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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
6
Carl Piergianni
9
Adam Rooney (c)
1 goals for Adam Rooney (c)

Dieseruvwe '75

10
Danny Lloyd
11
Tom Walker
Yellow card for Tom Walker
15
Liam Nolan

Politic '9

18
Danny Whitehead
1 goals for Danny Whitehead
23
Nathan Pond
Yellow card for Nathan Pond
30
Rory Gaffney

Hogan '60

Havant & Waterlooville
21
Ben Dudzinski
2
Dan Strugnell
4
Brian Stock (c)
Yellow card for Brian Stock (c)
5
Ryan Woodford
Yellow card for Ryan Woodford
6
Edward Harris
8
Theo Lewis

Kabamba '46

9
Jonah Ayunga
11
Bradley Tarbuck
16
Andreas Robinson
Yellow card for Andreas Robinson
19
William Wood
Yellow card for William Wood

Sekajja '85

20
Alfie Rutherford
Yellow card for Alfie Rutherford

Leeflang '90+3

Substitutes
5
Liam Hogan
12
Max Crocombe
20
Mani Dieseruvwe
22
Dennis Politic
1 goals for Dennis Politic
24
Harry Brockbank
Substitutes
10
Nicke Kabamba
12
Aaron Cosgrave
15
Josh Huggins
18
Ibra Sekajja
34
Djamel Leeflang
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Managers
Manager - Lee Bradbury
Match Officals
Referee - Matthew Dicicco
Assistant Referee - Michael D'Aguilar
Assistant Referee - Scott Tallis
Fourth Official - Darren Rogers

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Match
Report

Two goals in as many first-half minutes put Salford City on the road to victory, extending their unbeaten league run to 20 games into the bargain. Leading scorer Adam Rooney and Bolton Loanee Dennis Politic were responsible for that brace and Danny Whitehead added a 3rd deep into time added on. The Hawks had a real go during the opening stages of the second-half but the goal they needed would not materialise and Salford remain hot on the heels of league leaders Leyton Orient.

Injuries have begun to bite Graham Alexander’s squad and would do so again this afternoon. Lois Maynard – hurt during the midweek win over Harrogate Town – was replaced in the centre of midfield by loan signing Liam Nolan. New face Harry Brookbank, signed on loan from Bolton Wanderers on Friday, was included among the substitutes.

Early chances have been a feature of Salford’s recent games and the trend was followed this afternoon. The Hawks pressed forward from the start, with Alfie Rutherford sliding a pass out to the right for Bradley Tarbuck whose cross was cleared by the home defence. Havant & Waterlooville skipper Brian Stock elected to try a first-time effort that cleared the bar by some distance.

Decent from the Hawks but Salford produced a move of real quality a minute or so afterwards. Rooney’s run on the right was finished off by a low cross into the penalty area. Rory Gaffney back-heeled to ball on the left where Whitehead hit a rising shot that visiting keeper Ben Dudzinski did well to push around his right-hand upright.

Gaffney returned the favour after that, playing in Rooney whose shot was blocked by a defender. The Ammies kept up the pressure and in the immediate aftermath of a corner Walker swung a cross from wide on the left to the far post. Nathan Pond charged in to power a header that came back off Dudzinski’s left-hand post and this time the Hawks managed to clear their lines.

Enterprising stuff from Salford but their game-plan took a blow with just 10 minutes played. Midfielder Nolan, making his first start since joining on loan, suffered a gash to the leg and after a couple of minutes of on-field treatment had to be replaced by Politic.

The Ammies shuffled their pack, with Politic playing on the flank and Walker taking up the central role again. It was the former FC United man who tested Havant’s defensive resolve next, embarking on a weaving run that took him past 3 opponents before slipping a pass to the overlapping Scott Wiseman. A decent ball was duly delivered into the middle only for a raised flag against Rory Gaffney to bring the move to a premature conclusion.

Generally though the Hawks had looked more threatening since Nolan’s injury, enjoying more possession and looking capable of doing something with it. In the 14th minute they won a free-kick, deep and wide on the right, with Stock curling a delivery towards the far post. With fluorescent yellow/green shirts closing in, Pond took the safety-first route, glancing the ball wide of the far post at the expense of a corner.

There was more good play at the other end as Ibou Touray’s through-ball sliced open the defence and sent Danny Lloyd towards the line. A low cross into the middle followed but Hawks’ defender Ryan Woodford got there first to clear decisively.

Some good play from Havant and a few chances for Salford so far, but the game would swing decisively in the direction of the home side as the first-half reached is mid-point. There seemed to be relatively little danger as Whitehead picked up possession wide on the left and just inside his own half. The lofted pass that followed was top-drawer, dropping for Rooney on the edge of the penalty area. The offside trap was sprung, ROONEY displayed a deft bit of control off the chest then advanced to plant a cool low finish past Dudzinski.

A great goal and within another 60 seconds the Ammies had another to celebrate. Havant & Waterlooville turned over possession from the restart and POLITIC’S powerful run took him to the edge of the penalty area. No Hawk swooped to stop the Salford man and from the edge of the area he drilled in a low shot that beat Dudzinski’s dive to the left before clipping off the inside of the post and into the net.

The Hawks appeared shell-shocked for a while but rallied quickly enough and won a free-kick on the half-hour after Carl Piergianni was harshly adjudged to have impeded Rutherford. From 25 yards out and right-of-centre William Wood’s shot deflected off Walker in the wall and behind for a corner.

Ten minutes before half-time Havant’s Rutherford advanced to hit a stinger that slammed into the covering Piergianni. The Ammies countered with Wiseman on the right but his cross to the far side was just a little not too long for Lloyd.

With the interval approaching Rooney challenged for A Touray cross from the left and the ball fell conveniently for him. He tried to curl an effort from just inside the left-hand angle of the area but the ball dropped wide of the far upright.

Havant were looking to trim a goal off Salford’s lead before half-time and after Wood’s corner was cleared Stock’s low 22-yarder was blocked inside a crowded penalty area.

This had been an eventful half and the Ammies almost got a 3rd goal during time added on. Lloyd slammed in a left-footed corner from the right, with Dudzinski just about managing to push the ball away at his near post. Lloyd crossed again with Piergianni nodding on to the far post where Whitehead had a shot blocked. The midfielder got a second bite at the cherry but this time his effort bounced wide of the keeper’s right-hand upright.

There was time for one more chance and Politic delivered a corner from the left, with Piergianni getting in a 12-yard header that dropped over the crossbar.

HALF-TIME: SALFORD CITY 2 HAVANT & WATERLOOVILLE 0

A very satisfactory first-half for the home side, scoring a couple of quality goals and going close on a number of other occasions. Havant & Waterlooville needed to find a strong response and a tactical change from manager Lee Bradbury seemed as if It might just do the trick. Forward Nicke Kabamba replaced Theo Lewis for the Hawks but initially it was Salford who made most of the attacking running. Within 2 minutes of the restart Gaffney chased a ball to the line, inside the penalty area and on the left. A clever back-heel gave possession to Lloyd who squared a pass inside. Politic was on the end of it and his nicely struck effort was deflected outside Dudzinski’s right-hand post.

Politic had another sight of goal a few minutes later after Rooney tucked a pass back for him from inside the penalty area. Again the ball was firmly struck but a defender got in the way and the effort was blocked.

Rutherford became the 1st of 5 Hawks to go into the referee’s book after that and the game would grow a little tetchy at times as the second half progressed.

Early attacking activity from Salford but the Hawks were just about to have their best spell of the game. Forward Jonah Ayunga had been quiet during the first half but was playing on the right of 3 front men now, with a chance to show his pace. In the 52nd minute a blistering run took him forward on the flank and the low ball into the middle was a good one. Half-time substitute Kabamba stretched out a leg to make contact but, a little unluckily, the ball spun up off his foot and dropped just over the bar.

Ayunga had more joy on the right flank, just 2 minutes later. Another powerful bit of running culminated in a low pile-driver that didn’t rise more than a yard off the turf on its way to goal. Chris Neall did well, dropping right to make a parrying save but the ball went loose. Kabamba tried to get there but was thwarted by a Piergianni tackle and Ayunga’s follow-up effort was charged down.

The Hawks were dominating possession in their search for a goal that might just turn the game around. Graham Alexander responded to that by making a familiar tactical change, bringing Liam Hogan on (for Gaffney) to form a back 3 with Wiseman and Touray operating more as wing-backs.

There was soon more trouble for the reshaped home defence to deal with as Rutherford’s pass to the right found Kabamba who advanced before slamming in an angled effort. Again Neal – relatively untroubled for most of the afternoon – was equal to it, getting across to the right to push the ball away to safety.

Another good spell of possession for the Hawks opened up further opportunity but from the edge of the box Kabamba launched an effort high over the crossbar.

An encouraging 15 minutes for the visitors but they had not been able to score a potentially pivotal goal. From this point on Salford gradually wrestled back control of the game and began to look likely to add more goals of their own. In the 72nd minute Whithead’s low free-kick hit Rooney before spinning to Hogan who could only lift the ball over from 6 yards out.

Politic was behind the next dangerous attack, taking a hit that earned Stock a yellow although the referee allowed play to proceed. Lloyd chased the ball into the right-hand side of the box with Dudzinski getting there first yet managing to spill possession. From the line on the right Lloyd dropped a cross to the far post where an off-balance Rooney could only lift an effort over.

With 15 minutes to play Rooney was replaced by Dieseruvwe, making his first appearance since the promotion-clinching game -vs- Boston United in April.

The big man was soon putting himself about but the next chance of note went the way of Havant & Waterlooville. A Williams free-kick from wide on the left found Rutherford in front of goal and he got up to nod in a goal-bound header. Once again Neal did very well, getting down to his right to push the ball behind for a corner.

In the 84th minute Whitehead’s rasping low 22-yarder was parried by Dudzinski and after Pond nudged the loose ball back the Salford midfielder’s 2nd attempt cleared the crossbar. Soon after that Dieseruvwe and Wiseman combined nicely before Politic whipped a cross in from the right that just failed to find a Salford head.

In the penultimate minute of the 90 Lloyd’s 20 yard free-kick – awarded for a foul on Politic – was blocked by the wall. Possession fell back to the former Peterborough man but this time a left-footed curler dropped wide of the keeper’s right-hand post.

There was another chance for Lloyd during time added on after Politic’s cross from the right dropped just beyond the far post. Dieseruvwe got up to nod back inside where a Lloyd volley, left-footed from 6 yards, fairly zipped a foot over the bar.

That would have been a great goal but there was still time left to get another. In the 5th minute of the 5 added on a slick Salford build-up gave WHITEHEADthe space to line up a shot and he accepted the invitation. From 20 yards, right-of-centre, a beautifully struck rising effort beat Dudzinski at his left-hand post.

FULL-TIME: SALFORD CITY 3 HAVANT & WATERLOOVILLE 0
Another strong performance from Salford City and this second home win in 4 days keeps them hot on the heels of leaders Leyton Orient. The game marks the halfway point of the 2018-2019 campaign and things are, it’s fair to say, going very well indeed.

Havant & Waterlooville looked a useful side and did their best to find a way back into the game after that double blow in the first half. That quarter-of-an-hour spell at the start of the second half yielded a few chances but, crucually, none were taken.

The Ammies have not lost a league game since Sutton United on 11th August – a shaky start to the season makes the 20-match unbeaten run since then even more impressive. Every player in the team seems to understand his role and the combination of organisation, discipline and sheer ability makes them a very difficult side to beat.

Manager Alexander and his coaching team must take plenty of credit for shaping a very competitive, entertaining football team that harbours a ferocious will to win. Including Nolan today, 4 central midfielders have been lost to injury yet levels of performance in the engine room have been maintained. Tom Walker has shown he has the class to operate inside as well as out wide and Politic looks like a very good player indeed.

We now start the approach to the traditionally busy Christmas period and should know more about the National League’s promotion race by the time Salford City travel to Orient on 5th January. We’ve played all the other teams except for Wrexham and while there’s plenty to respect, we have little to fear…

Attendance: 2,181 (@90 from Havant & Waterlooville)

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