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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)
Yellow card for Ash Eastham (c)
Di'Shon Bernard
Jordan Turnbull
Yellow card for Jordan Turnbull
Oscar Threlkeld
James Wilson

Towell 73'

Robbie Gotts

Hunter 62'

Paul Coutts

Henderson 62'

Brandon Thomas-Asante

Burgess 89'

Colchester United
Shamal George
Miles Welch-Hayes
Tommy Smith
Yellow card for Tommy Smith
Harry Pell (c)
Jevani Brown
Callum Harriott
Paris Cowan-Hall

Chilvers 56'

Tom Eastman
Ryan Clampin
Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu
Frank Nouble
William Evans
Tom James
Tom Clarke
Ash Hunter
Luke Burgess
Richie Towell
Ian Henderson
Callum Coulter
Courtney Senior
Aramide Oteh
Noah Chilvers
Ben Stevenson
Billy Cracknell
Junior Tchamadeu
Manager - Richie Wellens
Interim First Team Coach - Wayne Brown
Match Officals
Referee - Scott Oldham
Assistant Referee - Mark Cunliffe
Assistant Referee - Graeme Fyvie
Fourth Official - Richard Woodward

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The satisfaction of Wembley silverware was tempered this evening as Salford City were held to a goalless draw by Colchester United. A hard-fought game produced very few clear-cut scoring opportunities and in fact it was the Essex side who came closest to breaking the deadlock. Defeat would have been vary harsh on an Ammies team that once again controlled possession for most of the evening, yet struggled to break down a resolute U’s defence.

There were changes from the side that comprehensively outplayed League One Portsmouth in Saturday’s EFL Trophy final, starting in defence where Di’Shon Bernard stepped in for Tom Clarke. Loan signings Robbie Gotts & Paul Coutts had been ineligible for Wembley but were restored to the line-up this evening, with Ash Hunter & Richie Towell the men to miss out.

The U’s have a fair points gap separating them from the League Two relegation places but are not out of the woods yet. They would set out their stall to take a point back to Essex, yet looked lively during the opening minutes.

There was a shout for handball in the Salford box as early as the 2nd minute, only for the referee to wave away the visitors’ appeals. At the other end Gotts picked up possession just outside the Colchester box before turning a short, squared pass to the left. James Wilson very nearly picked it up, only for a defender to nick the ball away just in time.

Gotts had the game’s first shot of note, collecting Coutts’ pass before making a little space to hit an effort that was deflected to safety.

A typical Ibou Touray dart for the line on the left was finished off by a low ball to the near post, with Tom Eastman forced to concede a corner.

Quite an even start to the game, although Salford were showing signs of settling down and had begun to stretch the U’s defence a little.

Colchester went close to an opener in the 16th minute after Ryan Clampin’s shot had been charged down, at the expense of a corner. Callum Harriott whipped in a delivery from the left, with Harry Pell getting ahead of Václav Hladký to meet it on the edge of the 6-yard box. Untypical of the Czech keeper but he got away with it as the Colchester defender’s header flashed just over the crossbar.

It was Salford’s turn to appeal for a penalty in the 17th minute after Brandon Thomas-Asante’s run into the box appeared to be checked by a clip from Tommy Smith. Once again the referee was unimpressed, yet the same player would be booked for tugging Thomas-Asante back – outside the box – a couple of minutes later.

The Ammies were applying some pressure and Touray’s curling left-footed free-kick from the right dropped for Wilson inside the area. The Salford striker couldn’t quite get the ball to sit up for him and was eventually penalised for a foul on U’s skipper Pell.

Midway through the first half Bernard’s through ball found Touray whose well struck shot spun off Gotts and behind for a Colchester goal kick.

That sort of incident would sum up Salford’s evening, but for now they continued to probe for a weakness in what appeared to be a well drilled U’s defence. Wilson squared a pass from the left-hand side of the box looking for Jason Lowe, but Harriott had anticipated the danger to get in a clearance.

Thomas-Asante’s flick into the box almost worked Wilson into space, but he couldn’t quite get to the ball.

Eleven minutes before the break Wilson chested the ball down into Gotts’ path, but the midfielder’s low shot was heading wide until it was scooped up by U’s keeper Shamal George.

Salford captain Ash Eastham was yellow-carded for a foul on Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu before the home side created the half’s final couple of chances. Two minutes before half-time Oscar Threlkeld caught a Colchester player in possession and Wilson picked up the ball before letting fly with a low 22-yarder that skidded not far wide of George’s left-hand post. After that Thomas-Asante did well to roll away from a challenge on Salford’s right before cutting inside to hit a 30-yarder high over the crossbar.


Only modest entertainment from the first half and the second started off in much the same vein. The first opening came along in the 53rd minute and could well have produced a goal. Gotts stroked a pass out to the left for Touray to swing in a cross that was met by Lowe at the far post. The midfielder got in a good header but was left disappointed as the ball dropped narrowly outside George’s right-hand upright.

The Ammies almost forced a way through 3 minutes later after Thomas-Asante’s pass found Wilson inside the box. Colchester had men behind the ball and a Coutts shot appeared to hit a U’s hand before Touray lifted a follow-up effort over from left of centre.

Decent opportunities for Salford but the visitors almost went ahead just before the hour mark. Frank Nouble squared a ball inside from the left for Harriott to hit a low 15-yard left-of-centre effort that looked to be heading inside the far post. Hladký kept the Ammies on level terms as he dropped to his left, pushing the ball wide of the upright at the expense of nothing more than a corner.

Good goalkeeping and Salford manager Wellens responded to the scare by shuffling his attacking options in the 62nd minute. Coutts & Gotts made way for Hunter & Ian Henderson, but Colchester’s ambitions had been growing since half time and the next chance went to them. Jordan Turnbull’s routine back pass was controlled by Hladký, but the keeper dawdled in possession as Jevani Brown closed him down. The Colchester man got a boot in but Hladký was fortunate as the ball seemed to flick up and into his hands.

Richie Towell came on for Wilson with 17 minutes to play but Salford were struggling to seriously test visiting keeper George. The U’s fancied their chances of pinching all 3 points and Harriott’s pass found substitute Noah Chilvers whose rising drive from the edge of the box and left of centre was cleanly taken by Hladký.

With 13 minutes to play Touray passed inside for Hunter whose low 20-yarder was straight at George.

There was a touch of controversy soon afterwards as Hunter’s pass sent Thomas-Asante galloping through the middle. George advanced, then stretched to tip the ball away - It looked very much as if he was outside the box when that happened. Salford’s players appealed to the referee, but the free-kick went the way of Colchester, awarded for a Thomas-Asante foul on the keeper.

Time was running short for Salford but they couldn’t turn the attacking screw, and always had to remain alert at the back. Seven minutes from time Pell was fouled outside the box but from 22 yards out and right of centre Harriott could only drill a low free-kick into the defensive wall.

There would be no last big chance for either side, and in fact there would be no little chances either. Three minutes of time added on failed to produce an incident of note and the referee’s whistle brought another frustrating 90 minutes to an end.


The free-flowing attacking football that gave Pompey such trouble at the weekend was largely absent this evening, and despite a determined performance from Colchester this really has to be seen as two points lost.
The Ammies failed to draw a notable save from U’s keeper George and it could have been worse had the visitors stuck away one of the handful of chances they created.

Goals win football matches, and for some reason Salford City have struggled profoundly in that department over recent weeks. The last 6 games have produced just 2, and only twice during the last 16 outings have the Ammies recorded more than a single goal. A glance at the teamsheet suggests that the raw talent is there, but it’s not firing at the moment.

The defensive record is still outstanding – the best in the division, in fact – but those 18 unbeaten league games at home includes 10 draws. That’s 20 points not taken, and even half of them would have left us in the automatic promotion places.

Fortunately enough, no team seems keen to make a break for it at the top of the division and leaders Cheltenham Town were beaten 2-0 at home to Barrow this evening. We’re still in touch, but games have to be won consistently from this point onwards.

What other teams do now is largely immaterial – if Salford don’t rediscover their scoring - and winning – touch very soon, even the play-offs might prove too tall an order. Time to stand up lads, and Saturday’s trip to Whaddon Road would be a great time to turn the corner...