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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
1 goals for Ibou Touray
4
Gus Mafuta

Walker '82

5
Liam Hogan (c)
6
Carl Piergianni
8
Lois Maynard
Yellow card for Lois Maynard
9
Adam Rooney
1 goals for Adam Rooney

Green '76

15
Devonte Redmon

Whitehead '72

20
Mani Dieseruvwe
1 goals for Mani Dieseruvwe
23
Nathan Pond
Maidenhead United
1
Carl Pentney
2
Remy Clerima
3
Rene Steer
4
Harold Odametey
5
Ayo Obileye

Fondop-Talom '62

8
James Comley
Yellow card for James Comley
10
Josh Kelly

Worsfold '72

15
Seth Twumasi
17
Adrian Clifton
Yellow card for Adrian Clifton
19
Ryan Upward

Akintunde '80

24
Alan Massey (c)
Substitutes
12
Max Crocombe
7
Matt Green
11
Tom Walker
18
Danny Whitehead
30
Rory Gaffney
Substitutes
11
Max Worsfold
18
James Akintunde
25
Mike Fondop-Talom
26
Ricky Gabriel
27
Sam Nombe
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Managers
Manager - Alan Devonshire
Match Officals
Referee - Marc Edwards
Assistant Referee - Jonathan Maskrey
Assistant Referee - Paul Stonier
Fourth Official - Michael Barlow

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Match
Report

The Ammies provided a first-half masterclass in the art of taking chances as three goals swept aside Maidenhead United at The Peninsula Stadium. Strikes from Mani Dieseruvwe, Ibou Touray and an Adam Rooney penalty pushed Graham Alexander’s side to the top of the league – temporarily at least – before Leyton Orient regained first place courtesy of a last-minute penalty winner at Sutton United. Salford still trail the O’s by two points, with just three games to go as The National League limbers up for the tightest of finishes.

The BT Sport cameras were back in Salford, with the game kicking off at lunchtime as a result. It was a chance for The Ammies to get some points on the board before their rivals kicked a ball and they set about their task with some enthusiasm.

Alan Devonshire’s Maidenhead side have improved steadily as the season has progressed and the first chance of the afternoon went their way. James Comley’s corner from the right was met by Remy Clerima whose header was clawed away by home keeper Chris Neal. A few minutes later Ryan Upward’s shot from distance was deflected behind for another corner, but this one was dealt with comfortably by the home defence.

A touch of early encouragement for the colourfully garbed travelling support but in the eleventh minute their side fell behind. Scott Wiseman nicked possession away from Rene Steer before playing Rooney into space on the right flank. A low ball across the six-yard box followed, with DIESERUVWE getting ahead of a defender to slide the ball home.

Just the start that Salford wanted but they would have to maintain concentration at the back as Maidenhead put together a number of promising attacking moves. Just minutes after Mani’s opener the home defence struggled to clear their lines, with Josh Kelly nipping in to set up Adrian Clifton for a shot that was deflected away to the left. Comley stretched to get a touch on the ball but could only prod an effort wide of Neal’s right-hand post as the keeper closed in.

The Magpies looked capable of causing problems with their mobility - plus Harold Odatemey’s driving runs - and on eighteen minutes Steer hit a shot from nearly thirty yards that cleared the crossbar by some distance.

The split of possession was fairly even and midway through the first half Nathan Pond and Liam Hogan combined to block a Clifton shot from the edge of the box. The Magpies may well have been shading the game at this point, but they suffered another blow in the twenty-seventh minute. The visiting defence switched off after Wiseman’s throw-in on the right, with Rooney bundling his way inside from the flank, quite tight to the line. The in-form striker drilled another low ball across the face of goal with TOURAY arriving on the far angle of the six-yard box. A thumping low shot followed and although Pentney got in its way the effort had so much pace it spun off him and into the roof of the net.

A second goal of the season for the Gambian international and it gave Salford some valuable breathing space. Maidenhead did their best to find a response but were struggling to find that little bit of quality in the final third to open up a defence that has lost the habit of conceding goals.

Salford could have added a third thirteen minutes from time after Hogan’s low ball inside from the right was knocked towards goal by Gus Mafuta. That effort was blocked with Rooney hitting a follow-up effort that rose to clear the bar by a yard or two. Not an easy chance to take first time, but the Ammies’ top marksman wouldn’t have to wait long for his goal.

Touray's goal had settled Salford down and they were dealing more comfortably with Maidenhead’s efforts to play their way back into the game. In the forty-second minute Touray swung in a left-footed free-kick from the right that was met by Pond, only for his header to drop over the crossbar.

Maidenhead needed to get to half-time without conceding again but that ambition was dashed in the half’s penultimate minute. Touray touched a corner on the right to Devonte Redmond whose lofted delivery caused chaos inside the Magpies’ penalty area. Carl Piergianni's header touch a touch from Pentney and was heading wide until Rooney stretched to make contact at the near post. The ball came back off the woodwork and Pond lunged in with a header that was stopped by a desperate combination of Pentney and Seth Twumasi. Possession fell for Hogan just in front of goal and the home side's skipper appeared to be tripped by Clifton, with the referee answering Salford’s appeals for a penalty by pointing unhesitatingly at the spot.

Of course, you always fancy ROONEY in these situations and after a little shimmy he calmly stroked a finish to Pentney's left, with the keeper committed the other way.

To be fair it hadn’t really been a three-nil half, but Salford had been ruthless in front of goal and went into the break with a lead that looked ominously insurmountable.

HALF-TIME: SALFORD CITY 3 MAIDENHEAD UNITED 0

It would have taken something very special from Maidenhead to find their way back into contention and they never really looked like providing it. They would give it a go however, and three minutes after the restart Twumasi played a firm pass into the box from the right. With back to goal Clifton teed up Steer whose angled effort from left-of-centre flashed across Neal’s goal and wide of the far upright.

Decent from Maidenhead but they were unable to find any attacking momentum after that. FOR their part, Salford had clicked into the efficient mode that has carried them through recent games although despite a number of corners they were not testing Pentney.

Just before the hour the Magpies were awarded a free-kick and after some careful preparation Obileye could only crash a shot into the defensive wall. That would be the big defensive midfielder’s final contribution, replaced for the final thirty minutes by Mike Fondop. The substitute combined with Kelly and Clifton soon after taking to the field, but Salford’s defence dealt with the pressure as the latter’s half-hearted appeal for a penalty ignored by the officials.

There was another half-chance for the Magpies soon afterwards as Upward crossed from the right, with Steer charging to meet the ball on the edge of the six-yard box. Fortunately for Salford, Hogan had read his intentions, getting there just in time to head the ball behind for a corner that was cleared.

Salford had been quiet in front of goal for a while, but they could have snatched number four of the afternoon with a shade over twenty minutes left to play. Wiseman advanced on the right before clipping a cross towards the near post. Rooney left his marker standing as he collected the ball, turned and hit an angled ten-yarder that came off Pentley’s legs, with a defender hastily conceding a corner.

That set-piece came to nothing and the game became a touch scrappy as its final quarter progressed. With nineteen minutes left Odatemey cut inside from the left past two defenders before sliding a low ball across the face of goal. It was good play from the Maidenhead man, but he was left frustrated as nobody in black & white moved to get a touch onto it.

Both sides made substitutions after that, but the game was effectively over as a contest, with Salford keen to hold on to yet another clean sheet. With just three minutes on the clock Wiseman intercepted a pass before feeding substitute Matt Green who dragged a low twenty-yarder harmlessly wide of Pentney’s left-hand post.

In the last minute of the ninety Lois Maynard & Comley were booked following a spot of mild pushing and shoving and after that Tom Walker’s cross from the left was headed over by Piergianni.

As the game entered time added on Odametey set off one last run, topping it off with a twenty-yarder from left-of-centre that Neal gathered at the second attempt. At the other end Green had shot blocked before Walker tried to place the loose ball inside the far post from the left, only to see his effort roll narrowly wide.

FULL-TIME: SALFORD CITY 3 MAIDENHEAD UNITED 0

A thoroughly professional performance from The Ammies to wrap up their eighth win in an unbeaten run of nine National League games. The only goal Graham Alexander’s side have conceded during that spell of fine form was Bromley’s successfully converted penalty.

It’s been a great sequence, built on solid teamwork with the odd dash of class chucked into the mix here and there.

Salford fans had the rare opportunity to sit back and left other games unfold during the rest of the afternoon, and at various times Orient, Wrexham and Solihull Moors were behind in their games. In the end, ten-man Orient won courtesy of a late, late penalty at Sutton, with Wrexham and Solihull grabbing late winners in their games too.

There was better news elsewhere as AFC Fylde surprisingly lost at Braintree (it can happen...) and Harrogate were beaten at home by Boreham Wood. With three games left, any of the top four could finish first on the 27th April, with only Orient controlling their own fate entirely.

The rest of the contenders are poised to pounce, should the chance present itself. For now though, it’s a case of keeping the points coming and the fingers crossed…

Attendance: 2,419 (@125 Maidenhead United)

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