’s advance was finished off by a pass to Henderson, who in turn nudged to the ball left. Touray arrived on the run but his effort from an angle was deflected wide of the target following another timely Legge challenge.

For Vale, Whitehead’s cross was headed over by Smith while at the other end Wilson’s forward pass found Andrade whose 22-yarder flashed past Brown’s left-hand post.
A decent effort but that would be Andrade’s last contribution to the game as he was replaced by Brandon Thomas-Asante for the final half-hour.

Within a minute of that change Salford required another after experienced midfielder Gibson went down following a seemingly innocuous challenge. It was obvious that the Irish international was in a fair degree of pain and play was held up for 7 minutes before he could be stretchered off the pitch.

A blow for the Ammies and when play resumed ex-Evertonian Alex Denny had been introduced into the midfield in place of the unfortunate Gibson.

With play underway it was Vale who provided the next threat, again courtesy of Worrall who played a pass inside from the right. Whitehead was on the end of it, but once again couldn’t take advantage as his low effort was pushed around the post by Hladký. Next up was Montaño who collected Whitehead’s pass from the left only to shoot well wide of the far upright.

Montaño had been quieter during the second half yet would make his mark on the game later. For now, it was Salford who took up the attacking baton and in the 74th minute they should have gone ahead. Golden’s pass up the right sent Thomas-Asante to the line and he dropped a peach of a cross to the edge of the 6-yard box. Wilson was on the end of it, getting in a firm header that appeared to be goal-bound until Brown pulled off a remarkable mid-air save, diving to his right to push the ball safely away.

Another glorious chance to break the deadlock, but it had gone begging, leaving the 3 points very much up for grabs. A minute or so later Wilson had another go, from about 30 yards out, but this time the low left-footer proved easier for Brown to deal with.

With 11 minutes to play Theo Robinson replaced Rodney for Vale, and that change would prove a key one. Once again though, it was Salford who exerted a spell of pressure, although a Hunter corner that drifted out of play summed up their luck from set-pieces.

With 7 minutes left Salford went agonisingly close again, after Hunter pushed forward before releasing a pass to Thomas-Asante. The substitute has gone a while without a goal but very nearly cracked it here, cutting inside along the edge of the box before launching a vicious, dipping drive that had Brown worried before it dropped just over the bar.

For Vale, Leicester loanee Mitch Clark moved inside from the left but couldn’t keep his 22-yard left-footer down. The home side would do rather better within another minute after substitute Robinson pushed forward on the left before crossing towards the far side of the box. Worrall got up to head back inside and MONTANO powered in a rising 12-yarder that gave Hladký no chance at all.

A tough one to take for Salford after their recent near misses and in the penultimate minute of the 90 Tom Elliott came on for Henderson. Hunter tried his luck from left of centre but could only lift his 18-yarder extravagantly high and wide of the target.

The Ammies had no choice but to press, and in the 1st of 8 added minutes Hunter crossed from the right, with the ball dropping to the edge of Vale’s 6-yard box. Wilson was closing in but Legge was composed enough to direct the ball behind for a corner that yet again failed to cause any defensive problems.

The Valiants did a good job of running time down for a while, and there were only a couple of minutes left to play when Salford managed to create a chance. Golden again sent Thomas-Asante away on a right flank run but his low ball to the near post was knocked clear by a defender. A Hunter corner from the left was headed clear at the near post after that as the Ammies cranked up the pressure.

With time running out Elliott cut inside from the left and his cross flicked up across the front of goal, evading Brown but not getting a touch from anyone else. Seconds later a lobbed ball dropped into the right-hand side of the area, with Thomas-Asante getting there before Brown to poke the ball towards goal. The effort lacked any pace and Fitzpatrick was able to intercept and clear before another red shirt could get there.

Salford were awarded a free-kick in the last of those added minutes, but Hunter’s effort from 22 yards and just left of centre dropped over the bar without causing Brown any concern.

FULL-TIME: PORT VALE 1 SALFORD CITY 0

A disappointing afternoon for Paul Scholes and his new charges, with a first league defeat of 2020-2021 recorded. Looking back over the course of the 90 minutes the Ammies had some great chances to score – particularly Henderson’s penalty and Wilson’s header – and will feel with some justification that they deserved at least a share of the spoils.

It wasn’t to be, but with consecutive home games to come, the interim manager will be looking to get 6 points on the board. It looks as if those points will have to be earned without the assistance of Darron Gibson, but for now we hope that his injury isn’t as severe as it looked at the time.

This one may have to be filed as “one of those days” and we must hope that there aren’t too many of those to come this season.

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