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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
4
Gus Mafuta
5
Liam Hogan (c)
1 goals for Liam Hogan (c)
6
Carl Piergianni
Yellow card for Carl Piergianni
7
Matt Green
1 goals for Matt Green Yellow card for Matt Green

Gaffney '87

8
Lois Maynard
Yellow card for Lois Maynard
15
Devonte Redmond
20
Mani Dieseruvwe
23
Nathan Pond
Solihull Moors
1
Ryan Boot
3
Jamie Reckord
Yellow card for Jamie Reckord
4
Kyle Storer (c)
5
Liam Daly
6
Alex Gudger
7
Jamey Osborne
Yellow card for Jamey Osborne
8
Darren Carter
10
Jermaine Hylton
Yellow card for Jermaine Hylton

Yusuf '63

13
Nathan Blissett
19
Danny Wright
25
Lee Vaughan
Substitutes
12
Max Crocombe
10
Danny Lloyd
14
Josh Askew
26
James Jones
30
Rory Gaffney
Substitutes
2
Tyrone Williams
9
Adi Yussuf
Yellow card for Adi Yussuf
12
George Carline
17
Luke Maxwell
24
Terry Hawkridge
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Managers
Manager - Tim Flowers
Match Officals
Referee - Richard Hulme
Assistant Referee - Bradley Hall
Assistant Referee - Matthew Sowerby
Fourth Official - Karl Buckley

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Match
Report

Salford City are right back in the automatic promotion hunt after a week that has seen them pick up 9 points and 3 clean sheets. Victories over play-off contenders Ebbsfleet United and Sutton United were good, but this afternoon The Ammies battled their way to a hard-fought, deserved win over 3rd placed Solihull Moors. Now only 4 points adrift of leaders Leyton Orient, Graham Alexander’s men seem to have recovered their form at just the right time, with only 7 weeks of the regular season left to go.

It would be one of those afternoons when the weather seemed determined to run through its repertoire as we had heavy rain showers, sunshine and a lively breeze to contend with. In terms of football, it was quickly obvious that this would not be a game for faint-hearts, with both sides adopting a muscular approach from the start.

It is probably fair to say that the 1st half wouldn’t produce much in the way of finesse, yet Solihull managed to exert some early pressure. In the 7th minute full-back Lee Vaughan played a long ball forward on the right, with Danny Wright in pursuit. The big striker managed to slip ahead of his marker, but Salford keeper Chris Neal was out quickly to punt clear from the edge of the penalty area. The subsequent throw-in was launched into the box from the right and the ball fell for Alex Gudger on the edge of the 6-yard box. This was a real chance, but the defender snatched at it a little, lifting his effort high over the crossbar.

At the other end Gus Mafuta’s cross from the right dipped ominously towards the far-post, with the frantically back-pedalling Ryan Boot relieved to see it drop just over bar.

Generally though it was Moors who looked most threatening, and they very nearly opened the scoring with a quarter-of-an-hour played. Jamey Osborne’s corner from the right dropped nicely for Gudger inside the area, with Neal stretching to make a brilliant stop when the 6-yard shot came in. A great save, but there was no time for back-patting as Gudger got a second bite at the cherry. Neal wouldn’t be beaten today and here he made a good blocking save, then completed a goalkeeping hat-trick of sorts as he collected Jamie Reckford’s 18-yard scuffed follow-up.

A good start for Moors but Salford began to see more of the ball as the half progressed. A Liam Hogan throw from the right caused consternation for Solihull’s defence but they just about managed to clear.

The Ammies were soon back on the offensive and Matt Green beat the offside trap as he collected a long ball forward. An advance into the right-hand side of the area was followed by a low drive, but Boot did well, deflecting the ball away with his right foot. Green collected the loose ball, but with a tight angle on the right he unselfishly rolled a pass into the middle for Devonte Redmond. The goal was gaping but from a little to the right of the penalty spot he could only scoop an effort over the bar.

Lois Maynard went into the referee’s notebook 11 minutes before half-time after appearing to prevent a quick throw-in from being taken.

Both sides pushed forward during what remained of the first half, but the defences were doing well and held firm. In the 44th minute Ibou Touray delivered a cross from deep on the left, but although Hogan got his head to it beyond the far post, he couldn’t turn the ball back into the middle.

The last incident of note before the break came during time added on as Wright timed his run to meet Osborne’s corner from the left. A glancing header followed, and Neal could only watch as the ball flashed inches wide of the far upright.

HALF-TIME: SALFORD CITY 0 SOLIHULL MOORS 0

The first-half had been a touch on the dour side, although there had been a number of presentable chances. No goals yet, but after the restart Salford soon began to look capable of creating opportunities.

Solihull’s Reckford was booked for a foul on Maynard and a couple of minutes later Green tested Boot with a 25-yarder, although the keeper won that particular duel. He wouldn’t do quite as well in the 54th minute after Salford were awarded a free-kick following a foul on Gus Mafuta. Redmond took if from wide on the left and quite deep, and his delivery was aimed at the far post. It seemed as if Boot would get to it first, but HOGAN'S prodigious leap allowed him to nod in an effort that beat the keeper and open the scoring.

A first goal of the season for the skipper and soon afterwards Jermaine Hylton was booked for a crude challenge on Green. A little touch of frustration from a Moors side that were struggling to get service to their front-men as Salford’s defence once again adopted the uncompromising solidity that has returned over recent games.

Adi Yussuf replaced Hylton in the 63rd minute only to be booked almost immediately for a trip on Touray.

Time was ebbing away for Solihull whose attempts to push forward were being thwarted by a home side indisposed to giving anything away. They did create a rare opportunity in the 71st minute as Osborne’s cross from the left found its way to Vaughan the far angle of the penalty area. A powerful strike at goal followed but the ball curved just wide of the target before burying itself in the side-netting.

Suitably encouraged Moors launched another attack and Osborne’s run across the edge of the box was unfairly checked. A free-kick was awarded, on the ‘D’ and right-of-centre, but Carter’s effort on goal came off a Salford head in the wall and was deflected over for a corner that came to nothing. Soon after that Osborne swung over another cross from the left only for Wright’s header to be claimed by Neal, moving to his right.

Not a bad little spell for Tim Flowers’ men yet it hadn’t produced an equaliser. Salford regained the initiative and could have extended their lead 14 minutes from time after Scott Wiseman’s pass down the right was picked up by Green. The former Lincoln striker made it into the box before pulling a low ball back for Mani Dieseruvwe. There was a yard of space to work in but Dieseruvwe couldn’t quite control the ball and a defender got in to make a clearance.

Dueseruvwe did rather better an couple of minutes later, controlling deftly wide on the left before swivelling to play a low pass forward that sent Green into space. A cut into the area followed but with no support arriving in the middle Green had no option other than to shoot, with Boot deflecting his low, angled effort behind for a corner.

That set-piece was cleared but Salford didn’t have to wait too long for the goal that would seal their win. Redmond was again the architect, robbing Vaughan of possession on Salford’s left before rolling a pass into the middle. GREEN was on the end of that and after a touch to the right he unleashed a ferocious rising 18-yarder that smacked off the underside of the crossbar then dropped over the line and into the net.

A first goal in 2 months for Green but it was a memorable strike and could well turn out to be vital in terms of Salford’s fate this season.

Solihull’s attacking efforts hadn’t amounted to much during the 2nd half and a 2-goal deficit with less than 10 minutes to play was a challenge they couldn’t rise to, It wasn’t for the want of effort though and Kyle Storer’s driving run was ended by a Green foul 4 minutes from time. A squabble broke out in the aftermath of the challenge and after consulting his assistants the referee booked Green for the foul, then Piergianni and Osborne for the subsequent outbreak of handbags.

Rory Gaffney came on for Green with a couple of minutes left and the former Bristol Rover was soon involved in the action, although he could only drag a low 25-yarder wide of Boot’s left-hand post.

The Ammies negotiated 5 minutes of time added on with no scares and the referee’s whistle confirmed a very big win.

FULL-TIME: SALFORD CITY 2 SOLIHULL MOORS 0

No matter how long you watch football, the speed at which fortunes can change never ceases to amaze. Seven days and two hours before that final whistle Salford City’s season seemed in danger of petering out, on the back of 4 successive league defeats. One change of formation and shuffle of personnel later, we are back on the heels of the league leaders with a real chance of securing the divisional top-spot.

Great credit is due to manager Graham Alexander, his coaching staff and the players for turning around a worrying slump in form. Five goals, three clean-sheets and three wins later The Ammies are very much back in business. This was another very good team performance, maybe more solid than spectacular but that dash of quality was never too far away. Solihull are the surprise package of the National League season – physically tough, well organised and a practiced game plan. Tim Flowers’ side had a decent first half but after falling behind never really looked like rescuing a point. It’s not difficult to see why they’ve been winning games though, and doubtless they will be there or thereabouts at the end of April.

As always, the key from this point on is consistency. A number of clubs – including Salford – have threatened to pull away at the top this season yet have faltered. It’s tight at the top with maybe 8 teams in with a chance of finishing top of the pile – it’s a case now of holding nerve as much as displaying quality. It looks as if the rejuvenated Ammies have quite a bit of both…

Attendance: 2,476 (416 with Solihull Moors)

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