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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
6
Carl Piergianni
7
Nick Haughton
Yellow card for Nick Haughton

Walker '73

8
Lois Maynard
9
Adam Rooney (c)
2 goals for Adam Rooney (c) 2 goals for Adam Rooney (c)
10
Danny Lloyd

Hogan '85

18
Danny Whitehead
23
Nathan Pond
30
Rory Gaffney
FC Halifax Town
1
Sam Johnson
2
Michael Duckworth
4
Nathan Clarke
5
Matthew Brown (c)
7
Matthew Kosylo
1 goals for Matthew Kosylo

Preston '79

9
Dayle Southwell
10
Jonathan Edwards
14
Ben Tomlinson
Yellow card for Ben Tomlinson

McLeod '90

16
Simon Lenighan

King '83

31
Niall Maher
40
Jacob Hanson
Substitutes
4
Gus Mafuta
5
Liam Hogan
11
Tom Walker
12
Max Crocombe
21
Devante Rodney
Substitutes
8
Cameron King
11
Smani Odelusi
19
Jordan Preston
21
Shaun Rowley
22
Mekhi McLeod
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Managers
Manager - Jamie Fullarton
Match Officals
Referee - Andrew Miller
Assistant Referee - Andrew Dallison
Assistant Referee - Daniel Locked
Fourth Official - Neil Evans

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Match
Report

Two quality strikes from summer signing Adam Rooney propelled Salford City to their first ever Step One win. It was the first time they’d ever come out on top against Halifax too, with just three draws to show from the previous eight league and play-off meetings. It was a deserved three points for the Ammies as they shook off a disappointing start to their campaign with a much improved performance.

Manager Graham Alexander made a couple of changes from the side that lost in disappointing fashion at Sutton on Saturday. Nathan Pond made his Salford debut alongside Carl Piergianni at the back with skipper Liam Hogan making way. Further upfield Nick Haughton was restored to the starting eleven with Gus Mafuta dropping to the bench. Danny Lloyd was back too following his recovery from injury, replacing Mark Shelton.

The two sides sounded each-other out during the opening stages although the Shaymen won a couple of free-kicks. The first was claimed by Chris Neal in the home goal and the second fell for Matthew Kosylo who volleyed over the target.

Nothing too dramatic so far but the first determined attack of the evening would produce its first goal. Lloyd found space on the right to deliver a good cross towards the edge of the 6-yard box where Rooney met the ball with a downwards header. Sam Johnson spread himself well to deflect that one away but there was little he could do seconds later. The Ammies held on to possession with Haughton taking his time before launching a great cross from the left. ROONEY was on the end of this one too, moving intelligently then glancing a header across the Halifax keeper and inside the far post.

A lovely finish from the former Aberdeen striker and there would be even better to come from him later.

The Ammies had relinquished leads in all three of their previous games but this time they looked fairly comfortable after Rooney’s 2nd goal of the season. They won a free-kick and a corner following some decent possession, with Halifax struggling to make much attacking impact for a while.

With 19 minutes played Haughton tried a low shot from wide on the left but Johnson wasn’t too be deceived, crouching to collect the ball safely.

Kosylo has usually enjoyed himself in games against Salford and his break from midfield looked like it might trouble the home defence. Progress was curtailed by a Haughton trip and the Salford man was awarded the first yellow card of the night. Dayle Southwell lined up the free-kick that followed and his strike from 25 yards and right-of-centre was a decent one. Neal moved across to his left-hand post but spilled the ball as Ben Tomlinson closed in. The angle was tight for the Halifax man and he was unable to turn the chance home, with a defender whacking the loose ball clear.

Otherwise it was Salford who looked the sharper attacking force and midway through the first half Haughton dusted off his repertoire of skills to turn impressively inside from the left. A pass to Lloyd followed and he slid a through-ball into the path of Rooney, just outside the penalty area. The subsequent shot looked to be on target but it took a deflection off a defender before dropping just outside Johnson’s left-hand upright.

Halifax hadn’t found too much fluency once they crossed the halfway line but in the 27th minute a ball dropping into the box almost found Kosylo. Scott Wiseman got across to nick possession away just in time and a couple of minutes later Tomlinson was booked for a foul on Ibou Touray wide on Salford’s left.

Not too many chances being created now although just past the hour Lloyd tried his luck from distance only to see his effort clear the crossbar.

The Shaymen found a little rhythm as the interval approached and Kosylo’s surging run on the left was followed by a tempting little ball towards the near post. That could have been dangerous for Salford but Jonathan Edwards’ first touch was poor, allowing Neal to collect the ball safely.

What would be Town’s best chance of the first half came along 4 minutes before the break. Southwell picked up a throw-in from the left and a spot of powerful running took him into the penalty area. A low, angled shot was to follow but Neal had advanced and positioned himself well, deflecting the ball behind for a corner. The keeper was called into action again when the set-piece came in, stretching to push it out for another corner, this time on the far side.

Salford were the next to threaten as Lloyd advanced on the left before passing inside to Lois Maynard. The midfielder found Haughton in space but he got under the 22-yard left-of-centre effort to send the ball high over the crossbar.

Back down at the School End Edwards picked up the ball right-of-centre before drilling in a low effort that looked like levelling the scores. Neal had other ideas, getting down at full stretch to his left to stop and then smother the ball.

Salford harboured hopes of extending their lead with Rory Gaffney getting into the box on the right before dispossessing Town skipper Matt Brown and lashing a shot home. Any celebration from the home side’s supporters was cut short by the referee indicating a foul and Halifax were awarded a rather fortuitous free-kick.

A lively end to the first half but Salford’s narrow lead was still intact as the teams made their way to the dressing rooms for managerial words of wisdom.

HALF TIME: SALFORD CITY 1 FC HALIFAX TOWN 0

Halifax needed a goal but it would be their hosts who started the second half the strongest. Five minutes after the restart Haughton’s persistence won a corner and Lloyd dropped his delivery into the middle, on the edge of the 6-yard box. Halifax were all at sea and Maynard’s first-time side-footer rose to smack off the crossbar before dropping back into play. Haughton pounced on the loose ball but couldn’t keep his 15 yarder down and Town were still just the one goal behind.

The Ammies were soon rolling forward again with Wiseman chasing Danny WisemanWhitehead’s pass out to the right. A return ball was tucked back and this time Whitehead curled a cross into the box where an under pressure Gaffney could only head high and wide of the near post.

In the 55th minute Wiseman’s pass into the right-hand side of the box was taken almost to the line by Lloyd. The summer signing from Peterborough tried to squeeze a low shot inside the near post but Johnson was alive to the peril, poking the ball behind with his left foot.

Salford were bossing possession and looking increasingly threatening. Lloyd was involved again a minute or so later, finding Gaffney on the right before picking up the return ball. Space had opened up and Lloyd let fly with a gently curving left-footer that dropped just outside Johnson’s right-hand upright.

On the hour Gaffney chipped a clever cross from the right towards Rooney at the far post but a defender got there to head the ball back the way it had come. Wiseman tried to get up to meet it but was at full stretch and could only nod high over the target.

Halifax had been under the cosh a bit since the second half began but crucially Salford hadn’t managed to establish a cushion. The home side were almost pegged back in the 63rd minute when Tomlinson slid a diagonal ball out to the left and Kosylo was away, heading towards goal. By the time he hit a low drive the angle had become a bit tight and the effort went just wide of the far post.

A very presentable opportunity for the Shaymen and they began to look a more potent attacking force from that moment. In the 68th minute Kosylo and Pond contested a 50/50 on Salford's right and fortune was with Halifax as the ball spun forward for Edwards to collect. There was space to advance into but the Town man delayed a little too long as Piergianni got across at speed to whip the ball off his toes.

The Ammies countered, with Haughton carrying the ball forward before winning a free-kick just outside the Town penalty area. Lloyd had a go from 25 yards and right-of-centre but Johnson read his intentions, moving to the left to pluck the ball out of the air.

Salford had been on top but the script so far this season has been a tale of failing to defend or extend leads. The price has been heavy already and in the 73rd minute it began to look as if we were in for more of the same. Halifax striker Southwell’s advance on the right was finished off by a great low ball that beat Salford’s defence, leaving KOSYLO with the simplest of tasks at the far post as he tapped home from close range.

It was now all about what response the Ammies could find this time and they almost replied to that setback immediately. A free-kick was won wide on the right and Lloyd’s cross was a good one, heading towards Rooney on the near edge of the 6-yard box. You’d have fancied the Irish striker to at least hit the target but this time he could only lift a header over the bar, much to the delight of the Town fans gathered behind Johnson’s goal.

Tom Walker replaced Haughton and for Halifax Kosylo made way for Preston. Salford’s substitute almost made his presence felt 10 minutes from time, picking up Maynard’s pass to the left before striking an angled 25-yarder that Johnson took comfortably enough.

The Ammies pressed forward again in the 83rd minute and Touray’s cross from the left was headed down by Rooney at the far edge of the 6-yard box. The bouncing ball eventually fell for Lloyd whose effort on goal was deflected for a corner. From that set-piece Pond had an opportunity to swing a ball in from the left flank but initially it looked as if his delivery was going to be fractionally beyond ROONEY. Salford’s number 9 had other ideas, somehow wrapping his right boot around the airborne ball with Johnson grasping at thin air to his right as the 6-yard hooked effort dropped into the net.

Rooney set off to celebrate “cupped-ears” style in front of the travelling supporters who had perhaps been a little premature in their vocal questioning of the deal that brought the striker to Salford. Rooney had certainly let his football do the talking and this finish had a touch of the David-Platt-versus-Belgium about it.

Having nosed ahead for the second time could Salford protect their advantage for the 7 minutes plus time added on that remained? The answer seemed to be ‘Yes’ and the Ammies could have made the points safe just a couple of minutes later. Gaffney chested down a cross from the left and Lloyd’s attempt to place a shot home from the edge of the area was only a foot or so off target.

Salford defended well during the time that remained but the Shaymen fashioned a chance during the 2nd minute of time added on. Substitute Mekhi McLeod found the ball at his feet on the left-hand angle of the area but there would be no glory for him as his shot was safely gathered by Neal at his right-hand post.

FULL TIME: SALFORD CITY 2 FC HALIFAX TOWN 1

An important and merited win for the Ammies who found the perfect response tonight following those three largely disappointing games. There was plenty of character and determination on display from the men in red and after being pegged back they hit back effectively to claim the points.

Two sublime finishes from Rooney were enough in the end to deny Halifax a 4th straight win and despite one or two chances the Shaymen can’t really complain about the result.

Hopefully this win - our first in 9 attempts against Halifax - will kick-start the Ammies season and on Saturday they entertain newly relegated Chesterfield. The Spireites had also made a 100% start to their campaign before losing at Barrow this evening. They’ll be keen to get back to winning ways at the weekend and will doubtless be roared on by the 1,300 fans who have snapped up tickets for the game.

It could well be a cracker so get along and give the Ammies a shout…

Attendance: 2,638, including 680 from Halifax

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