S a l f o r d
C i t y
F o o t b a l l
C l u b

Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
26
Connor Ripley
3
Ibou Touray
4
Jason Lowe
5
Ash Eastham (c)
8
Matthew Lund
9
Tom Elliott
1 goals for Tom Elliott
11
Josh Morris
14
Matty Willock

N'Mai 71'

16
Jordan Turnbull
32
Liam Shephard
37
Brandon Thomas-Asante
Exeter City
1
Cameron Dawson
2
Jake Caprice
5
George Ray
7
Matt Jay (c)
1 goals for Matt Jay (c)

Atangana 78'

8
Archie Collins
10
Sam Nombe
12
Josh Key
Yellow card for Josh Key
14
Timothee Dieng
Yellow card for Timothee Dieng
20
Jevani Brown
26
Pierce Sweeney
34
Alex Hartridge
Substitutes
12
Zach Jeacock
2
Donald Love
7
Tyreik Wright
20
Aramide Oteh
22
Tylor Golden
24
Andy Smith
30
Kelly N'Mai
Substitutes
40
Scott Brown
4
Nigel Atangana
11
Padraig Amond
23
Colin Daniel
27
Jonathan Grounds
29
Harry Kite
30
Owura Edwards
Managers
Manager - Gary Bowyer
Managers
Manager - Matt Taylor
Match Officals
Referee - John Busby
Assistant Referee - Nicky Greenhalgh
Assistant Referee - Akil Howson
Fourth Official - Lewis Smith

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Match
Report

A goal scored deep into time added on deprived Salford City of their share of the spoils as the Curse of the West Country struck again. Teams from that part of England are no strangers to taking points home from The Peninsula Stadium, but Exeter City needed big slices of luck to pinch all 3 this afternoon. The Ammies fell behind to a Matt Jay goal 8 minutes into the second half before in-form striker Tom Elliott headed them level. Both sides had opportunities to snatch a winner after that but the outcome was settled after Jake Caprice’s long-range effort came back off the post before spinning into the net off Salford keeper Connor Ripley.

Injury and suspension have significantly affected manager Gary Bowyer’s plans over recent weeks, and he was forced into a reshuffle of the pack today. Corrie Ndaba picked up an injury at Forest Green last Saturday and was replaced by the back-from-suspension Jason Lowe. Ash Hunter took a knock in the same game, so in stepped fit again Josh Morris.

With early morning rain clearing away, The Peninsula Stadium basked under blue skies by the time the game kicked off. The first half would be feisty and generally tight, although the Ammies created an early chance. In the 3rd minute Morris aimed a cross at the far post following a quickly taken corner, with Elliott getting up to nod off target.

The rest of the early stages were marked by some robust challenges, but Salford almost unlocked the visiting defence again on 10 minutes. Ibou Touray found some space on the left, drilling a low ball towards the far post. Brandon Thomas-Asante was lurking with intent, only for a defender to get in very timely clearance. The Grecians countered at speed and Sam Nombe got into the penalty area, left of centre. A drop of the shoulder made a shooting chance, and his firmly struck effort was well saved by Ripley.

At the school end Matty Lund slipped a pass into the left-hand side of the area for Morris. The former Fleetwood man is handy with his left peg, yet under defensive pressure could only lift an effort high over the crossbar. The Ammies went a lot closer on the quarter hour as Thomas-Asante chased a ball into the right-hand side of the area. Exeter keeper Cameron Dawson advanced and went to ground only for a great touch from the Salford striker to leave him stranded. The angle was very, very tight yet Thomas-Asante’s low shot was on target until Pierce Sweeney popped up at the near post to get in a clearance.

An end-to-end opening to the game, but proceedings would quieten down for a little while after that. We had to wait until the 25th minute for the next opportunity, and it arrived courtesy of an Exeter City corner. Jevani Brown delivered from the right with George Ray getting up towards the far post to power a header goalwards. There was a crowd of players in the way, and it looked as if the ball flicked away to safety off an Exeter’s Nombe.

Josh Key was booked for a foul on Touray and 12 minutes before time the visitors claimed a penalty after a shove on Ray. The referee had a look then waved play on and was probably correct to do so.

The half pepped up, in terms of attacking football, as we entered its final 5 minutes. Morris lofted in a cross from the right, with Elliott the target at the far post. Dawson was forced to punch, with the ball dropping for a right-of-centre Thomas-Asante who volleyed extravagantly high over the crossbar.

For the Grecians Caprice attacked on the left before working the ball inside for Brown. His shot spun off a defender dropped into the arms of Ripley. At the other end Liam Shephard’s run took him almost to the line on the right. His cross was decent, but the sliding Elliott couldn’t quite get there, leaving Sweeney to get in a clearance at the far post.

A surging Morris run through the inside-left channel was curtailed by a Timothee Dieng challenge, with the Exeter man picking up a booking.

An even half with a few chances for each side and everything to play for after the interval.

HALF-TIME: SALFORD CITY 0 EXETER CITY 0

The second half got off to a relatively sedate start, although play was held up for a while as Exeter keeper Dawson was treated after taking a knock.

No serious harm done, happily, and there was soon more reason for Devonian cheer as the visitors went ahead.

In the 53rd minute a corner from Salford’s right found its way to Lund, left of centre and 18 yards out. The midfielder has a finish on him, but this time he didn’t really get hold an effort that bobbled harmlessly wide of Dawson’s right-hand upright. Exeter sprang into action from the goal kick as Sweeney's powerful header from halfway dropped for Brown, who got into the box on the right and almost to the line. The first attempt to get in a low cross was blocked by Jordan Turnbull, but the second made it to Jay at the far post. It seemed as if Salford had escaped as the Exeter skipper’s low 6-yarder was somehow blocked by Shephard, virtually on the line. Fortune favoured the Grecians this time as JAY , from the tightest of angles and a few yards out, somehow managed to squeeze his low effort between Shephard and Lowe, with the ball seeming to clip off Ripley at the near post before rolling into the net.

Cue suitable scenes of celebration amongst the Exonians gathered behind Ripley’s goal - the travelling Grecians were certainly unperturbed by the fortunate nature of Jay's opener.

First blood to Exeter and the game’s next chance went their way too, 5 minutes later. Jay was weighing up his 2nd of the afternoon, only to see his shot deflect into the path of Brown, right of centre and 12-yard out. A low effort on goal followed, with Touray’s sliding block flicking the ball onto Ripley’s left-hand post and behind for a corner.

Salford had been slow to build up any attacking momentum after the interval, but gradually began to exert some pressure. In the 63rd minute a neat Touray pass on the left gave Morris the chance to advance and he dropped a lofted cross to the far post. Elliott got onto the end of it but could only nod wide of the target as Exeter’s Alex Hartridge got in a challenge.

Quite a bit of possession for the Ammies, but not a lot of penetration for a while. With 21 to play Kelly Nmai replaced Matty Willock and the change ushered in Salford’s best spell of the game.

There would be a big chance for the home side within 60 seconds of the substitution as Elliott and Morris exchanged passes on the left. The latter delivered a low cross towards the far post, and it was a belter, with Thomas-Asante arriving to apply what looked like being the finishing touch. With Dawson beaten the striker's low effort came back off the base of the post and he turned the rebound into the path of Jason Lowe. The midfielder was denied his first Salford goal as Dawson made a good parrying save and this time the loose ball was cleared. A big opportunity missed, and Thomas-Asante will feel he should have tucked it away.

Good keeping from Dawson though, and his defence would have to be on their toes as Salford slipped into their attacking rhythm. With 14 minutes to play Morris and Thomas-Asante swapped slick passes on the right before the former cracked in an angled effort that deflected off Dawson and behind for a corner.

Salford were knocking at the door and got their equaliser in the 79th minute. Thomas-Asante’s nudged pass to the right found Shephard, who advanced a little before dropping a great cross into the area. ELLIOTT was on the end of it and his 7-yard header from a central position looped over Dawson’s despairing dive before dropping inside his left-hand post.

A reward for Salford’s energetic spell of flowing football – could they push on and secure a win?

It wouldn’t turn out that way, and for the final 10 minutes or so it was the Grecians who looked most likely to score a decisive goal. In the 84th minute Exeter played the ball across the width of the pitch, starting with Key on the right and finishing with Caprice on the far side. When the shot left his boot it looked speculative but dipped to crash into the crossbar, leaving Ripley grasping at thin air. In the final minute of the 90 there was a scare for Exeter as Touray’s cross from the left was met by Elliott on the run and his header dropped a foot or so over the crossbar.

The game moved into time added on and a Morris diagonal ball to the right was chased by Thomas-Asante, only for Dawson to race out of his area to punt clear.

A point apiece wouldn’t have been too unfair, but there was to be a nasty sting in the game’s tail for Salford. The problems started on halfway as a challenge from behind left Elliott on the turf, with the referee allowing play to continue. Archie Collins attempt to thread a pass through to Padraig Amond was almost cut out by the stretching Ash Eastham, yet Salford's skipper succeeded only in diverting the ball into the Exeter substitute's path. Amond had time to steady himself only for his attempt to place a low, angled finish into the net to be thwarted as Ripley spread himself to make the block.

CAPRICE had already gone close to getting onto the scoresheet and he collected the loose ball a yard or two inside the left-hand angle of the penalty area. With no red shirt within 6 yards the full-back had little hesitation in launching another Exocet of a shot. Once again he was denied by the woodwork as this one came back off the inside of the far post, but wild celebration ensued once more behind the goal as the ball hit the keeper in his midriff before bouncing into the net.

Time was critically short for the Ammies, yet they could have snatched an unlikely equaliser in the 5th added on minute. Touray hoisted in another cross from deep on the left, but although Shephard dived desperately to make contact at the far post the ball bounced harmlessly wide.

FULL-TIME: SALFORD CITY 1 EXETER CITY 2

‘Disappointing’ is a word that we’ve used a bit too often this season, but it fits today’s game from a Salford point of view. Both of Exeter’s goals involved a generous dollop of luck, both in the build-ups and the finishes. On the other side of the coin, the Devon side were denied a couple of times by the woodwork.

A largely entertaining game was quite even, but it was the Grecians who nicked the points, and 15 league places separate the two teams. As ever, the divide between success and failure in football can be wafer thin.

Salford played some good stuff and had their chances too. Taking them remains a problem that needs to be solved as 16 goals in 15 games is by no means a scoring statistic you’d associate with a promotion hunting side.
It could be a simple as that – a bit more composure in front of goal might well see Salford clambering up the league as their defensive base remains – most of the time – quite solid.

An improvement in league form is the priority of course, but now we have a brief break from EFL League Two as cup and trophy competitions come to the fore. On Tuesday evening we have a must-win Papa John’s Trophy tie when Leeds United’s Under 21s visit the Peninsula for an group stage game.

Next weekend is free, but only because our First Round FA Cup tie at Dagenham & Redbridge has been moved back to Monday evening for live ITV4 coverage.

A chance to build some confidence ahead of away trips to Scunthorpe and Harrogate before another home double-header as the visits of Oldham Athletic and Bristol Rovers close out the month of November.

Here’s to an imminent upturn in fortune, a few more goals and some points on the board...

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