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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 Elliott
Ash Hunter
Yellow card for Ash Hunter
Bruno Andrade

Wilson 81'

Jordan Turnbull
Yellow card for Jordan Turnbull
Tylor Golden
Brandon Thomas-Asante
Ian Henderson
Forest Green Rovers
Luke McGee
Dan Sweeney

Stevens 68'

Liam Kitching
Carl Winchester (c)
Ebou Adams
Aaron Collins
Nicky Cadden
Yellow card for Nicky Cadden
Jamille Matt

McCoulsky 89'

Jordan Moore-Taylor
Udoka Godwin-Malife
Jayden Richardson

Wagstaff 61'

William Evans (GK)
Luke Armstrong
James Wilson
Martin Smith
Alex Denny
Sam Fielding
Lewis Thomas (GK)
Dominic Bernard
Chris Stokes
Matty Stevens
Taylor Allen
Shawn McCoulsky
Scott Wagstaff
Manager - Graham Alexander
Head Coach - Mark Cooper
Match Officals
Referee - Thomas Bramall
Assistant Referee - Declan Ford
Assistant Referee - Joe Clark
Fourth Official - Sam Fielding

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A goalless draw at The Peninsula Stadium, yet it was a very entertaining afternoon’s football and the Ammies will probably consider their point a good one. Mark Cooper’s Forest Green Rovers recorded a thumping win on their last visit, almost exactly a year ago, winning by 4 goals to nil. They could have repeated the trick today, but were thwarted by another impressive performance from Salford keeper Vaclav Hladky, with the back four providing a dollop of resolute defending.

There were a couple of changes from the side that won at Grimsby last week, starting at right-back where Tylor Golden stepped in for Oscar Threlkeld. Richie Towell was replaced by Bruno Andrade, with new signing Sam Fielding taking a place on the bench.

The match would not be short of goalmouth action and Rovers could have gone ahead within 2 minutes. Aaron Collins would cause plenty of problems during the course of the game and here he moved into the penalty area from the left. A floated cross picked out Jamille Matt and the big striker directed a header towards goal. It was a good effort, but the save was better as Hladky launched himself to the left, tipping the ball around the post for a corner.

The Czech keeper would go on to maintain his impressive start to the season, but it was Salford’s turn to threaten next. Ash Hunter found a bit of time and space on the left before delivering a gently curving cross into the box, but a stretching Ian Henderson couldn’t get there and Rovers keeper Luke McGee was able to collect.

A lively start, and in the 7th minute Forest Green Rovers almost shot themselves in the foot. Skipper Carl Winchester would go on to have a good game, but his attempt to stroke a pass back for Liam Kitching fell short. Tom Elliott got to the ball first before embarking on a run that took him into the penalty area. It looked as if the former Millwall strike would notch his first goal of the season, but Kitching had tracked back with him before putting in a perfectly timed sliding challenge.

Great defending but the visitors were soon concentrating their efforts on attacking play. Scottish winger Nicky Cadden collected an Ebou Adams pass out to the left before dropping a high cross just beyond the far post. Jayden Richardson nodded the ball back inside, but Hladky was alert to the danger and managed to scoop up the ball before Matt could get there. Cadden was involved in the next attack too, again finding space on the left and this time he drilled a low ball into the 6-yard box. There were sky blue shirts closing in, but Hladky was there again, getting down to claim the ball for himself.

Rovers were beginning to dominate possession, but the home side always looked dangerous when pushing forward. In the 13th minute Hunter lifted a free-kick into the box from left-of-centre, with the Rovers defence losing track of Ash Eastham’s run. The Salford defender got up to meet the ball only to flick a header straight at McGee.

Plenty of action so far and it was Forest Green’s turn to push forward next, with an attack building on the left before Matt nudged a pass back from the edge of the 6-yard box. Winchester had a tempting sight of goal but from just outside the penalty area could only lift a shot over the crossbar.

Within a minute Andrade beat Dan Sweeney to a dropping ball inside the Rovers half, then set off a run that took him just outside the right-hand angle of the area. A low shot followed but although McGee looked beaten the ball rolled just wide of his right-hand post.

There was barely time to draw a breath before Richardson cut inside from the right, found some space then hit a low left-footer from 15 yards. Hladky was well positioned on the edge of the 6-yard box, managing to extend his left leg to deflect the ball behind for a corner. The set-piece was cleared but Rovers regained possession, with Collins gliding past Hunter from the right before hammering in an angled effort on goal. Once again Hladky had anticipated the danger and was able to block the powerfully struck shot with his legs at the near post.

The pressure was building and on 18 minutes Collins slid a forward pass for Adams to chase through the middle. Salford defender Turnbull slid in with a challenge that seemed to take the ball, but what looked like a well-timed tackle was rewarded by a yellow card from the referee. Cadden lined up the free-kick, but although be beat the wall, the ball dropped harmlessly over the crossbar.

The Ammies had a sniff of a chance midway through the first half but Thomas-Asante’s angled effort from the right was blocked by a defender.

Otherwise it was Rovers in the ascendancy and Collins played Richardson into space on the right. The low ball inside was aimed at Matt, but Lowe’s nick-of-time sliding challenge averted the danger. Matt was the target again soon afterwards when Collins delivered a low cross from the right and this time it was Turnbull who stretched to intercept.

A foul on Thomas-Asante earned Salford a free-kick just before the half-hour, 22 yards out and left of centre. Hunter fancied his chances, but although he got plenty of curve on his right-footed effort, the ball dropped wide of the far post without troubling McGee unduly. Within a couple of minutes the home side were awarded another free-kick, right of centre and inches outside the area. Again Hunter stepped up but although his shot rose to beat the wall, it didn’t dip enough to drop under the bar.

This would be a decent spell for Salford and Andrade’s cross from the right dropped beyond the far post. Elliott nodded the ball directly into Hunter’s path but again his sights were out as a 15-hard half-volley flew over the bar.

Chances galore, at both ends, and they kept on coming. Thirteen minutes before the interval Lowe's pass went astray, with Collins picking up possession and weaving around a challenge to leave himself one-on-one with Hladky. It looked like the Rovers man had come out on top as he pushed the ball to the keeper’s left, but the grounded Hladky snaked out an arm to push the ball away. A defender completed the clearance, but the intense pressure would not be relieved just yet.

Cadden’s nudge inside from the left found Collins, on the edge of the box and left of centre. A nicely struck low shot followed but Hladky was – of course – equal to it as he got down to push the ball around his right-hand upright.

There was a short lull in the action after that, but Forest Green Rovers almost made the breakthrough 5 minutes before half-time. Again Cadden passed inside for Collins but just as it seemed he would get free inside the box, Turnbull managed to prod the ball back to his keeper.

How the first half hadn’t produced any goals was something of a mystery and the 43rd minute produced yet another opportunity. A Collins cross from the right was inches in front of Matt in the middle with Adams’ close-range header somehow clearing the crossbar at the far post.


Salford were probably a touch fortunate to be on level terms as the second half got underway, but they would do most of the very early pressing. Within 60 seconds of the restart Thomas-Asante got into the box on the left only to slam a rising effort over the bar from a tight angle.

In the 49th minute the Ammies won a free-kick just outside the box and centrally positioned. Once again though Hunter couldn’t find the target as his effort cleared the bar by some distance.

At the East Stand end Collins smashed in a thunderous effort from outside the box that cannoned off Turnbull’s head and away to safety. The same player tried his luck from 20-yards and right of centre in the 56th minute, but Hladky displayed safe hands as he saved and held that one at the near post.

The second half perhaps wouldn’t provide the same level of attacking intensity as the first, but it would still be an entertaining watch. A long ball to the right was collected by Andrade who got into the box before hitting a 10-yarder that rebounded to safety off McGee’s legs.

Rovers countered and Kitching’s ball forward found Collins in lots of space on the left-hand side of the box. This looked ominous for the Ammies but Turnbull did brilliantly to get across with a fantastic sliding block.

Top drawer defending and soon afterwards came the first change of the afternoon as Richardson was replaced by Scott Wagstaff for Forest Green.

The visitors went close to finally opening their account in the 64th minute as Collins picked out Cadden on the left and he flashed a low ball across the 6-yard box, with nobody on hand to provide a finishing touch. Sweeney took possession on the right, headed for the line then got in a cross that dropped towards the far side of the 6-yard box. Cadden was on the end of it, but with red shirts arriving could only hoist a first-time effort high over the crossbar.

Once again Rovers constructed a good move on the left, with Collins passing to Cadden who played a low ball into the box. Matt looked to get onto the end of it, Hladky did enough to push the ball away – but only as far as Winchester. A cool head was needed but the Northern Irish international snatched at a 12-yard effort that cleared the bar.

Salford had been under the cosh for a little while, but they emerged to create a chance midway through the second half. Andrade moved into space on the right and it looked as if his cross would drop onto the head of Elliott, right in front of goal. In the event the ball skimmed off the big striker’s head and away to relative safety on the far side.

Not long after that Elliott had another half-chance as the ball fell his way in the area after Rovers had failed to clear their lines. It wasn’t clear-cut and the header dropped over the crossbar for a goal kick.

Fifteen minutes from time Cadden fired in a 25-yard free-kick and for the first time during the game Hladky looked a touch uneasy as he pushed the ball behind for a corner. At the other end Golden could have crowned his first league start with a goal, only for his left-footed shot to crash into Adams on the edge of the area.

There was more characteristic goalkeeping from Hladky in the 80th minute after Matty Stevens found himself in possession on the left-hand side of the box. Harried by the keeper, well out of his goal and almost on the line, the Rovers substitute showed Hladky a little bit too much of the ball, allowing the grounded goalie to get in a corner conceding challenge.

Graham Alexander, perhaps sensing a little shift in the balance of the game late on, introduced James Wilson for Andrade with 9 minutes to play. It would be one of the other strikers who nearly pinched a goal however as Thomas-Asante sped into the penalty area on the left before unleashing a powerful rising effort from an angle, clearing the bar by mere inches.

Salford were finishing the stronger of the two sides and came agonizingly close to grabbing a goal 3 minutes from time. A corner from the left caused problems for the Rovers defence, with a scramble finished off by Henderson’s shot that seemed to be blocked by Winchester right in front of goal.

Into time added on Hunter tried one last free kick, with this one deflecting off a defender for a corner that came to nothing.


If this game had produced 6 goals, nobody would have been surprised based on the amount of attacking effort put in by both teams. Of the two bosses, Mark Cooper will probably be the less satisfied after his side created a host of opportunities without having the composure to finish any of them off.

Another big performance from Hladky, ably assisted by his defence, with Turnbull putting in a gritty shift and league debutant Golden also doing well. The Ammies created chances too and could well have nicked the 3 points right at the end. That would have been a touch harsh on Forest Green Rovers perhaps, but as we all know, football is about taking your chances.

A cracking afternoon's entertainment, despite the lack of goals and its heartening to see two sides commit so much energy to pushing forward.

A solid start to the 2020-2021 league season for Salford City – the 3 corresponding fixtures last season yielded not a single point, yet we have 5 on the board and are tucked just behind the early divisional leaders. Two successive clean sheets augurs well for a season that continues on Tuesday evening when Morecambe provide the opposition for an EFL Trophy group stage game. Next Saturday sees a trip to Stevenage and a repeat of February’s 1-0 win would be more than welcome.