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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
Tom King
Jason Lowe
Ash Eastham (C)
Corrie Ndaba
Ryan Watson
1 goals for Ryan Watson
Ash Hunter

Loughlan 90+3'

Jordan Turnbull
Stephen Kelly

Lund 90'

Matt Smith
1 goals for Matt Smith
Liam Shephard
Brandon Thomas-Asante

McAleny 86'

Carlisle United
Mark Howard
Jack Armer
Rod McDonald

Feeney 9'

Dynel Simeu
Callum Guy (C)

Riley 45+1'

Lewis Alessandra
Brennan Dickenson
Jon Mellish
Jordan Gibson
Omari Patrick
1 goals for Omari Patrick
Joel Senior

Whelan 31'

Joel Torrance
Matthew Lund
Conor McAleny
Tylor Golden
Liam Loughlan
Theo Vassell
Magnus Norman
Joe Riley
Yellow card for Joe Riley
Morgan Feeney
Yellow card for Morgan Feeney
Corey Whelan
Sam Fishburn
Mitch Roberts
Tyrese Omotoye
Manager - Gary Bowyer
Manager - Keith Millen
Match Officals
Referee - Simon Mather
Assistant Referee - Lewis Raper
Assistant Referee - Paul Stonier
Fourth Official - Christopher Ward

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Matt Smith and Ryan Watson recorded their first Salford City goals as Carlisle United were beaten 2-1 at The Peninsula Stadium. The Ammies didn’t manage to break down a stubborn visiting defence during a first half they dominated, but Watson converted a penalty 7 minutes into the second. Carlisle grabbed an equaliser midway through the second half but their celebrations would be cut short as Smith headed home from a Liam Shephard cross just 4 minutes later. A first home win since 18th December as well as a first win -vs- Carlisle United, leaving Gary Bowyer’s side just 3 points outside the divisional play-off places.

The pack was shuffled a little following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Nothampton Town. In came Stephen Kelly and Brandon Thomas-Asante, with Jason Lowe switching to right-back. Theo Vassell and Conor McAleny made way and were among this evening’s substitutes as The Ammies adopted a 4-4-2 formation.

The weekend chill had abated a little and Salford City could – and perhaps should – have warmed their supporters further within a minute of the start. Ash Hunter switched onto his right foot from a deep position on the left before lifting a great ball into the penalty area. Thomas-Asante beat the Carlisle offside trap to control and hit an angled left-footer from about 9 yards out. Carlisle keeper Mark Howard – who had a brief spell at Salford on emergency loan a couple of years back – made a good blocking save with his feet, only for the ball to drop for Smith. This looked like a Salford account-opener for the big man but from 7 yards out he hooked a left-footed shot that bounced off the turf and over the crossbar.

A real escape for The Blues, but former Millwall striker Smith would get his goal before the end of the evening.

That early, big chance didn’t open the floodgate as far as attacking football was concerned, with the next incident of note being a substitution for Carlisle after just 9 minutes. Central defender Rod McDonald had picked up an injury and was replaced by Morgan Feeney.

The game’s next opening went Carlisle’s way and came along on 14 minutes. A scrappy bit of play in midfield, wide on Carlisle’s left, ended with a clever lobbed pass forward from Jon Mellish. Lewis Alessandra advanced on the flank, getting into the penalty area before bumping away from Ash Eastham’s challenge. A neat lay-off back into the middle picked out Omari Patrick, 12 yards out and just to the left of the penalty spot. There were red shirts in front of him and as the Carlisle striker took his shot Jordan Turnbull got in a blocking challenge.

Another good opportunity spurned, but like Smith, Patrick would make his mark during the second half.

A couple of minutes later Hunter tried his luck for Salford, only to see his effort deflected behind for a corner that came to nothing.

Both sides attacked sporadically for a while without managing to cause problems for the respective keepers. In the 26th minute Lowe’s cross from the right was aimed at Smith, but in the event dropped for Hunter at the far post. The bounce was awkward and when the lobbed header from 8 yards came in, proved simple for Howard to catch just underneath the crossbar.

Hunter’s next contribution was a decent little pass up the left, with Thomas-Asante’s low effort from the angle of the box blocked by Feeney before the ball was cleared. Down at the West Stand end Jordan Gibson lifted a neat cross into the area from 20 yards out and left of centre. The ball came off Patrick, with Turnbull stumbling as he chased it towards the line on Salford’s right. That gave Mellish the chance to lift a cross into the middle, with Tom King forced to tip away before Watson and Hunter combined to clear Salford's lines.

This wouldn’t be a lucky half for Carlisle in terms of injuries and on the half-hour Joel Senior had to be replaced by Corey Whelan.

Twelve minutes from half-time The Blues almost shot themselves in the foot after substitutes Whelan and Feeney attempted to guide the ball back to Howard. Hunter was keeping the pressure on and the ball spun off the crouching keeper’s thigh and away to Salford’s right. Thomas-Asante made it to the loose ball only to see his low angled effort brilliantly blocked by Feeney before the same defender managed to prod the ball away and wide. The danger was by no means over as Thomas-Asante got to the ball first again. This time he played a diagonal pass back and inside for Kelly, who promptly moved possession square and to the left for Hunter. A first-time ball into the area was bundled to the left by Shephard and Smith could only miskick, leaving Watson with a real sight of goal 14 yards out. A side-footed effort hit Feeney in the midriff just in front of the line, although Howard may well have made the save behind him. A chaotic scramble on the edge of the 6-yard box came next, with a couple of attempts blocked before the ball rolled out for Corrie Ndaba to hit an angled 18-yarder from the left across the face of goal and wide of the far post.

Breathless stuff, and Carlisle’s goal somehow emerged from that little lot unscathed.

The Ammies pressed forward for what remained of the half, with a wicked free-kick from Hunter on the left curling across the face of goal before bouncing wide of the far post. That one just needed a touch, as did his next delivery 2 minutes before the interval. This time an inswinging corner from the left dropped virtually to the base of the far post where a handily placed defender was grateful to knock the ball out.

Blues’ manager Keith Millen was forced into his 3rd and final available change during the 1st of 6 additional minutes, this time replacing injured Callum Guy with Joe Riley.

The Ammies caught the careless defending bug deep into time added on, giving away possession on the edge of their own area only to be reprieved as a Mellish shot crashed into Alessandra before being hastily cleared.


An interesting first half that could easily have yielded a goal or two, and overall The Ammies will feel they should have been ahead.

Carlisle were the first to muster a threat after the restart as a low Patrick cross from the line on the right was heading for Alessandra until Turnbull got in an effective sliding clearance.

A moment of promise there for the enthusiastic travelling support but in the 52nd minute their side went behind. Hunter’s lofted cross from the left was punched clear by Howard under pressure from the considerable form of Smith. Shepard nodded the dropping ball to the right for Kelly who from the edge of the area looked to hook the ball forward. Mellish held his right arm away from his body and after the ball struck it Kelly and his teammates appealed for the penalty. The referee had a good view of the incident and – quite correctly -pointed to the spot. The protests from Carlisle were a little half-hearted and it was WATSON who strode up to power a low finish inside Howard’s right-hand post. The Carlisle keeper went the right way but was beaten by the power and accuracy of a finish that recorded the former Tranmere midfielder’s first goal for his new club.

A lead that Salford had worked hard for and probably deserved on the balance of play so far.

That single goal advantage could have become two just before the hour after Lowe lifted a cross from deep on the right towards the far upright. Smith managed to loop a header back inside, with Kelly getting up for a slight touch before a Mellish challenge on Hunter succeeded only in rolling the ball to the left. Watson was on it, driving in a low 19-yarder from a central position with Feeney – on the edge of the 6-yard box - extending his right leg to deflect the ball out for a corner. A decent effort from Watson and it might well have beaten Howard had Feeney not intervened.

Feeney went into the referee’s notebook after that, having tugged back Thomas-Asante whose powerful running had threatened to take him clear on the right.

Salford were having the better of this half too and a Hunter cross from the left was nodded down by Smith only for the busy Feeney to get in a clearance.

Plenty of defending for Carlisle to do, but one goal leads are fragile things and after being on top for most of this game Salford were pegged back midway through the second half.

The trouble started when Whelan’s challenge on Hunter won the ball, wide on Carlisle’s right. Jordan Gibson nudged a pass out to Alessandra on the flank before getting between Watson and Ndaba and collecting the return ball. There was a suspicion of offside, but the flag stayed down, allowing Gibson to get into the penalty area where he rolled a square pass into the centre. Eastham couldn’t reach it but PATRICK could, arriving ahead of Lowe to slide a low 6-yard finish past King to level the scores.

An equaliser somewhat against the run of play and not particularly well defended by The Ammies.

Patrick’s goal, understandably enough, kicked off some exuberant celebration behind King’s goal and for a minute or two in its aftermath The Blues forced the pace as they went in search of a quick second. It wasn’t to be however, and just 4 minutes after Patrick’s goal Salford regained their lead.

Hunter’s teasing cross from the left was headed partially clear by Feeney, with the ball dropping for Brennan Dickenson in the left-back position. It needed a good clearance but didn’t get one as the Carlisle man swiped with his left foot, succeeding only in gifting possession to Kelly outside the box. The Scotsman rolled an intelligent pass out to Shephard on the right, and he had time and space to deliver a good cross to the near post area. SMITH reacted quickest, nipping ahead of Dynel Simeu to get in a stooping header that bounced once on its way across Howard and inside the far upright.

A great finish from Smith and Salford once again had a narrow advantage to protect if the points were to be theirs. They would do a decent job of that, keeping possession and slamming the door shut on Carlisle’s attempts to push forward. The Blues wouldn’t really manage to create another chance during the time that remained as they struggled to win the ball or do anything with it.

The Ammies could have made the points safe 4 minutes from time when a spell of head tennis in and around the Carlisle box ended with possession falling for Ndaba. The on-loan defender has yet to score a career goal but here, 18 yards out and left of centre, tried a first-time half volley with the ball rising to dip just wide of the far post.

Gary Bowyer made 3 late substitutions but there would be no late scares and a very welcome home win had been secured.


A deserved win for Salford City who spent most of this game on the front foot and created a very respectable number of chances. There was some good stuff played by the men in red and the fledgling partnership of Smith and Thomas-Asante already seems to hold plenty of promise.

Carlisle’s goal was a body blow but the Ammies remained unfazed and were soon in front again. After that they managed what remained of the rest of the game well enough.

A win that leaves Salford 3 points outside those elusive play-off position and – interestingly – just 7 behind 3rd placed Newport County. Having embarked on a run of wall-to-wall games this year The Ammies have now played more games than all of the teams around them, so it’s vital now that points are consistently accumulated.

Just a place above Salford, on goal difference, are Saturday’s visitors to The Peninsula Stadium Port Vale although the Staffordshire outfit have 3 games in hand. On Tuesday comes a trip to Sutton United (4th place, 7 points ahead and two games in hand) followed by another long haul a week on Saturday with Leyton Orient (seven points behind, 3 games in hand). That’s a sequence of games might just lift The Ammies in the thick of the promotion pack but of course none of them will be easy.

There's plenty of work to be done, but with new signing Luke Bolton eligible to start on Saturday we may just have the personnel in place to get the job done. Another memorable season? Maybe...