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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
7
Matt Green
1 goals for Matt Green

Brockbank '84

11
Tom Walker
15
Liam Nolan
18
Danny Whitehead
23
Nathan Pond
30
Rory Gaffney
1 goals for Rory Gaffney

Dieseruvwe '84

Wrexham
18
Rob Lainton
3
James Jennings
5
Shaun Pearson (c)
Yellow card for Shaun Pearson (c)
7
Luke Summerfield
13
Mark Carrington

Roberts '67

14
Paul Rutherford
16
Brad Walker
20
Akil Wright

Young '56

23
Stuart Beavon

Tollitt '46

30
Jake Lawlor
32
Bobby Grant
Substitutes
12
Max Crocombe
9
Adam Rooney
10
Danny Lloyd
20
Mani Dieseruvwe
24
Harry Brockbank
Substitutes
1
Christian Dibble
2
Kevin Roberts
8
Luke Young
Yellow card for Luke Young
10
Chris Holroyd
29
Ben Tollitt
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Managers
Manager - Graham Barrow
Match Officals
Referee - Andrew Miller
Assistant Referee - Kenwyn Hughes
Assistant Referee - Kristian Silcock

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Match
Report

Salford City welcomed the new year with a return to winning ways, beating second-placed Wrexham 2-0 at The Peninsula Stadium. It’s only 6 days since the Dragons won the 'first leg' of this festive double 5-1 and manager Graham Alexander will take particular satisfaction from a job very well done today. Gone was the hesitancy that marked that disappointing afternoon at The Racecourse, replaced by an efficient determination to bring a dispiriting 4 game losing streak to an end.

Some brave selection decisions were made for this crucial game, with Danny Lloyd and leading scorer Adam Rooney dropping down to the bench. Rory Gaffney was restored to the starting line-up to form an attacking partnership with Matt Green, with Liam Nolan slotting into the midfield trio. Gus Mafuta’s red-card at Barrow attracted a 3-match ban so Tom Walker – returned from a more modest 1 game suspension – was back as well.

In front of a crowd just in excess of 4,000 the game got off to a lively start, with Salford doing most of the early pressing. The Dragons won an early corner though, but Liam Hogan playing on the right of the central defensive 3, set a precedent for the afternoon when his header cleared the delivery.

Green almost found a way through to the goal for The Ammies with 5 minutes played, but Mark Carrington got in a great challenge.

Salford went so close to an opening goal in the 8th minute after Walker slid a pass out to the left for Ibou Touray to chase. The full-back opened his Ammie goals account on Saturday and very nearly doubled his tally here, slamming in a rising effort that came off the crossbar and dropped wide of the far post for a goal-kick. The pressure was soon back on and Green wriggled past Jake Lawlor into the right-hand side of the penalty area. James Jennings got back to cover with a sliding block and from Green’s low shot the ball spun off him and toward goal. Rob Lainton produced a great reaction save to deny Salford an early goal, extending a strong arm into the air, with a defender on hand to complete the clearance.

This was a good spell for The Ammies and Touray attacked again on the left before swinging a cross toward the far post. Danny Whitehead got up well to meet it, but under pressure he could only glance a header down and wide.

To their credit, Wrexham hauled themselves back into the game after that, keeping possession and slowing proceedings down for a while. The visitors were starting to look for gaps in Salford’s defence although not many were to be found.

It seemed as if The Dragons had ridden the early storm safely, but they fell behind midway through the first-half. Hogan was fouled inside the Wrexham half and Walker’s free-kick from right-of-centre was met by a Wrexham head. The ball dropped inside the box and GREEN needed no second invitation, guiding a low shot between Lainton and his right-hand post.

No more than Salford deserved, but they had some defending to do as the visitors looked for a quick response. A free-kick from deep on the left dropped to the far post, but Lawlor was stretching as he put in a 6-yard header that fell wide of Chris Neal’s left-hand upright. Down at the School End Whitehead’s dart to the line on the right was followed by a lofted cross that dropped beyond the far post. Touray seems to be developing an appetite for goals since notching his first at the weekend, but his airborne first-time effort was blocked by a defender.

The Ammies were soon driving forward again and Scott Wiseman picked up a return pass from Gaffney before getting to the line on the right. A low ball into the box followed and although Green was apparently manhandled, play was allowed to continue until Whitehead drove a low effort at Lainton.

Wrexham hadn’t managed to put their hosts under pressure for a while although a well-struck low effort from Jennings was blocked in front of goal by Hogan.

Salford were still looking to get a second goal before the interval and could have had one in the 37th minute. Walker nicked possession wide on the left, almost on the halfway line before swapping passes with Green and advancing. A cross was aimed at the far stick, but Gaffney couldn’t get close to it and the ball dropped wide for a goal-kick. There was more good football from the Ammies with Nolan’s long ball forward dropping for Gaffney via a Wrexham defender. A stroked pass wide found Touray who nudged inside for Walker to try a 20-yarder that wasn’t too far over the crossbar.

A good half for the home side but it could have ended on a disappointing note as Wrexham put together a crisp attacking move. Skipper Shaun Pearson’s low ball out to the left was picked up by Jennings who crossed to the far post. Carrington got up to meet it but the chance was a difficult one, with the header high and wide of the target.

HALF-TIME: SALFORD CITY 1 WREXHAM 0

An eminently satisfactory first half from Salford on the back of a fraught recent spell, but the lead was a fragile one. Dragons’ manager Graham Barrow made a change during the break, replacing Stuart Beavon with Ben Tollitt.

Once again it was The Ammies who started strongest, pushing their opponents back during the early minutes of the half. Wrexham had to concentrate on their defensive duties, with Pearson booked for an over-enthusiastic challenge on Whitehead. Walker had a go from the free-kick only for Lainton to easily scoop up his 30-yarder.

Wrexham burst into attacking life after that, with Brad Walker’s shot from distance flicking of Neal’s gloves and wide of his right-hand post. The corner was cleared and Wrexham made their second change of the afternoon, with Luke Young coming on for the quiet Akil Wright.

Not too many chances so far for The Dragons but Luke Summerfield went close in the 57th minute after collecting Paul Rutherford’s ball inside from the right. The midfielder hit a stinging, rising effort from almost 25-yards, forcing Neal to stretch as he tipped the ball over the bar. Another corner for Wrexham but like too many of their set-pieces it failed to cause any concern, with this one plucked out of the air by Neal.

Something for the vocal 1,400 away fans to get excited about but just a couple of minutes later their side conceded a 2nd goal. It was a good one from Salford’s point of view, with a spell of patient, neat passing leading up to Whitehead’s nudged forward pass for Walker. A trademark weaving run followed and when space for a shot didn’t open up, the former Bolton man headed for the line on the left. A low ball inside followed and GAFFNEYmade the most of it. His first touch, with back to goal, was a great one as he wrong-footed two defenders. His last was even better, turning smartly to guide a low, left-footer between Lainton and his left-hand post.

A two-goal cushion for Salford who were good value for it, but Wrexham were by no means finished yet. The visitors saw plenty of the ball during the minutes that followed yet Neal and his defence were equal to everything thrown at them. That central defensive trio in particular looked to have set their collective heart on a clean sheet, with skipper Hogan leading by example with a strong, dominant performance.

The Ammies seemed content to hit on the break at this point and Walker’s pass to the right gave Whitehead chance to get in a cross. The delivery dropped to the near post where Green was crowded out before Gaffney had his effort blocked. Wrexham couldn’t clear their lines and Walker’s 25-yarder from a central position cleared the bar by yards.

The Dragons’ frustrations were growing as the second half progressed, with a couple of penalty shouts turned down before Young was booked for pulling back Walker. Still the visitors looked to get men forward and Bobby Grant met Rutherford’s cross from the right with a 12-yard header. The ball rose high into the air before dropping harmlessly into the hands of Neal.

The Ammies’ priority was to protect their lead, but they were happy to push forward when the chance presented itself. Lawlor’s foul on Green won a free-kick on the left with Hogan meeting Tom Walker’s delivery with a header that bounced wide of the far post.

Wrexham’s set-pieces, especially the corners, proved easy pickings for Neal and his defence and time was running out for The Dragons. With 9 minutes to play Grant won a soft free-kick, 25-yards out and right-of-centre. Jennings’ left-footed strike was a very decent one, forcing Neal to dive to his left and push the ball around the upright for a corner. This time Grant got onto the end of Summerfield’s cross, but the ball spun off team-mate Kevin Roberts and wide for a goal-kick,

It was Salford’s turn to attack next after Pearson’s misjudged header fell for Whitehead on Salford’s right. The midfielder tucked a pass inside from Green only for his rising effort to clear the crossbar comfortably.

Graham Alexander looked to tie up a precious 3 points late on, moving to a 5-4-1 formation after Mani Dieseruvwe & Harry Brockbank came on for Gaffney & Green. That barrier of 9 players behind the ball proved even more difficult for Wrexham to break down although a corner almost fell for Brad Walker in front of goal before Young blasted high and wide of the target.

The referee indicated 4 minutes of time to be added on and the visitors poured forward in a last-ditch effort to rescue something from the game. During the 2nd of those minutes Brad Walker thumped in a shot that was deflected wide and the corner – as so many had been this afternoon– was dealt with by the home defence.

FULL-TIME: SALFORD CITY 2 WREXHAM 0

This was a big game for both sides, of course, but of the two it was Salford who really needed a positive result. Following a 20-match unbeaten run those 4 consecutive defeats had come as something of a shock and it was a run that had to be curtailed. A change in personnel that would have raised plenty of eyebrows was vindicated by an energetic performance that yielded 3 points and a clean sheet for the first time since 1st December.

Seeds of doubt had been planted by that recent run of poor results but good sides emerge stronger from traumatic times – the signs are that The Ammies have done just that. The defeat at Barrow on Saturday was not deserved, especially considering that Salford played an hour with 10 men, but fortune was against them at the weekend.

They left nothing to chance today, putting in a controlled, efficient performance that earned a measure of revenge for that Boxing Day mauling in North Wales. Wrexham were limited to a couple of decent chances this afternoon and the new attacking partnership grabbed a goal apiece.

A timely return to form and Salford will have to carry the improvement into the weekend to, as they travel to London for a game against leaders Leyton Orient…

Attendance: 4,044 (1,400 from Wrexham)

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