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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
Vaclav Hladky
Ibou Touray
Jason Lowe
Ash Eastham (c)
Tom Clarke
Yellow card for Tom Clarke

Bernard 46'

Jordan Turnbull
Richie Towell

Burgess 72'

Robbie Gotts
Paul Coutts

Hunter 46'

Brandon Thomas-Asante
Ian Henderson
Bolton Wanderers
Matt Gilks
Gethin Jones
MJ Williams
Yellow card for MJ Williams
Ricardo Almeida Santos
Eoin Doyle (c)

Miller 76'

Lloyd Isgrove
1 goals for Lloyd Isgrove

Elbouzedi 84'

George Thomason
Yellow card for George Thomason
Alex Baptiste
Declan John
Kieran Lee
Yellow card for Kieran Lee
Oladapo Afolayan

Delfouneso 76'

William Evans
Tom James
Ash Hunter
Yellow card for Ash Hunter
Di'Shon Bernard
George Boyd
Luke Burgess
Yellow card for Luke Burgess
Mani Dieseruvwe
Ryan Delaney
Nathan Delfouneso
Andrew Tutte
Shaun Miller
Harry Brockbank
Arthur Gnahoua
Zak Elbouzedi
Manager - Gary Bowyer
Manager - Ian Evatt
Match Officals
Referee - Alan Young
Assistant Referee - Declan Ford
Assistant Referee - Alistair Nelson
Fourth Official - Peter Wright

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Salford City’s unbeaten home league record, and probably their outside hopes of automatic promotion, bit the dust as a first half Lloyd Isgrove goal proved just enough for Bolton Wanderers. The visitors enjoyed an impressive opening half-hour and could have added one or two more to their 23rd minute opener. After that it was the Ammies who took control of the game, ultimately without managing to test Trotters’ keeper Matt Gilks often – or severely – enough.

There was a single change from the XI that started Saturday’s win over Stevenage, with injured Oscar Threlkeld replaced in central midfield by Jason Lowe. That left a space at right-back, filled by Tom Clarke whose place on the bench was occupied by Tom James.

A big game, yet both sides showed a willingness to push men forward. In the 2nd minute former Trotter Jason Lowe played a long ball through the inside-left channel, with Ian Henderson setting off in chase. In a race between two veterans, it was the 38-year-old Gilks who got there first, heading clear then finishing the job by nodding into touch.

The first real chance of the evening came 7 minutes later as Robbie Gotts delivered a low cross from the left. Henderson was on the end if it yet could only scuff a low 12-yard left-footed effort straight at Gilks who gathered at the second attempt.

Bolton joined in soon afterwards when Oladapo Afolayan’s shot from outside the box spun off Ibou Touray and into the path of centrally positioned Eoin Doyle. A great chance for the Trotters’ leading scorer but Václav Hladký spread himself expertly to make a great blocking save on the edge of the 6-yard box. Seconds later an Afolayan cross from the left dropped beyond the far post, where it was headed back across goal by Isgrove. Doyle was there again, stooping low to head a 6-yarder that rolled inches wide of the keeper’s right-hand upright.

Two pretty decent chances for Bolton and there would be another one in the 14th minute. The busy Isgrove slid a pass to the right for Gethin Jones whose square delivery inside picked out Doyle. Having cleverly evaded Ash Eastham's attentions the Irishman got in a low first-time 14-yard effort that was too close to Hladký, allowing him to make a routine save.

There would be yet another opportunity for Doyle, just a couple of minutes later after a low ball inside from Afolayan on the right ran through to him. A dart inside from the left opened up some space but once again the Irishman was thwarted as Hladký dropped smartly to push his low 17-yard effort away.

You’d have expected a player of Doyle’s pedigree to have put away at least one of those chances, and the Ammies were certainly riding their luck a little.

It was Afolayan’s turn next as he got past Clarke before hitting an effort from the left-hand angle of the box. Once again Bolton’s sights weren’t quite in as the ball rose steadily, clearing the crossbar by some distance.

Clarke was booked for a foul on the lively Afoloyan, and the first quarter of the game had belonged to Bolton Wanderers. All that was missing for Ian Evatt’s side was a goal, and they remedied that situation in the 23rd minute. A squared free-kick from the left was threaded into the box by George Thomason, with Kieran Lee and then MJ Williams moving the ball out to the right. ISGROVE checked, moved inside a pace or two then hit a curling 18-yard left-footer that squeezed between home defenders Ash Eastham and Jordan Turnbull before dropping just inside a possibly unsighted Hladký’s right-hand post.

A nice move and a good - albeit sedate - finish, although Salford’s defence might have done a little more to prevent it. Even so, the goal was fair reward for Bolton’s enterprising start to the game, although it would mark an almost immediate end to their domination.

The Ammies steadied after going behind and Lee was booked just before the half-hour for a foul on Paul Coutts.
Eleven minutes before the interval the home side could well have levelled the game after Brandon Thomas-Asante’s diagonal low pass to the right picked out Henderson. The Salford top-scorer has been in good form recently but and unfortunate bobble spoiled an angled 7-yard effort that cleared the crossbar.

Salford were seeing more of the ball in attacking positions and Gotts tried an ambitious lobbed effort from 25 yards out and left of centre that soared high before dropping well wide of the far post.

Bolton were no longer creating chances at will, yet 5 minutes before the break Afoloyan won a crunching challenge with Richie Towell inside the Salford half. An advance into the right-hand side of the box was followed by a low finish past Hladký, yet by that time the referee had already blow up for the foul.

Salford spent what remained of the first half pressing for an equaliser. In the 43rd minute Ibou Touray pushed forward on the left before lifting a good cross beyond the far post. Clarke got up above Lee to meet the delivery only for his downwards header back across goal to bounce outside the far upright.

Thomas-Asante’s pass to the left found Henderson, who hit a shot that triggered appeals for handball against a Bolton defender. The referee was unconvinced, and Towell collected Jason Lowe's pass to hit a low half-volley from 22 yards out and left of centre. It was a good strike but Gilks was equal to it as he stretched to the left and pushed the ball away.

Williams was booked for a heavy challenge on Gotts and that was it for an action-packed first half that ended with the visitors a goal to the good.


That was the 8th goalless first half in 9 games for the Ammies, and they had work to do if their unbeaten home record was to be maintained. Two substitutions were made at half-time, with Di’Shon Bernard replacing Clarke and Coutts making way for Ash Hunter.

There was a promising intensity and energy about Salford's play as the second half got underway, with the Trotters forced onto the back foot almost from the restart. Bolton were defending stoutly, yet might well have conceded a penalty in the 50th minute.

Jordan Turnbull lifted a delivery high from a deep left of centre position, with Gilks positioning himself outside the far post to make what should have been a simple catch. Instead the keeper fumbled, and in his haste to regain possession appeared to flatten Henderson tight to the line. Salford appealed for a penalty - with some justification - but the referee and his assistant would not oblige, rubbing salt into the Ammie wounds by awarding Bolton a goal-kick.

The Ammies were pressing and harrying, with the visitors struggling to get out of their own half. In contrast with Bolton’s spell on top, goalscoring opportunities were not really arriving thick and fast. In the 58th minute a Hunter played Touray into space and his cross from the left found Henderson, only for the 10-yard header to loop up then drop well wide of Gilks’ right-hand post.

It was all Salford by now, but most of their best work was done outside the final third and Bolton’s well-drilled defence was holding firm.

Midway through the second half Bernard tricked his way inside from the right before passing inside for Thomas-Asante. The return pass was slid neatly back into the box and this time Bernard's clever flick inside found Gotts.
From 15 yards out the Leeds loanee hit a shot that crashed into the considerable form of Bolton defender Ricardo Almeida Santos , with the ball dropping out on Salford's right for a throw-in.
homas-Asante stroked a pass into the area for Bernard, who moved possession on for Gotts. Ricardo Almeida Santos got in a timely block and was there again to get in the way of Gotts’ second bite of the cherry.

Within a minute Gotts turned brilliantly outside the area before playing a ball forward into the right-hand side of the box for Towell to chase. The Salford midfielder did tremendously, stretching to wrap his right foot around the ball virtually in the touchline, lifting a dangerous cross into the centre. There were red shirts buzzing about but again Santos was in the way, this time getting in a solid clearing header from inside the 6-yard box.

The Ammies needed a goal, but as the game entered its final quarter they hadn’t really come all that close to getting it. Bolton had seen little of the ball inside the home half, but 19 minutes from time Doyle’s shot deflected off a defender and into the path of Lee. The midfielder had space to hit a low effort that flicked off a Salford man and wide of Hladký’s right-hand post for a corner.

Luke Burgess has been known to unlock the odd defence and he entered the fray in the 72nd minute, replacing Towell.

Bolton had another opportunity to earn themselves a little breathing space a couple of minutes later. Hunter’s pass inside the visitors’ half was intercepted, with Isgrove sprinting forward on a run that took him deep into Ammie territory. A low diagonal ball to the left found Doyle on the edge of the box and he got between Eastham and Bernard before lifting a first-timer over the crossbar.

At the school end Gotts saw another effort charged down, with Bolton countering to give Doyle a chance to cut into the area from the left. A blocking challenge would leave him on the turf, with the referee ignoring half-hearted pleas for a penalty.

The game was developing an edge as it entered its closing stages, with Thomason picking up a booking. The Trotters made a double substitution after that as former England U21 international Nathan Delfouneso and Shaun Miller replaced Afolayan and Doyle respectively.

Salford substitute Burgess was yellow-carded with 10 minutes left, following a challenge on Isgrove and a few minutes later the Trotters’ goalscorer made way for Zak Elbouzedi.

All that possession since the restart had yielded frustratingly little in front of goal for the Ammies, yet they were almost presented with a leveller 5 minutes from time. Alex Baptiste’s low back-pass had quite a bit of pace on it, with Gilks forced to take a touch that pushed the ball outside his left-hand post. With Henderson closing in at speed the keeper was obliged to try a hasty clearance, succeeding only in slamming the ball into the Ammies’ striker. It could have gone anywhere, but Gilks was in luck as the ball rolled gently back into his hands.

Hunter was booked for a challenge on Elbouzedi with 3 minutes left and Salford’s late ‘big chance’ to grab a point came along very shortly afterwards. Turnbull's low diagonal ball found Burgess on the right and he squared inside for Gotts. A neat pass into the area gave Henderson space to advance into on the right and he carried possession almost to the line before lifting a cross just beyond the far post. Touray controlled the ball, nipped past Elbouzedi, then using his trusty left foot the full-back hammered in a low angled shot that might just have done the trick for Salford. It wasn't to be as Jones got in a tremendous block on the angle of the 6-yard box to deny the Ammies what might well have been a late equaliser.

Great defending from the former Welsh U21 international, very much in keeping with the sheer effort his team had put in to protect their single goal lead.

In the final minute of the 90 Salford won a free-kick on the left, but Hunter's delivery was headed clear by a white-shirted defender.

There were 4 minutes of time to be added on and Bolton got men behind the ball as Salford pumped it forward. In the 3rd of those 4 Eastham headed on Hunter's long cross from the left and Henderson controlled the ball with back to goal before passing to the edge of the area. Bernard arrived to smack in a low shot that was bravely blocked by Delfouneso, and there were more white shirts clustered behind had the ball got through.

The final whistle sounded out and Bolton's players and staff celebrated what was a crucial win for them, but the atmosphere in the home camp was, understandably enough, rather more sombre.


We’ve had quite a few frustrating afternoons and evenings to contend with this season, but this was one of the more intense occasions. Bolton started this game well, created a number of very presentable chances and took one of them. After that, Salford settled into their stride, worked hard, looked the better team yet once again didn’t turn possession into clear cut opportunities to stick the ball into the net.

Gilks probably caused more uneasy moments for himself than Salford managed to do and the wafer thin margins between footballing success and failure once more made themselves all too apparent.

Credit is due to Bolton who have been on a fantastic run that has carried them from the fringe of the relegation zone to the automatic promotion places. With 5 games left the Trotters’ chances of securing League One football at the first time of asking, and without needing a play-off, look pretty solid.

For Salford the outlook is less certain. Back-to-back league wins had pushed them within reach of the play-off positions, and this evening’s results elsewhere could have been much worse. As it is, the Ammies find themselves 4 points and 3 positions behind 7th placed Forest Green Rovers. It has to be said though – many of the teams who fancy a play-off spot are suffering from very uneven form and anyone who can find a reasonable level of point-winning consistency over the remaining games has a great chance of claiming one of the 4 available berths.

A victory tonight would have completed Salford’s first 3-game winning streak since they attained EFL status, but it wasn’t to be. There’s no reason why that elusive sequence cannot be achieved before the end of the current campaign, and Saturday’s visit to one of the promotion pack, Tranmere Rovers, would be an ideal time to start…