S a l f o r d
C i t y
F o o t b a l l
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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
5
Liam Hogan (c)
6
Carl Piergianni
8
Lois Maynard
9
Adam Rooney
10
Danny Lloyd
11
Tom Walker
18
Danny Whitehead
30
Rory Gaffney
1 goals for Rory Gaffney
Leyton Orient
1
Dean Brill
2
Sam Ling
3
Joe Widdowson
4
Alex Lawless
5
George Elokobi
6
Josh Coulson
7
Jobi McAnuff (c)
8
Craig Clay
1 goals for Craig Clay
9
Macauley Bonne
19
Josh Koroma
27
James Alabi
Substitutes
4
Gus Mafuta

Walker '85

7
Nick Haughton

Lloyd '70

12
Max Crocombe
19
Mark Shelton
23
Nathan Pond
Substitutes
11
James Dayton

Koroma '80

16
James Brophy

Lawless '60

22
Charlie Lee

Ling '80

21
Marvin Ekpiteta
24
Sam Sargeant
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Managers
Manager - Justin Edinburgh
Match Officals
Referee - Daniel Middleton
Assistant Referee - Dale Baines
Assistant Referee - Alan Hull
Fourth Official - Benjamin Speedie

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Match
Report

It’s always disappointing to be denied victory late in the day but Salford City can look back on their National League bow with a degree of satisfaction. The Ammies played some good football at times but this is a tough, ruthless league and Orient's late push denied them a rare opening day win.

A fine August afternoon, BT Sport’s cameras, squad numbers and a vocal crowd at The Peninsula Stadium with Salford making a lively enough start to their campaign. The early passing and movement was decent from both sides but the first opportunity went the way of Ammies. With 6 minutes on the clock Left-back Ibou Touray found space, left-of-centre and just over 20 yards out, to hit a low shot that Dean Brill did well to save. The experienced keeper got down well to his right to push the firmly struck effort wide of his right-hand post for a corner.

Just a couple of minutes later Rory Gaffney picked up a throw-in from the right before charging into the area and delivering a low ball inside. New strike partner Adam Rooney was the target but Sam Ling anticipated the danger, getting there first to clear.

Salford seemed to have clicked into gear and Danny Lloyd’s cross from the right-hand edge of the box was met by Danny Whitehead at the far post. A nod back inside followed and Rooney’s snap-shot was deflected wide for a corner. Tom Walker’s delivery from the left was aimed for the far post but Liam Hogan was stretching and could only direct his header outside the upright.

Encouragement for the home support but Orient were settling into the game. Craig Clay’s pass to the right gave Josh Koroma a chance to advance and he drilled in a low effort that Chris Neal saved at his near post. The Ammies countered, with Lloyd cutting into the box from the right hand side. For a second space opened up in front of him but Josh Coulson got across at speed to block the shot when it came in.

In the 20th minute Salford almost edged ahead after Walker was fouled out on the left. When the free-kick came in powerful defender George Elokobi got in a header but the ball eventually dropped into the path of Carl Piergianni. A looping header followed but Brill lived up to his surname as he reacted quickly to acrobatically tip the ball over the bar.

The home side on top so far then, but they very nearly fell behind just before the midpoint of the first half. Ling ventured forward to slide a pass inside, into the path of midfielder Alex Lawless. From the edge of the area and slightly right-of-centre he hit a shot that beat Neal only to come back off the inside of the far post. Salford survived the scramble that followed but were not to look as comfortable again for the rest of the afternoon.

We had a quiet 10 minutes or so after that although Orient survived a penalty shout after Lloyd appeared to have been bundled over in the box. A spell of treatment for Hogan ended happily with Salford’s captain back on his feet before Orient’s Macauley Bonne had a left-of-centre shot pushed away by Neal.

The Ammies carved out a great opportunity 13 minutes before the interval after Scott Wiseman’s pass found Lloyd on the right. The former Stockport man was one of 6 debutants for the home side and he almost made his mark here. A powerful bit of running took him inside, along the edge of the box and then into the area itself. With Orient defenders standing off Lloyd unselfishly pushed a short pass into the path of Walker who side-footed a low effort straight at Brill.

That one should have been put away and it was Orient who were the next to conjure a threat. Visiting skipper Jobi McAnuff’s corner from the left dropped beyond the far post where Elekobi got in a header that was collected calmly enough by Neal. The O’s pushed forward again almost immediately and Koroma won possession before picking out Bonne whose shot from the edge of the box failed to trouble Salford’s keeper.

Back down at the School End Walker tried a first-time effort from a dropping clearance but that one carried more threat forthe loitering drone than Orient’s goal.

The final chance of an enjoyable first half went the way of the Os as Clay’s pass into the box found the considerable form of James Alabi. A nifty turn followed but Neal was able to push the low wide.

HALF TIME: SALFORD CITY 0 LEYTON ORIENT 0

Orient had improved as the first-half progressed but any growing optimism among the 677 travelling supporters was tempered within a couple of minutes of the restart. Lloyd latched onto a diagonal ball to the left and then had the composure to clip a low ball to the near edge of the 6-yard box. GAFFNEY timed his run perfectly, arriving to place a low, first-time effort across Brill and inside the far post.

A nicely constructed and well-taken goal to open the Ammie account for 2018-2019 but Orient, though temporarily down, were definitely not out. The Os could have been back on level terms within just 4 more minutes after a cross from the right found McAnuff just beyond the far post. A neat header back inside fell for Koroma but from little more than 6 yards out he skied what was a pretty good opening.

Notice of intent from the visitors but meanwhile Salford looked dangerous whenever they ventured forward. In the 57th minute Touray and Gaffney combined on the left before the latter delivered a teasing cross into the middle. Clay got there just before Rooney to concede a corner that was dealt with competently by the Orient defence. The visitors pushed forward themselves, with Koroma running at Hogan on the left before hitting an effort that was too high and off-target.

End-to-end stuff at the moment and the Ammies replied through Gaffney whose pass played Walker into space on the right. A quick advance opened up a path to goal but it was immediately snapped shut by a brave defensive block. Salford applied more pressure and just past the hour Lloyd’s pass set up Gaffney on the right-hand side of the box. The rising, angled drive that followed was powerful and on-target but Brill was equal to it, using both hands to push the ball over his bar.

Gaffney was enjoying himself and turned creator next, with Lloyd nodding his ball inside from the right for Walker to hit. This was another great chance for the former FC man but again his sights were out as a low effort was hit straight at Brill.

Salford were looking for a nerver-settling second goal and Piergianni’s low left-footed effort from distance forced Brill into another, albeit routine, save.

Orient’s attacks were perhaps fewer in number but certainly looked capable of landing a punch. With 66 minutes played substitute James Brophy whipped a cross in from the left with McAnuff there again to turn the ball inside. Bonne was under defensive pressure but should have done better with a 6 yard effort that was blazed high over the crossbar.

Lloyd was replaced by Nick Haughto with 20 minutes to play but Orient began to look stronger as the game advanced into its final quarter. The Ammies had some real pressure to deal with now and Ling met a dropping clearance with a ferocious shot that was deflected, blocked and hastily cleared by the home defence. In the 75th minute the Os came very close indeed to an equaliser after home captain Hogan misjudged a header back to Neal. Bonne pushed the ball out of the keeper’s reach but Hogan redeemed himself with a fair degree of aplomb, getting in a goal-saving challenge at the expense of no more than a corner.

Alabi ran at Hogan, left-of-centre, after that but having seemed to have gained half-a-yard the powerful striker ran the ball out of play. At the other end Salford could have effectively secured the points with 10 minutes left. Rooney’s cross from the left was inches too high for Gaffney but Haughton arrived to drill in a low shot from the right. A defensive block close to the line denied the Ammies that vital second goal and Orient responded with a double substitution. James Dayton and Charlie Lee were on in place of Koroma and Ling and those changes ushered in a real turn of the tide.

Lee looked particularly perky and was immediately involved as his shot from the edge of the box was charged down. Five minutes from time Orient went agonisingly close to a leveller after Clay and Dayton had linked up on the right. The cross came in and Lee was there to nod in a header that came back off Neal’s right-hand post before going lose in front of goal. Lee slid in to surely equalise but a home defender blocked the effort right on the line to preserve Salford’s slender advantage. Scrutiny of BT’s coverage will doubtless identify the would-be hero, but his efforts would be in vain.

Orient had their collective tail well and truly up and a long throw fell for Josh Coulson inside the area. A shot on the turn was deflected wide but Salford’s luck ran out when the corner came in. The delivery dropped right into the danger area, it wasn’t cleared and a short scramble ensued. The outcome delighted the Orient fans gathered in considerable numbers behind Neal’s goal as CLAY'S shot, off-target, spun into the net off the unlucky Hogan,

Spirit aplenty from Orient but their hosts had plenty of that commodity too. In the final minute of the 90 Touray pushed forward on the left before curling in a lovely cross that Rooney met with a left-footed first-time effort that cleared the bar.

Having got back on terms the Os fancied a winner themselves with Dayton’s gently dipping effort from the right giving Neal some concern until he managed to tip it away. The loose ball fell for Brophy who got into the box on the left before pulling a low ball back to Dayton. This could have been bad for Salford but the Orient substitute shooting boots let him down and he could only watch his effort sail harmlessly over.

SALFORD CITY 1 LEYTON ORIENT 1

Not the result that Graham Alexander and his team were looking for, but last season promotion was won after a much more disappointing opening day performance and result. Several times the Ammies could have scored a second goal that would have changed the entire complexion of the afternoon, yet in the end it evaded them and Orient certainly proved their mettle.

The Os will point at a number of very good chances that could – and probably should – have been put away but while they might just have merited a point, all three would have been harsh on the hosts.

A reminder – not that it was in any way needed – that the National League is no place for faint hearts. The highest level of non-league football is hugely competitive and a newly constructed Ammies side will need some time to gel. For the moment we can take satisfaction from a good game of football and reflect on the fact – unthinkable 4 years ago – that Leyton Orient have visited Moor Lane for a competitive game played on equal terms.

Onward and up North to Gateshead…

Attendanc: 2,156 (677 from Leyton Orient)

https://salfordcityfc.co.uk