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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
12
Kyle Letheren
3
Ibou Touray
4
Oscar Threlkeld
5
Ash Eastham
11
Tom Elliott

Rooney 45+1'

17
Richie Towell
23
Nathan Pond (c)
28
Brandon Thomas-Asante

Burgess 80'

43
Darron Gibson
Yellow card for Darron Gibson
45
Ash Hunter
2 goals for Ash Hunter 2 goals for Ash Hunter
49
James Wilson

Baldwin 69'

Bradford City
1
Richard O'Donnell (c)
2
Kelvin Mellor

Donaldson 74'

5
Ben Richards-Everton
6
Anthony O'Connor
8
Jake Reeves
9
Lee Novak
19
Dylan Connolly
23
Connor Wood
26
Callum Cooke
27
Jamie Devitt

Pritchard 56'

32
Dylan Mottley-Henry

Middleton 46'

Substitutes
1
Chris Neal
9
Adam Rooney
15
Cameron Burgess
16
Jack Baldwin
26
Bruno Andrade
44
Craig Conway
Substitutes
31
Luke McGee
7
Harry Pritchard
10
Clayton Donaldson
14
Shay McCartan
20
Glen Middleton
21
Hope Akpan
22
Adam Henley
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Managers
Manager - Stuart McCall
Match Officals
Referee - Martin Coy
Assistant Referee - Conor Brown
Assistant Referee - Paul Newhouse
Fourth Official - David Hunt

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Match
Report

An impressive brace from in-form Ash Hunter handed Salford City a first home win in 7 outings. Fellow play-off contenders Bradford City were flattered by the final score, having barely mustered a threat after going behind in the 10th minute. This was a very good team performance from the Ammies and six points from two games might just provide the springboard for the type of run required to force a way into the top seven.

There was a change in personnel and formation today, with 3 in the centre of the park and two attacking players flanking a lone central striker. Bruno Andrade dropped down to the bench to accommodate the switch, with Tom Elliott restored to the starting XI in that attacking spearhead role.

The first 7 or 8 minutes would be as good as it would get for Bradford City. The visitors started brightly enough, with Dylan Connolly getting in a dangerous cross before the same player’s threatening run was curtailed by a solid Oscar Threlkeld challenge.

Early impetus for the Bantams but it soon fizzled out, with Salford grabbing a 10th minute lead. Darron Gibson would have a huge influence on the game and here he rolled a forward pass for HUNTER to collect. A quick turn and dart forward attracted no defensive reaction from Bradford and the Fleetwood loanee needed no second invitation. From nearly 30 yards out, and left-of-centre, he let fly with a real cracker that flashed inside the airborne but well beaten Richard O’Donnell’s right-hand post.

Another memorable goal to add to Ash’s burgeoning portfolio, and there would be more to come from him.

That goal settled the Ammies down and they began to keep possession, denying Bradford the opportunity to press forward. When the Bantams did manage to launch a rare attack, they generally ran into a solid red defensive wall.

In the 18th minute Connor Wood flighted in a decent cross from the left, with striker Lee Novak going to ground following pressure from Ibou Touray. There was half a shout from the Bradford City supporters gathered behind the opposite goal – and from Novak himself – but the referee wasn’t convinced.

Novak almost managed to escape the attention of Salford’s defence after 25 minutes, but his attempt to break clear was thwarted as Gibson got in a first-rate sliding challenge.

Chances had been rare during the first half, but on the half-hour Touray’s cross from the left found James Wilson at the near post only for his effort to go wide. Eight minutes before the break Brandon Asante could only lift a 20-yarder over the target.

At the other end Novak prodded on inside the box, but after a smart turn Dylan Mottley-Henry’s 10-yarder cleared the bar by some distance.

Salford looked assured in possession and carved out a good opportunity to double their lead in the 41st minute. A swift Ammie counter ended with Touray – having another good game – lofting in a cross that dropped just beyond the far post. Elliott got up higher than his marker but from 6 yards out could only get in a header that dropped over the bar. A couple of minutes later Wilson found space on the right to deliver a low cross, but a defender got in a vital touch to deny the sliding Asante.

Ammies’ manager Graham Alexander was forced into a change during first half time added on. Elliott went down heavily on the left touchline and after a little treatment had to leave the field, gingerly holding on to his injured arm. Adam Rooney was introduced into the fray in what was a like-for-like swap.

The last incident of note came when Mottley-Henry’s effort from inside the box was blocked by Touray.

HALF-TIME: SALFORD CITY 1 BRADFORD CITY 0

Bradford boss Stuart McCall made a change during the break, replacing Mottley-Henry with Glen Middleton. Things didn’t go to plan for the visitors though and they found themselves two down within a couple of minutes of the restart.

Alan Hansen would not have approved of Bradford’s defending, but once again the second goal was all about the direct effectiveness of Hunter. After picking up the ball wide on the left, just inside the Bantams’ half, he set off on a roughly diagonal run that too him towards the edge of the penalty area. First half defensive lessons had not been learned as the Bradford rearguard backed off, allowing HUNTER to place a sublime low 20-yarder just inside the despairing O’Donnell’s right-hand upright.
Three goals in two games for the new fans' favourite, and all of them belters.

In the 50th minute O’Donnell was forced to punch away a delivery into his area. The ball fell for Richie Towell and his effort from the edge of the box bounced on its way to being deflected away off the Bradford keeper. Hunter picked up possession at the left-hand angle of the area and his attempt to curl a shot inside the far post bounced off a Bradford head and away.

The Bantams looked disjointed and their attempts to find a way back into the game were foundering on a determined Salford defence. On the hour Connolly met a cross from the left with a header down and back inside. Jamie Devitt was there to collect but could only slam in a rising effort that failed to trouble Kyle Letheren.

With just over 20 minutes to play Jack Baldwin replaced Wilson and almost created a goal with his first touches of the afternoon. A right-footed cross from the left found the head of Rooney, back to goal, and he was unfortunate to see a glanced header drop just over the crossbar.

Bradford’s travelling support were getting restless, and their team’s afternoon was summed up in the 75th minute. Connolly looked likely to break through the middle, only for Touray to get across, muscle his opponent out of the way and shepherd the ball out for a goal kick. For most of the afternoon it had been the Ammies with the greater desire and appetite for hard work.

Salford were looking to rubber-stamp their authority with more goals and worked another opening 13 minutes from time. Touray’s corner on the right was nudged short to Hunter who got in a cross that dropped just over Nathan Pond in the middle. Bradford half cleared their lines and Gibson had a go from distance only for his effort to clear the crossbar comfortably.

There were a couple of late chances for the Bantams but they couldn’t take them and Salford almost extended their lead during time added on. Hunter’s low ball inside from the left sent Rooney clear, only for a tremendous nick-of-time challenge from Wood to deny him a shot on goal. The favour was returned soon afterwards as Rooney slid a diagonal pass inside from the right, playing Hunter through on goal. The hat-trick was on, but it wasn’t to be as an attempt to place a low finish past O’Donnell was deflected away off the keeper’s foot.

Bradford substitute Clayton Donaldson blazed over from an angle right at the death, but by that time the points were already wrapped up.

FULL TIME: SALFORD CITY 2 BRADFORD CITY 0

A very welcome 5th home win of the season for Salford City, and thoroughly deserved it was. After going ahead, the Ammies never really looked likely to relinquish their hold on the points. Bradford City had the odd opportunity here and there, but their performance lacked conviction in the face of opponents who denied them time and space. There can be no doubt that the better – and most committed – side won this afternoon.

With 9 games to play that 8-point gap to the play-off places still represents something of a challenge. There are signs though that Salford are finding form at the right time, and a winning run now might just do the trick. We shall see in due course, and the next installment comes at high-flying Exeter City next Saturday. Another 3 points there will really get the bandwagon rolling again…

Attendance: 3,443 (Including 1,345 Bradford City)

https://salfordcityfc.co.uk