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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
Max Crocombe
Michael Nottingham
Ibou Touray
Lois Maynard (c)
Carl Piergianni
1 goals for Carl Piergianni
Danny Livesey
Yellow card for Danny Livesey
Nick Haughton

Askew '59

Mark Shelton
Yellow card for Mark Shelton

Mafuta '59

Anthony Dudley
Jack Redshaw

Burton '84

Tom Walker
2 goals for Tom Walker 2 goals for Tom Walker
Spennymoor Town
Daniel Lowson
Matthew Dixon
Christopher Mason (c)
Nathan Lowe
1 goals for Nathan Lowe

Anderson '65

Joseph Tait
James Curtis
Ryan Hall
1 goals for Ryan Hall

Foley '84

Shane Henry
Glen Taylor
Robert Ramshaw
Andrew Johnson

Chantler '72

Scott Burton
Gus Mafuta
Mani Dieseruvwe
Josh Askew
Richie Allen
Jordan Porter
Mark Anderson
Chris Chantler
David Foley
Bradley Fewster
Joint Manager - Anthony Johnson
Joint Manager - Bernard Morley
Manager - Jason Ainsley
Match Officals
Referee - David Underwood
Assistant Referee - Daniel Locker
Assistant Referee - Richard Aspinall

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Two second half goals from Tom Walker overturned Spennymoor Town’s half-time advantage at The Peninsula Stadium on an afternoon when the weather provided almost as much entertainment as the football. Brilliant blue skies, sunshine, hail, sleet, snow and strong winds all spent part of their afternoon in Salford 7 to see The Ammies reclaim the National League North’s top spot.

There was a single change from the side that started the win –vs- Tamworth eleven days ago as Jack Redshaw came in for Josh Askew.

It was cold as the game got underway but for the moment there was no real sign of the atmospheric eccentricity that would make its presence felt later in the day. Spennymoor started off in lively fashion with no sign of a hangover from their midweek FA Trophy Quarter Final exit. Moors played some decent passing football early on but subsequent crosses from either flank failed to trouble the home defence.

Encouragement for the intrepid and vocal travelling support but in the 5th minute they had a bird’s-eye view of the opening goal. It was a simple affair too as Walker’s corner from the left fell to the edge of the 6-yard box, right of centre, where CARL PIERGIANNI arrived to power a header past Daniel Lowson. A clinical finish from the former Boston central defender to record his first competitive goal in the colours of Salford City.

A great start to settle any nerves but Spennymoor struck back within another 2 minutes. Moors were awarded a free-kick, deep on the right and at first it seemed as if NATHAN LOWE’S lofted delivery would cause few problems. To the dismay of the supporters gathered behind the goal that didn’t turn out to be the case as this most capricious of winds caught the flight of the ball and pushed it towards goal. Max Crocombe got his left hand to it but it wasn't enough to keep the ball out and Spennymoor had a quick leveller.

Despite being pegged back so quickly the Ammies responded with considerable determination. With a dozen minutes played Redshaw, with back to goal, poked a pass to the left for Lois Maynard. The skipper burst into the area but was unfortunate as possession just slid away from him, allowing Town to scramble clear of danger.

Seconds after that Ibou Touray and Walker combined well on the left with the former dropping a cross into the penalty area. Jack Redshaw moved the ball on and Maynard hit a low 22-yarder straight at Lowson.

The first yellow card of the afternoon went to Mark Shelton on the quarter-hour although there seemed little intent in a challenge that left Lowe requiring treatment.

Salford were doing all the pressing at this point and Walker showed consummate control as he brought down a diagonal pass to the left before setting off on a run. A low, drilled pass towards the far post followed but Lowson did well to divert the ball away from Redshaw, eagerly poised to tap home from very close range.

Walker was involved again in the 16th minute, sliding a pass down the left for Touray to run on to. The full-back made it to the line before delivering a low cross that James Curtis, stretching towards his own goal, managed to divert to relative safety on the far side.

Moors had been quiet for a while but they put together a quick counter-attack with 20 minutes played. Ryan Hall’s run on the right was followed by a pass inside for Robert Ramshaw who in turn moved the ball over to the left. Glen Taylor was the recipient but from the angle of the box could only lift a shot high over the crossbar.

Hall would have even more of an impact in due course but for now the attacking momentum remained with Salford. Lowe’s challenge on Haughton outside the area conceded a free kick and Walker lifted the set-piece into the edge of the box. Maynard was there to meet it but his looping header dropped outside Lowson’s left-hand upright.

Shelton was the next to threaten, delivering low into the area from the right. The ball was poked clear but only as far as Walker whose left-footer from 16 yards appeared to take a deflection on its way over the bar. No corner was awarded and Spennymoor began to seem more of the ball after that.

Shane Henry did well to prod a pass left for Andrew Johnson who duly launched a cross into the penalty area. Ramshaw had been allowed to move into space and got up to flick on a 15-yard header that dropped wide of the far post.

A decent chance for the visitors and 2 minutes later they edged themselves ahead. It was a well worked goal too as Ramshaw, inside his own half and wide on the right, took his time on the ball before threading a forward pass that sent HALL away on a run. With Piergianni desperately trying to keep up the Moors’ winger sprinted into box and cut inside to clip a cool 8-yard finish wide of Crocombe and inside the far post.

A bit of a sucker punch from Salford’s point of view but to be fair the visitors had played some good football at times and always looked dangerous when given time and space to exploit. It could have been worse for the Ammies too when just a couple of minutes after Hall’s goal Johnson slipped a pass inside from the left. Taylor had time to steady himself but from left-of-centre and on the edge of the box elected to shoot and was disappointed to see that effort soar high above the West Stand roof.

A promising start for Salford had started to unravel but they plugged away and 9 minutes before the interval a Michael Nottingham pass inside from the right found Redshaw. A swift turn gave the Ammies’ top-scorer a sight of goal but his low 20-yarder was smothered by Lowson. Soon afterwards Redshaw did well to get to a Piergianni punt that dropped to earth on Salford’s right, then tucked a pass back to Haughton. The cross towards the near post was decent enough but Curtis got his head to it just before Anthony Dudley and the clearance fell for Maynard. It was inside the area but Salford’s captain could only scuff in an effort that was mopped up by the visiting defence.

During a brief sojourn at the other end Taylor went down inside the area but the referee ignored his claims for a penalty and Salford were soon back on the offensive. Dudley turned the ball into Shelton’s path on the right and after driving into the box the midfielder hit a low shot that was too close to Lowson. Moors failed to clear their lines and Touray’s pass on the left found Walker whose low cross was picked up by Haughton on the far side of the box. A first attempt on goal crashed into Moors’ skipper Chris Mason and the loose ball was bundled behind by Lowson as Haughton closed in for a second bite at the cherry.

It was looking as if Spennymoor would take their slender advantage into the half-time break but during time added on the ever tricky Walker was downed just outside the area. Shelton lined up the left-of-centre free-kick but his well struck effort whistled wide of Lowson’s left-hand post.


Having had the lion’s share of possession and chances Salford found themselves trailing at the interval and against a stubborn and well-organised Moors side had plenty to do if there afternoon wasn’t to end with some degree of disappointment.

That task could have become considerably more daunting within 3 minutes of the restart. Lowe’s pass out to the left was a good one and Johnson suddenly had a clear run on goal. Nottingham set off in pursuit and his presence may have encouraged Johnson to snatch a little with an angled 10-yarder that Crocombe did well to stop and then claim at the second attempt.

That could easily have been 3-1 but Salford were soon looking to apply pressure at the other end as they searched for an equaliser. Redshaw sliced a shot wide before Piergianni and Walker had efforts blocked as Town got men behind the ball to protect their lead.

Shelton’s run through the inside left channel had Spennymoor defenders retreating but his shot from the edge of the area cleared the crossbar by some distance.

Just before the hour Salford joint managers Anthony Johnson & Bernard Morley introduced Josh Askew & Gus Mafuta for Haughton & Shelton but it was another change that would have the greatest immediate impact. The weather had grown gradually mores squally and now a biting, aggressive Easterly wind drove snow across the pitch and into the faces of Spennymoor Town’s players.

The Ammies had the wind at their backs and would adapt better to some of the least pleasant conditions we’ve seen at Moor Lane for some considerable time. In the 61st minute Touray whipped in a teasing cross that forced a Town defender to head over his own bar as red shirts closed in. Within a minute Walker delivered a good ball from the left to the near post and Piegianni’s diving header flashed just wide of the target.

At this point it became difficult to see from one side of the pitch to the other, never mind from end-to-end as the strengthening wind whipped thick snowfall all over the place. We don’t know if a pause – or even abandonment – crossed the mind of the referee at any point but the game was allowed to continue on a snow covered pitch.

Salford were in the driving seat and Mafuta’s long ball from wide on the right was chased by Redshaw but the rapidly advancing Lowson got there first. Askew was looking lively for the Ammies and he got into the box on the left before slamming in a tight-angled shot that Lowson clawed away at the near post.

A leveller was most definitely in the air and it arrived in the 67th minute after Piergianni’s cracking shot from the edge of the area had been parried by Lowson. The loose ball fell for WALKER, just insde the area and right-of-centre. He hit a low effort that Johnson tried to block but the powerfully hit shot spun up and past Lowson to billow the back of the net.

A touch of luck that was no more than Salford deserved but in this tight race for the title they now needed to go for a winner. Redshaw did his best as he defied the dreadful conditions to weave through the Town defence but Lowson was there again to make a save.

The Ammies haven’t always made the most of periods on top this season but today they certainly did, completing their second half comeback to take a 75th minute lead. Askew’s cross from the left fell for Piergianni who turned to crack in a shot that Lowson did well to save. Fortune was against Town on this occasion as the loose ball rolled towards the keeper’s left-hand post where WALKER tapped home from very close range.

Cockles of hearts well and truly warmed in the West Stand and the Ammies could have wrapped up the points within another couple of minutes. Askew found space left-of-centre to lob in an effort from 20 yards but the ball dropped just over the bar and onto the roof of the net.

The wild conditions abated somewhat after that and Town found it easier to play their neat, passing game despite the lying snow that covered the playing surface. Hall’s pass found Ramshaw on the edge of the box and he hit a rising screamer that Crocombe managed to tip over the crossbar for a corner. Another good save from the New Zealander who will this week head for Spain and hopefully a first full international cap.

Meanwhie he soon had more work to do as Hall hit a low shot from distance that was safely gathered. For Salford Askew’s pass found Redshaw on the left and he cut inside before floating in an effort that drifted wide of the far post.

With 9 minutes left Scott Burton was brought on for Redshaw and his presence in midfield tightened up the game. Spennymoor did their best to push forward but were unable to find a way through to goal. Two minutes into time added on Burton’s touch to Dudley was moved on for Walker whose low shot was deflected wide for a corner.

It looked as if that might be that but right at the death Spennymoor won a free-kick just outside the penalty area. Substitute Mark Anderson lined this one up and hearts were in mouths for the majority of those who had braved the elements. When it came the low shot was firmly hit but wide of Crocombe’s left-hand post and the referee almost immediately brought proceedings to a close.


You could see what this win meant to the players at the final whistle and their feelings were certainly echoed on three sides of the ground. This was an absolutely priceless win against a good side who were keen to return to winning ways as they sought to banish Wednesday evening’s Trophy disappointment.

Certainly nobody could accuse the Ammies of lacking heart - late goals against Bradford Park Avenue and Tamworth proved that and today the response to going behind was impressive. Once again enough chances were created to have won more comfortably and if the knack of putting them away is found somebody is going to cop for a king-size hiding. Hopefully that will be the case now that we are down to a single figure of remaining league games.

There were plenty of big performances today but perhaps special words are due for Piergianni who got his long overdue first Salford goal today and could have added more. Pidge was a tower of strength this afternoon, not just at the back but up front too where he was involved in all three goals. Tom Walker has been a revelation since signing from FC United and his movement and creativity gave Spennymoor’s defence plenty of work to do. He will score cleaner goals in the future but maybe not too many that may prove more significant.

It’s not difficult to feel sympathy for Spennymoor who had atrocious conditions to face during the second half and that was certainly a factor as their half-time lead was overturned. Moors are one of the better footballing teams we’ve encountered this season and would certainly look to be a good bet for the play-offs where they will doubtless prove to be difficult opponents.

The seventeenth day of meteorological spring produced a cracking, full-blooded game of football played in some of the most trying conditions we’ve witnessed. Let’s hope the current 4 game unbeaten run is extended in somewhat milder conditions as top of the table Salford City chase what would be a remarkable third promotion in four seasons.

1-0 Carl PIERGIANNI (5th min)
1-1 Nathan LOWE (7th min)
1-2 Ryan HALL (31st min)
2-2 Tom WALKER (67th min)
3-2 Tom WALKER (72nd min)

Attendance: 1,237