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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
26
Connor Ripley
2
Donald Love
Yellow card for Donald Love
3
Ibou Touray
4
Jason Lowee
5
Ash Eastham (c)
7
Tyreik Wright

Elliott 46'

11
Josh Morris

Hunter 66'

14
Matty Willock
Red card for Matty Willock
16
Jordan Turnbull
32
Liam Shephard
37
Brandon Thomas-Asante
1 goals for Brandon Thomas-Asante Yellow card for Brandon Thomas-Asante
Bristol Rovers
1
James Belshaw
4
Josh Grant
6
Sam Finley
10
Aaron Collins

Pitman 76'

11
Sam Nicholson
1 goals for Sam Nicholson

Thomas 84'

15
Paul Coutts (c)
16
Nick Anderton
Yellow card for Nick Anderton
17
Connor Taylor
21
Antony Evans
25
Cian Harries
26
Glenn Wheelan

Spence 90+7'

Substitutes
12
Zach Jeacock
9
Tom Elliott
Yellow card for Tom Elliott
10
Ash Hunter
Red card for Ash Hunter
20
Aramide Oteh
24
Andy Smith
36
Marcus Dackers
42
Theo Vassell
Substitutes
35
Jed Ward
7
Luke Thomas
8
Zain Westbrooke
18
Pablo Martinez
24
Sion Spence
40
Brett Pitman
44
Ryan Jones
Managers
Manager - Gary Bowyer
Managers
Manager - Joey Barton
Match Officals
Referee - Ben Toner
Assistant Referee - Johnathon Bickerdike
Assistant Referee - Steven Rushton
Fourth Official - Christopher Ward

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Match
Report

High drama at The Peninsula Stadium as 9-man Salford City rescued a point deep into time added on. Things were looking good for Joey Barton’s Bristol Rovers side, a goal up and with a two-man advantage following the dismissals of Matty Willock & Ash Hunter. Crucially the visitors failed to add to their single goal and were left with only a share of the spoils after Brandon Thomas-Asante scored an unlikely leveller during injury time. There was still time for Rovers to have a valid-looking ‘winner’ chalked off for offside before the final whistle gave everyone in the ground a chance to draw breath.

There was a single change from the side that started that impressive win at Harrogate Town on Saturday. Matty Lund’s 5th yellow card during at the Envirovent meant that he had to sit out this evening’s encounter, with Willock recalled after recovery from injury.

A chilly evening in Salford 7 and it’s first moment of note came in the 5th minute. Liam Shephard lifted a pass down the right, with Thomas-Asante escaping the attentions of his marker only to drag a low shot wide of the far upright.

The former MK Don would do rather better much later on in the evening, but for a while it would be Rovers asking most of the attacking questions. The visitors were beginning to exert a little bit of pressure and had a few efforts blocked before taking a 14th minute lead. Sam Finley is an old adversary of the Ammies, going back to his days at Warrington Town and here his cross-field ball to the left fell perfectly for SAM NICHOLSON. The Scottish midfielder managed to keep ahead of a pursuing defender, making it into the penalty area before slipping a cool, low finish past the advancing Connor Ripley.

A good goal for the Gas, and just 3 minutes later Antony Evans had a shot blocked as they looked for a second. The Ammies had a sniff of a chance just before the midpoint of the half as Shephard’s long ball down the right sent Tyreik Wright on a run towards goal. The Aston Villa loanee made it into the box but before he could let fly, Connor Taylor got across to put in a good challenge.

Wright needed treatment after that, although he was able to continue.

Not a vintage Salford half and they had to concentrate on defensive duties for much of what remained of it. On 34 minutes Aaron Collins worked hard to push into the area then crashed in a powerful effort that Ripley managed to block. Minutes later Finley’s pass to the left found the lively Collins again and this time he hit a low, angled effort that Ripley did well to push past the far upright. Evans took the corner from the right, with Nick Anderton meeting it on the run at the near post, getting in a header that flashed over the crossbar.

Evans delivered a dipping free-kick from the left 5 minutes before half-time, with Ripley managing to hold on at his second attempt.

Salford were struggling to find any attacking rhythm and their task was made rather more difficult in the 41st minute. Willock went for a loose ball in midfield, catching Finley and the eye of the referee who deemed the challenge worthy of a straight red card.

That decision looked a trifle harsh but the former Manchester United man was on his way back to the dressing room, leaving his teammates just over half a game to negotiate with a numerical disadvantage.

They almost responded to adversity by conjuring an equaliser after Thomas-Asante lifted a ball to the left-hand side of the box. Morris was underneath it, hitting a powerful volley from a tight angle that cleared the crossbar by a yard or two.

HALF-TIME: SALFORD CITY 0 BRISTOL ROVERS 1

Rovers deserved their half-time lead, and Salford - now a man down – hadn’t really reproduced any of the form that swept Harrogate aside at the weekend. Manager Gary Bowyer made a change during the interval, adding the height of Tom Elliott to his forward line, with Wright the player to make way.

Initially however the pattern of the game remained the same, with Bristol Rovers on the front foot and looking to give themselves a bit of a cushion. In the 51st minute Evans slalomed past a couple of challenges on the right before slamming in a rising shot that Ripley acrobatically parried at his left-hand post. The ball went loose for Finley to hit a low, angled effort from the right, only for the keeper to get down and stop the ball with a strong arm, allowing a defender to hack clear.

Soon after that Collins slipped a pass into the right-hand side of the area for Nicholson to chase. A first touch looked to have taken the ball round Ripley, but the grounded keeper recovered to pluck the ball off the Nicholson’s toes.

More good keeping from the emergency loan signing but his opposite number was to be less fortunate. In the 56th minute Elliott chased a long ball into the Rovers half, with visiting keeper James Belshaw racing out of his area to get in a clearance. Contact was made and the Rovers keeper had 6 or 7 minutes of treatment for a head injury that had to be bandaged before he could carry on.

There was a rare chance for the Ammies on 65 minutes as Ibou Touray tried a 35-yard half-volley that dropped outside an unconcerned Belshaw’s right-hand post.

Hunter replaced Morris for Salford midway through the second half but the game’s next effort on goal came from Bristol’s Nicholson, whose left-footed 20-yard snapshot went wide of Ripley’s left-hand post.

The Ammies weren’t really threatening Belshaw’s goal, but with 20 minutes to play Hunter’s corner from the left to the near post was cleared back to him. The curling cross that followed just needed a Salford head but instead Belshaw was able to collect comfortably enough.

Collins had a shot blocked by Shephard after that, but otherwise chances were becoming scarce. That suited Rovers more than their opponents, but the Ammies weren’t finding it easy to build a head of steam.

Elliott was booked for a foul on Glenn Whelan with 11 minutes left and time was running our for the home side by the time Hunter’s low 22-yarder was collected by Belshaw.

With 4 minutes left Rovers should have wrapped up their win after Finley’s ball to the left played substitute Luke Thomas into space. A low, angled shot followed but there was a sigh of relief from the home support as the ball rolled outside the far post.

A big missed chance that Rovers would soon rue, but they followed it up with another. Thomas spun inside and away from Touray before sliding a pass out to Anderton on the left. The defender hit a low effort, but Ripley was equal to it, dropping down to save and hold.

It seemed that Salford’s interest in the destination of the points was over in the 88th minute as Hunter was shown a red card for an using an elbow on Josh Grant as the two contested a high ball.

With “Goodnight Irene” belted out from the away end it remained only for Rovers to see out the game, although the injury to Belshaw contributed to 11 minutes of time to be added on. The visitors largely seemed content to do just that, but Salford City teams have been known to carry a sting when two men short.

In the 5th minute of time added on Elliott got up to flick on a long ball forward. THOMAS-ASANTEpicked up possession on the left, then moved into the area before darting to the right to steal a yard on the covering defender. A low 12-yard shot left Belshaw rooted to the spot as the ball passed between him and his right-hand post, much to the delight of the Salford fans gathered behind the goal.

The away supporters – boisterous throughout the game – had been silenced by that wholly unexpected Salford goal. In its aftermath their side showed a sense of urgency that had been largely missing during the final quarter of the game and it looked as if they had edged back ahead in the 10th minute of injury time. Finlay crossed from the right, with substitute Brad Pitman getting up at the back post to steer a downwards header back across the despairing Ripley and inside the post.

For a few brief moments the away end erupted in unbridled joy, as the did the visiting bench, with victory apparently snatched from the jaws of bitter disappointment. The mood switched suddenly and mercilessly as the assistant’s raised flag kept the scores level and – in fairness – that looked like a decision which might not survive the scrutiny of a replay...

There was no time for Rovers to carve out another opportunity and despite a so-so performance and two red cards, Salford’s supporters celebrated as if the game had been won.

FULL-TIME: SALFORD CITY 1 BRISTOL ROVERS 1

An astonishing finish to the evening’s entertainment, and Rovers manager Joey Barton must be wondering how his side contrived to head back down the M6 and M5 with only one point. Even before that first sending-off the visitors had scored a good goal and looked the livelier of the two sides.

They rarely looked to be in much trouble over the 90 minutes, yet with only a fragile one-goal advantage failed to make the game safe.

The Ammies won’t be pleased with their performance even before the game became distorted by red cards. The fluency that marked the win at Harrogate was largely absent, yet a stubborn defensive showing kept Salford within touching distance of the visitors.

The importance of never giving up, even when it seems destined not to be your day, is an old footballing adage yet this evening that never-say-die attitude rescued a point.

A 5th game without defeat for the Ammies who will now be eyeing 3 points when struggling Oldham Ahtletic visit the Peninsula Stadium on Saturday.

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