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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
3
Ibou Touray
Yellow card for Ibou Touray
4
Oscar Threlkeld

Dieseruvwe 80'

5
Liam Hogan (c)
Yellow card for Liam Hogan (c)
7
Luke Armstrong

Rooney 55'

15
Cameron Burgess
17
Richie Towell
25
Joey Jones
28
Brandon Thomas-Asante
1 goals for Brandon Thomas-Asante
32
Jake Jervis

Hunter 46'

44
Craig Conway
Walsall
1
Liam Roberts
2
Cameron Norman
5
James Clarke (c)
6
Dan Scarr
8
Liam Kinsella
9
Caolan Lavery
1 goals for Caolan Lavery
10
Josh Gordon
1 goals for Josh Gordon
15
Rory Holden
20
Alfie Bates
21
Callum Cockerill-Mollett

Sadler 16'

25
Wes McDonald

Jules 84'

Substitutes
12
Kyle Letheren
9
Adam Rooney
13
Sam Hughes
18
Danny Whitehead
20
Mani Dieseruvwe
34
Alex Doyle
45
Ashley Hunter
Substitutes
13
Jack Rose
4
Mat Sadler
14
Kory Roberts
17
James Hardy
27
Joe Willis
32
Sam Perry
33
Zak Jules
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Managers
Manager - Darrell Clarke
Match Officals
Referee - Christopher Pollard
Assistant Referee - Barry Gordon
Assistant Referee - Robert Atkin
Fourth Official - Richard Woodward

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Match
Report

2020 has got off to a somewhat inauspicious start for Salford City, with the New Year’s Day setback at Grimsby followed by today’s home defeat at the hands of Walsall. The Saddlers went ahead before the break before adding a second early in the second half. Graham Alexander’s side would dominate the rest of the game, creating a number of chances but in the end only had Brandon Asante’s goal to show for their efforts.

There were changes from the side that lost 1-0 at Blundell Park 3 days earlier, with Joey Jones in for Danny Whitehead and Adam Rooney making way for Luke Armstrong. Included among the substitutes was Ash Hunter, whose loan move from Fleetwood Town was completed on Friday.

The very early stages of the match would be quiet, but Craig Conway went close for Salford in the 7th minute. The Scottish winger cut in from the left onto his right foot, hitting a rising drive that only just cleared the bar. The Ammies went even closer just a few minutes later after Conway rolled a free-kick wide on the right short for Ibou Touray. The cross was aimed at the near post where Armstrong got up to challenge, with the ball dropping towards the edge of the box. Liam Hogan – making his 100th Salford appearance this afternoon – nodded towards the far post where Josh Gordon failed to clear. Jake Jervis pounced on the loose ball, slamming in first-time effort from the angle of the 6-yard box that beat Liam Roberts only to flick off the top of the bar and out of play.

A good chance not taken, and the next incident of note came just past the quarter hour as Walsall’s Callum Cockerill-Mollett had to be replaced by the appropriately named Mat Sadler.

Home keeper Chris Neal did well to claim Gordon’s low cross from the right, then in the 20th minute Salford went almost went ahead. Brandon Thomas-Asante did well to find a yard inside the box, then slipped a pass to Armstrong only for Roberts to make a great save, deflecting the ball to safety off his legs.

The Saddlers had been second best so far, but they went ahead in the 27th minute. Wes McDonald’s powerful run on the left took him into the Salford area and the low cross towards the far post was a good one. CAOLAN LAVERY slid in to make contact from about 4 yards out, with Neal managing to push the bouncing effort back out. Fortune frowned on the Ammies’ keeper as the ball came off Lavery’s knee as he sought to regain his feet, and this time it dropped wide of the grounded Neal and over the line.

A goal against the run of play and Salford had to wait until the 35th minute for their first real chance to level the scores. Asante had a go from distance, hitting a swerving effort that Robert had to push around his post, at the expense of a corner.

The final opportunity of the first half went Walsall’s way during its penultimate minute. A nicely worked free kick gave Lavery the chance to cross for Gordon, whose shot was blocked by Cameron Burgess. At the other end Asante played Richie Towell into space on the left but what could have been a good chance was spoiled by a heavy first touch that carried the ball safely through to Roberts.

HALF-TIME: SALFORD CITY 0 WALSALL 1

Salford made a change during the interval as Jervis made way for debutant Hunter in what was a like-for-like switch.

The Saddlers would make a lively start to the second half and went close to doubling their advantage within a couple of minutes. Skipper James Clarke appeared to have been boxed in wide on the right yet managed to launch a high cross that dropped just beyond the far post. Lavery met the delivery with a firm, downward header but the angle was tight and Neal – well positioned at his near post – managed to push the ball out for Hogan to get in a hooked clearance.

A couple of minutes later Asante had the ball in the net for Salford, but the offside flag had already been raised against Armstrong who had headed the ball on to him.

Unlucky for the Ammies and in the 52nd minute they found themselves chasing a two-goal deficit. Again McDonald was the architect, making ground on the left before rolling a low, square delivery into the box. Gordon flicked a low, first-time eight-yarder that spun off Neal’s gloves and Lavery slid in to reach the loose ball. The Salford’s keeper got his body in the way to make a brave, blocking save inside his 6-yard box only for luck to let him down again. The loose ball dropped towards Neal’s left-hand upright with Gordon arriving first to slam a close-range finish into the net, despite a valiant attempt by the grounded keeper to stop it.

Two instances of so-so defending had cost the Ammies dear, but they displayed a real intent to claw their way back into the game.

Walsall’s pressing game had served them well so far, but the home side found some attacking rhythm as the second half progressed.

Club top scorer Rooney came on for Armstrong shortly after Gordon’s goal and the balance of the game began to tip Salford’s way. In the 58th minute Conway launched a ball into the box from deep and wide on the right, with Roberts forced to stretch and tip away as it threatened to drop under his crossbar.

From the next attack Jones let fly with a 25-yarder that took a deflection off a defender, with the ball dropping outside Roberts’ left-hand post.

The Ammies were exerting some consistent pressure and on the hour Asante did well to keep possession on the edge of the area before nudging a pass inside for Jones. A powerfully struck shot from 20 yards out followed but the effort slapped into a black shirted defender.

Salford were knocking on the door and in the 62nd minute Towell’s short pass found Conway on the right. This time his delivery – again from a relatively deep position – was a peach, dropping over Dan Scarr and to the edge of the 6-yard box.
ASANTE had lost his man and adjusted body shape expertly to meet the cross with a downward 5-yarder that gave Roberts no hope at all of making a save.

Plenty of time left for the Ammies to chase an equaliser, and Rooney tried an ambitious effort from distance and slightly right of centre. It was decently struck but Roberts scampered to his right where he scooped up the ball.

Conway produced another good cross midway through the second half, this time from the left. His right-footed delivery dropped for Towell beyond the far post only for a first-time effort to skip off the turf and into Roberts’ arms at the near post. A difficult chance from a tight angle, and the Ammies were still looking for that leveller.

The home side might have been dominating possession, but they certainly couldn’t afford to switch off at the back. Soon after Towell’s chance Walsall’s Rory Holden found McDonald on the left and he cut into the angle of the box before driving a low effort straight at Neal. A couple of minutes later Holden collected possession inside the Salford half before laying a pass off to Gordon whose 20-yarder from left of centre cleared the crossbar by a foot or two.

A reminder that the Saddlers still carried a sting and Hogan was booked shortly afterwards after unfairly blocking Liam Kinsella’s advance.

The Ammie offensive started again after that, with Conway aiming another cross from the right at the near post. Rooney went for it but a great defensive diving header from Scarr cleared the danger.

At the other end McDonald moved inside from the left to run along the edge of Salford’s penalty area. He was still a little left of centre when he hammered in a shot that flashed just wide of the far post.

Chances for both sides and with 13 minutes to play Salford had another. Asante’s pass inside from the left found Hunter in space and he couldn’t resist a shot on goal. The idea was sound but the execution less so as the gently curling effort dropped a few yards wide of the far post.

In the 80th minute Jones took possession just inside the Walsall half and was able to advance through the middle. With nobody closing him down the midfielder hit a pacey rising shot from 30 yards out that was on course for Roberts’ top left-hand corner. The Saddlers keeper needed to produce something special to keep this one out, and he did just that, diving to his left to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Fine keeping, and Roberts would do even better before the afternoon was over. In the meantine Mani Dieseruvwe came on for Oscar Threlkeld and in the 81st minute a corner caused chaos in the Walsall penalty area. Conway’s lofted delivery from the right dropped to the far post where Hogan rose highest to get in a header that Roberts clawed away. Hogan got to the loose ball first, on the left and tight to the line, then managed to work the ball back into the middle. This time Roberts punched partially clear, with Hunter hitting a low left of centre 16-yarder that was blocked by Clarke.

Walsall had been pushed deep and the Ammies spent the closing minutes trying to force a way through the ranks of black shirts. With 4 minutes left to play Towell’s cross from the right was met by Dieseruvwe who could only plant a header straight at Roberts.

Plenty of late pressure from Salford but they had a real escape at the other end 3 minutes from time. Burgess’ back pass to Neal from the right-back position fell very short and as Lavery burst past the Salford central defender inside the box, he appeared to be pulled back. It looked a stonewall penalty, but the well positioned referee waved away Walsall’s appeals.

In the last minute of the 90 a long ball forward fell temptingly for Hunter outside the Walsall box, but with debut-day glory beckoning his shot flew high over the crossbar.

There were to be 6 minutes of time added on and the Ammies spent most of it inside Walsall’s half, only to be held at bay by some determined defending. In the 5th of those Salford were awarded a free-kick, with Conway dropping a great delivery from left-of-centre into the penalty area. Burgess got away from Clarke, getting in an 8-yard downwards header that appeared destined to rescue a last-gasp point. Roberts had other ideas, dropping down to his left to push the ball away and from an angle on the right Jones couldn’t get his follow-up on target.

An outstanding save to cap a very good performance from Roberts and time had run out for the Ammies as they slipped to a 5th home league defeat of the season.

FULL-TIME: SALFORD CITY 1 WALSALL 2

Not a game that Salford deserved to lose, but that is becoming an all too familiar story this season. League Two is an unforgiving place and if you squander your chances then switch off a time or two at the back, defeat is likely to follow.

Two impressive wins right after Christmas seemed to have set the Ammies up for an assault on the play-off places but successive defeats since then have tempered those hopes a little. The gap is a by no means insurmountable 9 points, but we are well into the second half of the season and a consistent run of results needs to start as soon as possible.

On another day Salford might have scored 3 or 4 goals but the rate of chance to goal conversion remains disappointing. Hunter looks to have the quality required to make a real difference and hopefully his arrival can kick-start a concerted effort to climb the table.

There’s a break from league action on Tuesday as the Ammies entertain Port Vale in the EFL Trophy before Northampton Town visit the Peninsula Stadium on Saturday. A couple of wins would be more than welcome lads…

Attendance: 3,173 (including 1,291 Walsall)

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