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A fine first-half strike from Ryan Hedges settled this pre-season friendly in the favour of League One Barnsley. This was however a creditable performance from the Ammies who worked tremendously hard throughout the 90 minutes and manager Graham Alexander will be encouraged by the quality of the football and chances created.

Another hot summer’s afternoon but the conditions didn’t discourage expansive early football. During the first few minutes Barnsley’s Kieffer Moore failed to hit the target and for the home side Rory Gaffney forced a save out of Adam Davies at his near post.

Barnsley went close in the 9th minute when an Alex Mowatt corner was flicked on by Mamadou Thiam only for the ball to drop inches wide of the post.

The neat football on display wasn’t quite translating into opportunities but the Ammies almost created something just before the quarter hour. Nick Haughton’s free-kick from the right found Carl Piergianni but any danger to Davies’ goal was snuffed out as the ball struck Gaffney.

The visitors had to replace Liam Lindsay and keeper Davies midway through the first-half as both picked up knocks. A disruption but they shrugged it off and were soon applying more pressure. Zeki Fryers slammed a shot over the bar in the 28th minute and from their next attack Barnsley went ahead. A long pass from right to left found HEDGES in space and he carried possession into the area, dodged around Scott Wiseman then curled a great 15-yarder into the far top corner.

A superb finish that gave Max Crocombe no chance but there was another knock for Barnsley to contend with 10 minutes before half-time. It was Fryers this time, suffering what looked like a foot or ankle injury and he was replaced by Brad Potts.

A Haughton free-kick was just too high for Liam Hogan & Piergianni then for Barnsley Victor Adeboyego headed wide when well placed.

The first half finished with the visitors almost extending their lead after Moore’s shot was parried by Crocombe. The ball dropped invitingly for Hedges who accepted the invitation with some aplomb, hitting a cracking 20-yard volley that crashed onto the crossbar.

HALF TIME: SALFORD CITY 0 BARNSLEY 1

It was all-change for Barnsley as the second half got underway but the first chance after the restart went their way. George Moncur’s corner was met by Ethan Pinnock but his header dropped inches over the bar.

Salford went even closer in the 50th minute when Hogan got up to meet Haughton’s corner and his bullet header came back off the bar. That chance ushered in a very decent spell for the home side and Haughton was soon causing problems again. This time he slipped a clever pass into the box for Gaffney but his attempt to get in a shot was thwarted by a splendid defensive block from Pinnock.

Devante Rodney used his pace to make a break on the left but his cross was just too high for Danny Whitehead, arriving in the middle. There was better to come for Salford and in the 59th minute Lois Maynard’s forward pass from midfield was controlled and nudged out to the left by Whitehead. Haughton picked up possession and cut in along the outside of the box before letting fly with a powerful rising drive that forced Jack Walton into a great save, diving to push the ball one-handed over the bar.

The levels of pace and inventiveness dropped off a little as the game entered its final quarter although Moncur tried his luck with a low effort from distance. That one went wide and with 14 minutes to play Salford almost retaliated with a leveller. Anthony Dudley touched a forward ball to the left and suddenly Whitehead had acres of space to advance into. With no defender in sight he got into the area but could only drag a low left-footed effort wide of the far post.

The woodwork denied a goal for the third time with 86 minutes played after Adeboyejo’s driving run on the right. The cut-back was perfect for Moncur but his 15-yarder from right-of-centre came back off Crocombe’s left-hand upright.

SALFORD CITY 0 BARNSLEY 1

Another useful preparation game for Salford who could well have got a draw against a side who had demolished York City 7-1 during the previous midweek. The progress made since the pre-season opened just 8 days ago is undeniable, the levels of energy are impressive and the quality of football is very encouraging. The plan is emerging…

Next up is a long trip to Surrey next Saturday as the Ammies play their next friendly game at Woking.

Salford City (All Blue): Max Crocombe, Scott Wiseman (Trialist 1 74), Ibou Touray (Trialist 2 74), Lois Maynard (Ash Hemmings 77), Liam Hogan (c) (Jake Lawlor 74), Carl Piergianni, Danny Whitehead (Brandon Lockett 82), Gus Mafuta (Mark Shelton 70), Rory Gaffney (Anthony Dudley 70), Devante Rodney (Jake Beesley 70), Nick Haughton (Kieran Glynn 82)

Barnsley 1st Half (white/green/white): Adam Davies (Jack Walton 24), Dimitri Cavare, Ethan Pinnock, Liam Lindsay (Will Smith 22) , Dani Pinillos, Victor Adeboyejo, Alex Mowatt, Zeki Fryers (Brad Potts 35), Ryan Hedges, Kieffer Moore, Mamadou Thiam

Barnsley 2nd Half: Jack Walton, Jason McCarthy, Will Smith, Ben Williams, Ethan Pinnock, Lloyd Isgrove,
Brad Potts, Dani Pinillos, Dylan Mottley-Henry, George Moncur, Victor Adeboyejo

Referee: Nik Storey
Assistants: Anthony Moore & Darren Brown

Attendance: 921

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