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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman

Walker '69

3
Ibou Touray
4
Gus Mafuta
5
Liam Hogan (c)
6
Carl Piergianni
8
Lois Maynard
9
Adam Rooney
15
Devonte Redmond

Gaffney '46

20
Mani Dieseruvwe

Green '69

23
Nathan Pond
AFC Fylde
1
Jay Lynch
3
Zaine Francis-Angol
4
Neill Byrne (c)
5
Jordan Tunnicliffe
6
Andy Bond
8
Ryan Croasdale
9
Danny Rowe

Odusina '90+3

12
Luke Burke
15
Dan Bradley
29
Lewis Walters

Philliskirk '74

30
Alex Reid
1 goals for Alex Reid

Haughton '88

Substitutes
12
Max Crocombe
7
Matt Green
11
Tom Walker
24
Amine Linganzi
30
Rory Gaffney
Substitutes
7
James Hardy
10
Danny Philliskirk
18
Timi Odusina
20
Serhat Tasdemir
27
Nick Haughton
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Managers
Manager - Dave Challinor
Match Officals
Referee - Sam Purkiss
Assistant Referee - Blake Antrobus
Assistant Referee - Robert Wainwright
Fourth Official - Ben Tomlinson

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Match
Report

Salford City’s hopes of automatic promotion hang by the slenderest of threads this evening after AFC Fylde hung on to record a 1-0 win at The Peninsula Stadium. It was Alex Reid who scored the only goal of the game, but a more familiar face contributed even more to the Ammies’ first defeat in eleven games. Keeper Jay Lynch racked up more than 125 appearances in a Salford City shirt and he pulled off three top-drawer second half saves today, to thwart his old club. Hopes now hang on Orient falling to what would be a surprise defeat to already relegated Braintree Town on Saturday, with Graham Alexander’s team still needing a big enough win at Hartlepool to turn the goal difference gap around.

A sunny Easter Monday in Salford and there was one change to the side that beat Boreham Wood on Good Friday. Lois Maynard missed that game due to illness, returning to claim his place in a three-man midfield. Amine Linganzi had to be content with a place on the bench whilst Danny Whitehead was omitted from the sixteen-man squad.

A crowd in excess of three thousand had assembled for this crucial bank-holiday fixture and they witnessed a tight start to the proceedings. Both sides tried to play the ball around but neither defence looked to be in a particularly accommodating mood.

The afternoon’s first opportunity of note took ten minutes to arrive and it went to the Coasters. Dan Bradley had a go from nearly thirty yards out, right-of-centre, only for his effort to clear the crossbar by a few yards. Salford responded with a shot of their own but after advancing through the inside right channel skipper Liam Hogan couldn’t keep his twenty-five yarder down.

A long-range chance apiece, but Salford were seeing more of the ball in attacking positions. Ibou Touray’s cross from the left was nodded back inside by Hogan yet no red shirt could get close enough to test Lynch. Fylde responded courtesy of Andy Bond who collected a long pass from Ryan Croasdale before hitting a half-volley that Neal saved comfortably.

Back down at the school end Touray whipped in another delivery from the left, and this time Adam Rooney got his head to it. Salford’s top-scorer had to adjust his position to make that contact, succeeding only in heading the ball down and into the safe hands of Lynch.

The game was opening up after that cagey start and it was Salford who looked most likely to grab a goal. A Touray corner from the right was headed down by Mani Dieseruvwe at the far post, with Rooney getting a touch that was deflected behind. Once again Touray delivered from the right, with Dieseruvwe getting up to glance a header that dropped beyond the far post.

The Ammies were getting on top, but AFC Fylde’s defence was proving to be a tough nut to crack. On twenty-eight minutes the home side forced another corner on their right, with Touray touching short to Devonte Redmond. The cross was a good one, but Dieseruvwe couldn’t quite make contact with a diving header on the edge of the six-yard box.

The Coasters had been relatively quiet for a while, but what would prove to be the decisive goal went their way fourteen minutes before half-time. Niall Byrne’s cross-field ball picked out Bond whose shot hit Carl Piergianni before dropping for REID. After taking a touch the former Stevenage forward hit a low twenty-yarder from right-of-centre and the effort beat Chris Neal’s despairing dive on its way into his bottom left-hand corner.

A big blow for Salford who had been the dominant force so far, but there was plenty of time to put it right. Hogan’s ball forward was headed on by Dieseruvwe only for Lynch to make the catch look simple.

For their part Fylde were looking for a second goal before the interval and Danny Rowe turned, well left-of-centre before drilling a low 30-yarder wide of the far post.

Dieseruvwe cut into the area from the left after that yet could only slam a low shot straight at Byrne. During time added on Mafuta tried his luck, but found it was out as his shot dragged wide of the target.

HALF-TIME: SALFORD CITY 0 AFC FYLDE 1

There was a change for Salford at half-time, with Rory Gaffney coming on in place of Redmond. The Irishman was soon getting involved, making ground on the right before swinging in a very decent cross. Nobody got onto the end of that one, but the Ammies had emerged for the second half with a real sense of purpose.

The Coasters were defending well though, and an eye certainly had to be kept on their counter-attacks. On fifty-three minutes Rowe’s low effort from twenty-two yards flashed across the area and wide of Neal’s left-hand upright. Fylde pushed forward from the goal-kick, with Reid delivering a left-footed cross from the right, aimed towards the far post. Rowe was on the end of it, getting in an angled header that Neal managed to save and hold just inside the upright.

Bradley was next to threaten for the Coasters, setting off on a run that took him into the right-hand side of the box and almost to the line. He did well to lift a close-range effort on goal from that very tight angle, but Neal wasn’t caught out, stretching to clutch the ball above his head.

A good spell for the visitors and they continued to probe for a while, culminating in a Lewis Walters shot from the edge of the box that cleared the bar.

Salford needed a goal and would spend much of the last twenty-five minutes trying to find one. Nathan Pond lifted a long ball into the Coasters’ penalty area, with Jordan Tunnicliffe getting in a clearing header away to the left. Maynard chased after the ball, hooking in a cross that Dieseruvwe nodded towards goal, with Rooney just failing to hook in a shot.

Better from the Ammies and Pond lofted another long ball from the right into the penalty area. This one was headed clear, with Gus Mafuta hitting an effort from distance that soared over the crossbar.

Graham Alexander felt the need to shuffle his pack again with just over twenty minutes left, bringing on Matt Green and Tom Walker for Dieseruvwe and Scott Wiseman.

Those two substitutes combined within a minute of being introduced as Green nudged a pass to Walker on the left. The cross that followed was a belter and Gaffney met it just outside the 6-yard box with a bullet header that looked destined to level the scores. Coasters’ keeper Lynch had other ideas, displaying finely honed instincts as he brilliantly palmed the ball away to safety.

Salford won a free-kick with sixteen minutes left but Walker’s delivery spun off the head of a defender in the two-man wall, dropping out for a corner. The delivery came in from the left, eventually falling for Mafuta who hit a goalbound shot that Lynch somehow managed to tip behind his left-hand post. A penalty shout was ignored after Hogan appeared to be shoved – the second time Salford were denied after Maynard had been pushed inside the box a few minutes before.

The Ammies rolled forward again with Hogan on the right, and his ball into the box was cleared before possession fell for Green on the far side. This was a golden opportunity, but Lynch was at his best again, positioning himself perfectly to block the eight-yard effort at the expense of nothing more than a corner.

A sequence of chances that should have produced an equaliser – at least – but Salford were still trailing, with time running ominously short. Fylde continued to look dangerous when they got men forward and Rowe tried another low twenty-five yarder that went straight through to Neal. The arch-marksman was involved again within sixty seconds, playing a ball into the box for Bradley. More danger for Salford but Pond got there first to usher the ball back to Neal.

Back at the other end Mafuta advanced on a right-of-centre run but with space opening up for him could only let fly with a rising effort that failed to trouble Lynch.

There were more opportunities for Fylde next, as Danny Philliskirk’s twenty-five yarder spun off Reid and out for a goal-kick. Soon afterwards Rowe threaded a pass into the box for Croasdale but Pond did just enough and Neal hurriedly smothered the loose ball.

Another familiar face – Nick Haughton – came on for Reid with a few minutes left and the next chance of the afternoon went to him, during the first minute of five added on. The midfielder dropped a shoulder to get past a Salford defender only for a deflection to take the sting out of a low shot that Neal gathered. Haughton had another sight of goal within a minute, after Pond wrestled possession away from Rowe inside the area. Mafuta picked up the ball only for the determined Rowe to nudge it away from him, with Haughton on hand to hit an angled shot from the left that Neal saved.

Salford were still looking for that ever-so-elusive equaliser, with Maynard meeting Hogan’s long throw from the right only to plant his header wide of the target.

There was time for no more and a long season now looks almost certain to finish with the club’s third play-off in four seasons.

FULL-TIME: SALFORD CITY 0 AFC FYLDE 1

A first league defeat in eleven outings for Salford City who had not been beaten since Eastleigh’s win at The Peninsula Stadium back in the chilly days of February.

A great run of form that briefly lifted the Ammies back to the National League’s summit, yet now it looks as if automatic promotion might just have slipped beyond their reach. It’s not over yet however, and the destination of the title will only be decided for sure on the regular season’s final day.

Not the best performance of the season from Salford, that's for sure, but focus must be maintained for the challenges ahead.

The Ammies must travel to play Hartlepool United on Saturday, looking for a hefty win just in case Orient slip up at home to Braintree Town. This is football after all, and stranger things have happened…

Attendance: 3,338 (223 from AFC Fylde)

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