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Team Sheet

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

Allen '59

10
Jack Redshaw

Phenix '70

11
Nick Haughton

Askew '59

Boston United
1
George Willis
Yellow card for George Willis
2
James Clifton

Middleton '83

3
Stephen Brogan
4
Andi Thanoj
5
Jordan Keane (c)
6
Ryan Qualter
7
Jonathan Wafula
1 goals for Jonathan Wafula
8
Brad Abbott
9
Reece Thompson
1 goals for Reece Thompson Yellow card for Reece Thompson

Igiehon '90+1

10
Kabongo Tshimanga

Smith '77

11
Ashley Hemmings
Substitutes
12
Scott Burton
14
Josh Askew
16
Anthony Dudley
17
Mike Phenix
18
Richie Allen
Substitutes
12
Jamie McGuire
13
Jon Stewart
14
Benny Igiehon
15
Ben Middleton
16
Gregg Smith
Managers
Joint Manager - Bernard Morley
Joint Manager - Anthony Johnson
Managers
Manager - Craig Elliott
Match Officals
Referee - Scott Simpson
Assistant Referee - Robert Hathaway
Assistant Referee - Steve Durnall

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Match
Report

It’s no great secret that football doesn’t follow scripts. It’s a sport that enjoys a wry chuckle when plans are made and likes nothing better than cruelly abducting already counted chickens. Salford City’s day of destiny ended in deserved success but only after they’d been outplayed for much of the afternoon by a Boston United side who had thumped second placed Harrogate Town in midweek. A chance perhaps for the North Yorkshire side to claw back half of Salford’s lead at the top today but Bradford Park Avenue’s 3-1 win put paid to their hopes of automatic promotion

Despite the result on the day the final whistle ushered in scenes of joy and ebullience at The Peninsula Stadium as supporters celebrated a third promotion in four years. It may have been a case of nerves for the Ammies this afternoon but it’s an inexorable fact that the league table doesn’t tell lies – if you finish top, it’s because you deserve it.

There was a single change from the side that won at Southport on Tuesday as Jack Redshaw replaced Josh Askew as the Ammies reverted to a 4-4-2 formation.

The signs were all good as the afternoon got underway. Unusually for this season the sky was blue and the sun was out, bathing a crowd who had, largely, turned out to cheer Salford City home.

The first 5 minutes or so were lively and relatively even with the first sniff of the day going to Salford.
Former Pilgrim Carl Piergianni’s up-and-under dropped from some considerable height into the right-hand side of Boston’s penalty area. Waiting for that one to drop was another former Boston man but Mani Dieseruvwe was beaten to the ball by George Willis who got up to punch clear.

At the other end, about 4 minutes later, Andi Thanoj’s shot from outside the box was charged down by a defender.

Nothing clear-cut but the game was already showing signs of being keenly contested. With 11 minutes played Salford were penalised for handball outside the penalty area and Thanoj lined up the free kick, almost 25 yards out and just left of centre. The shot was a decent one too, rising to just clear the defensive wall then dipping on its way to goal. Home keeper Tim Erlandsson moved to his right to stop and hold the ball without too much fuss but that was a signal of intent from the visitors.

The Pilgrims were slowly beginning to get on top, moving the ball around well and closing their opponents down quickly. For their part Salford were struggling to find any rhythm and it’s not unfair to say that they looked a little jittery when in possession.

United's Reece Thompson beat the offside trap to break clear on the left flank but Erlandsson had anticipated, racing out to clear with a nicely timed defensive challenge.

Boston were probing for a way through the home defence, using both flanks as well as looking to slip balls through the middle. The Ammies were defending well, but they needed to as their opponents took a grip on the game.

In the 19th minute home skipper Liam Hogan was booked for a foul on Kabonga Tshimanga with Ashley Hemmings delivering the free-kick from deep on the right. Erlandsson got up to punch clear and suddenly the break was on for Salford as Walker advanced on the right before switching play to the far side where Jack Redshaw harshly adjudged to be offside.

Down at the West Stand end Tshimanga did well to get to the line, on the right and inside the penalty area. A quick turn inside gave him space to work with but despite amber shirts arriving he could only roll in a pass that Michael Nottingham gratefully lumped clear.

Boston continued to dominate possession and midway through the first half Thanoj slipped a ball to the right for Thompson whose cross/shot was overhit. Salford broke courtesy of Walker who used the bounce of the ball to get away from Stephen Brogan before passing to the left where Nick Haughton had made his move into the area. A little flash of skill almost worked a shooting opportunity but a combination of Jonathan Wafula and Ryan Qualter blocked his progress at the expense of a corner.

That was the first time Salford had managed to put together a decent attacking move but the set-piece it earned came to nothing and 3 minutes later Boston were ahead. There was an element of fortune about the goal but even the most partisan of Salford fans couldn’t have argued that the Pilgrims weren't good value for it. Thanoj played a pass down the left and Thompson used his pace to drive forward before checking inside and rolling the ball to Tshimanga, just left of centre and perhaps fifteen or sixteen yards out. This was dangerous for the Ammies but it looked as if they would escape as the Boston forward miscued his shot, sending the ball spinning away to the left. Unfortunately for Salford Thompson was the one who picked it up and he promptly planted a well struck angled drive that beat Erlandsson on its way inside the far upright.

One-nil to Boston and although they hadn’t created too much from their lion’s share of possession the visitors merited that lead.

News had filtered through that Bradford Park Avenue had obligingly taken gone ahead against Harrogate and the majority of the 2,400 plus crowd waited for Salford to sweep forward and grab an equaliser.

It wasn’t to work out that way however as Boston refused to play second fiddle and they created another chance 13 minutes before the interval. Hemmings’ free-kick from very deep and right of centre dropped into the penalty area where defender Jordan Keane stretched to get a touch. He did well to get anywhere near but couldn’t do enough to trouble Erlandsson who was able to watch the ball drop wide of his left-hand post.

Within 60 seconds Hemmings was providing again, this time playing a cross-field pass to the right that found Tshimanga who cut inside along the edge of the box. Enough of a gap opened up for the Boston striker to try a shot but Piergianni reacted quickly to get in a block. A corner was the result and Hemmings delivery from the right dropped to the edge of the 6-yard box where Keane put in a header. The ball may have got a touch off Tshimanga that took it past Erlandsson but for now we’ll give the credit to KEANE.

Salford very much relying on “results elsewhere” at this point but they set about the task of pulling a goal back before half-time. Nine minutes before the break Walker’s free-kick from the left appeared to be on its way just beyond the far post but Willis elected to make sure, tipping the ball behind for a corner. Again Boston cleared the set-piece but this time the troublesome Thompson was penalised for a foul wide on Salford’s left. Walker floated the kick towards the far post but Hogan was always stretching to get in a header that dropped wide of the target.

That was about it for Salford’s attempts to make inroads into Boston’s lead prior to half-time but there was time for one more chance at the waste timother end. Full-back James Clifton attacked on the right and after jinking inside his cross-shot drifted wide of the far post.

HALF TIME: SALFORD CITY 0 BOSTON UNITED 2

Plenty for joint-managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley to discuss during the half-time break and their team was sent back out a little early for the second half. Over at the Horsfall Stadum Bradford PA were still one up against Harrogate but there was still a great deal to play for.

The Ammies had barely caused Wilis any concern so far but could have changed that within 4 minutes of the restart. A long ball to the edge of the area was chested down by Dieseruvwe for Maynard but the midfielder could only screw a 22-yarder well wide of the keeper's right-hand post.

Boston would show a tendency to dawdle during the second half and Willis was booked after using up a ludicrous amount of time to take a goal kick. Odd for a team who had been firmly on top to resort to such tactics relatively early but the Pilgrims harboured play-off ambitions of their own.

Salford still couldn’t exert any real concerted pressure on the United goal and a double-change was made just before the hour mark. Off went Haughton and Dieseruvwe with Richie Allen and Josh Askew coming on in their place.

The changes didn’t make an immediate impact as Boston were managing to slow the game down, denying Salford the opportunity to work up a head of steam. There was concern in the home areas of the ground but that turned to renewed hope and jubilation as news of Bradford’s second goal –vs- Harrogate came through.

Almost immediately the Ammies woke up and went close to halving Boston’s advantage midway through the second half. Walker did well to move inside across the edge of the area and even better to chip a pass into the path of Askew. From 15 yards out the former Blackburn Rovers man let fly with a firmly struck shot but Willis was behind that one all the way.

Better from Salford and 3 minutes later they managed to break down Boston’s resolute defence. Walker’s cross from the left was won by Piergianni, more or less on the penalty spot and his header back across goal dropped towards the post. MAYNARD was there, rising high to glance a downwards header that beat Willis at the upright and the Ammies were very much back in this game.

Three minutes later Salford were ever-so-nearly level as substitute Mike Phenix broke forward on the right before passing low into the area. Walker arrived on cue to hit a first-time left-footer that if anything he caught too well. The ball zipped arrow straight, passing no more than a foot outside Willis’ right-hand post.

Boston introduced beefy frontman Gregg Smith for Tshimanga with 14 to play and a couple of minutes later Gus Mafuta was yellow-carded for a foul on Thompson.

As we entered the final 10 minutes Harrogate were still two down at Bradford and despite Salford still trailing their supporters started to acclaim the promotion that was within touching distance.

Boston survived a penalty shout after Hogan appeared to have been fouled inside the area and more pressure was to follow. In the 82nd minute Michael Nottingham controlled the ball on his chest before advancing to swap passes with Walker on the right. With defenders closing in Salford’s right-back poked a pass towards the far post where Phenix slid in to knock the ball home for close range. Celebrations started in the stands but Phenix had already noticed that the assistant’s flag had been raised to rule his effort out.

Disappointment there, but surely Salford were home and dry? Anyone who followed the Ammies to Kidderminster a few weeks ago will know how quickly things can change and just to send a cloud over the horizon Harrogate pulled one back at Bradford…

The final few minutes would be frantic. Boston’s Thompson was finally yellow carded for his umpteenth transgression – both verbal and physical – of the afternoon and soon after Salford had another penalty claim waved away. Three minutes from time Mafuta seemed to clip Thompson on Boston’s left and with the striker down and writhing the referee brandished a second yellow to leave Salford one man short. Both bookings looked a trifle soft, but don’t worry about Thompson – he was soon up an about again with – thankfully – no sign of injury.

News spread rapidly that Harrogate had conceded a third at Bradford and the Ammies now had one foot – and most of the other one – in the National division. Could they snatch a late equaliser to drop a luscious cherry on top of a particularly splendid cake?

The Pilgrims had marred an otherwise impressive performance with some pretty obvious timewasting during the second half so it was good to see the referee indicate 6 minutes of time to be added on. Three minutes into that Walker was fouled by Brogan and his curling free-kick deceived Willis only to come back off the base of the keeper’s right-hand post.

A big escape for Boston and there were more yet to come. During the penultimate minute the Ammies were throwing everyone forward and during a melee in the box Piergianni’s header fell for Hogan whose poked effort was brilliantly saved by Willis. Seconds later the keeper repeated that feat, somehow saving from Richie Allen with the ball appearing to bounce to safety off his head.

When the final whistle came it had the rare effect of leaving both sets of supporters very happy indeed. The travelling Boston fans who had backed their club vocally all afternoon acclaimed their side’s efforts and well they might. From all other sides of the ground Salford supporters made their way onto the pitch to celebrate promotion in time honoured football fashion.

SALFORD CITY 1 BOSTON UNITED 2

Not the performance, for 70 minutes at least, or the result on the day that anybody connected with Salford City FC would have wanted. Having said that, last year we completed our home league programme with a superb 5-1 demolition of Darlington only to run head first into play-off heartbreak. I know which scenario I prefer...

This is just 1 day out of 42 and the Ammies could be forgiven for letting the occasion get to them a little. The best team wins the league, that can’t be denied and although it would have been nice to have wrapped up promotion with a win, today’s result does not really detract anything from the achievements of this season.

Opponents often throw accusations of buying success at Salford City FC and of course the investment had been critical to the club’s recent rise through the ranks. Nobody would pretend otherwise but it is also true that money does not guarantee success and the Ammies have secured three promotions during the last four seasons. That is remarkable by anybody’s standards and the management team deserve to be lauded for their achievements. You may be fortunate enough to assemble quality players but they still need to be organised and instilled with the spirit, passion and belief that underpins footballing success. The road to managerial glory – a long and twisty one - is littered with numerous casualties at all levels who threw money at their squad yet ended up empty-handed.

The Ammies march on to the highest step of the English non-league game and are just one more promotion away from representing the city of Salford in the Football League. Unthinkable stuff just a few short years ago and that situation is a credit to everyone involved at the club.

For the moment though the plaudits go to the players, coaches, medical staff and kit man who have written another glorious chapter in the club’s history.

Onwards and Upwards, but first it's a final day trip to Leamington...

GOALS:
0-1 Reece THOMPSON (27th min)
0-2 Jordan KEANE (34th min)
1-2 Lois MAYNARD (70th min)

Attendance: 2,446

https://salfordcityfc.co.uk