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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
Connor Ripley
Ibou Touray
Jason Lowe
Ash Eastham (c)
Matthew Lund
Tom Elliott
1 goals for Tom Elliott Yellow card for Tom Elliott

N'Mai 88'

Ash Hunter
Jordan Turnbull
Yellow card for Jordan Turnbull
Conor McAleny

Wright 72'

Liam Shephard

Willock 65'

Brandon Thomas-Asante
Yellow card for Brandon Thomas-Asante
Hartlepool United
Ben Killip
Jamie Sterry
Yellow card for Jamie Sterry
David Ferguson
Timi Odusina
Nicky Featherstone (c)
Yellow card for Nicky Featherstone (c)
Will Goodwin

Fondop 46'

Joe Grey

Holohan 59'

Neill Byrne
Reagan Ogle
Zaine Francis-Angol

Shelton 35'

Matty Daly
Zack Jeacock
Corrie Ndaba
Tyreik Wright
Matty Willock
1 goals for Matty Willock
Aramide Oteh
Andy Smith
Kelly N'Mai
Jonathan Mitchell
Mark Shelton
Mark Cullen
Gavan Holohan
Eddy Jones
Luke Hendrie
Mike Fondop
Manager - Gary Bowyer
Manager - Dave Challinor
Match Officals
Referee - Peter Wright
Assistant Referee - Robert Atkin
Assistant Referee - Richard Woodward
Fourth Official - Billy Smallwood

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Last week at Walsall the Ammies succumbed to a very early goal and a very, very late one. The timings weren’t quite so extreme at The Peninsula Stadium this afternoon, yet Salford City established a 3rd minute lead courtesy of Tom Elliott before substitute Matty Willcock wrapped up 3 richly deserved points at the tail-end of the second half. This was a powerful performance from Gary Bowyer’s side, with Pools restricted to the occasional half-chance but largely required to concentrate on defensive duties.

There were 3 changes from the XI that started in the Midlands last week, beginning in goal where loanee Connor Ripley replaced the injured Tom King. Ibou Touray’s return from suspension saw him slot into his accustomed left-back slot at the expense of Corrie Ndaba. Further upfield Brandon Thomas-Asante stepped back in for the injured Josh Morris.

It took less than half-a-minute for the Ammies to go behind last week but this afternoon they were ahead after less than 3. Thomas-Asante displayed strength and skill on the right to get past his man and deliver a fine cross towards the far post. Strike partner TOM ELLIOTT got his first goal of the campaign a couple weeks ago at Colchester and notched his second here. The big man outmuscled Timi Odusina as he stooped to get in an angled 4-yard header that beat Ben Killip on its way inside the far post.

A great start from Salford and they would force the pace for much of the first half. With a dozen minutes played Ash Hunter lofted in a cross from the right with Elliott thwarted at the far post as Killip made a timely catch.

Hunter was in creative mood again soon afterwards, this time getting in a teasing cross from the left. Jordan Turnbull is a couple of goals behind central defensive partner Ash Eastham in this season's scoring charts but almost pulled one back here as he slid in to knock a low effort of Killip’s left-hand post. Thomas-Asante scuffed the follow-up but by then the assistant’s flag had been raised for offside.

Hartlepool were struggling to create much at the other end but in the 25th minute Jamie Sterry’s cross-field ball found David Ferguson in space. A lofted cross followed but Ripley flicked the ball down before gathering at the second attempt.

The half quietened down for a little while, although the Ammies still looked lively in their approach play, with Hunter and Thomas-Asante looking particularly sharp.

Pools’ manager Dave Challinor made a change 10 minutes before the break as former Ammie Mark Shelton replaced Zaine Francis-Angol. Sterry got in a curing effort from distance, but the ball dropped well wide of the target.

There were a couple of chances for the Ammies during time added on. Liam Shephard got in a tempting cross from the right, with Elliott unable to get there in the middle. Within seconds Thomas-Asante tried his luck from 20-yards out and right-of-centre. His dipping effort had plenty of pace but cleared the crossbar by a foot or so.

A sold first half showing from Salford City who had bossed possession and scored a good goal whilst keeping it very tight indeed at the other end.


Challinor made a second change during the break, introducing big striker Mike Fondop in place of Will Goodwin. The visitors certainly looked busier as the second half got underway with the burly frontman making his presence felt straight away.

That improvement didn’t really translate into goalmouth chances for Hartlepool and indeed they could have gone further behind in the 53rd minute. Turnbull had seen a half-volley drop just over the bar before Salford put together a crisp attacking move. Touray played a low diagonal pass from the left towards the near post where Conor McAleny darted in, flicking out a foot to divert the ball goalwards. Killip reacted instinctively, extending his leg to divert the ball behind for a corner.

Good work from the Pools keeper and in the 56th minute his side could have been level. Fondop collected a pass on the edge of the box before turning to hit a rising effort wide of Ripley’s right-hand upright.

By far Hartlepool’s best effort of the afternoon, and a reminder of how fragile Salford’s advantage was. The Ammies countered after that scare, with Shephard galloping away on the right before delivering low into the box. Elliott was the target until Odusina got a foot in to intercept before thumping the ball clear.

That would be Shephard’s final contribution as he was replaced by Willock after taking a knock.

Hartlepool made their final change as Gavan Holohan replaced Joe Grey, but the balance of the game would tip further towards the hosts during the time that remained. The Ammies still looked confident in possession, solid at the back and could have grabbed the vital second goal on 63 minutes. McAleny’s diagonal run to the left took him past a couple of defenders, but he was a little bit off balance as he got in a left-footed shot that proved simple for Killip to smother.

Pools were getting very little time to settle on the ball as Salford pressed tirelessly and just past the midpoint of the second half Turnbull’s high ball forward from wide on the left dropped nicely for Elliott. The Salford number 9 was one-on-one with Killip but after a slightly heavy first touch his prodded effort was blocked by the keeper.

With 19 minutes to play Touray’s pass to Turnbull was anticipated by Holohan, who nipped in to whip the ball away. The referee stopped play due to a clip on the Pools substitute and Turnbull was shown his 5th League Two yellow of the season, picking up an automatic one-game ban in the process.

The free-kick came to nothing and straight afterwards Tyreik Wright came on for McAleny.

The Ireland Under-21 international’s first contribution was to whip in a cross, with Thomas-Asante’s header dropping just wide of the far post. With 13 minutes left a foul on Hunter won a free-kick for Salford but Touray could only power it into the defensive wall.

Salford were well on top yet could have been pegged back in the 79th minute. Holohan’s cross from the left found Fondop whose 10-yard left-of-centre header looping header dropped just outside Ripley’s right-hand upright. It looked as if the keeper had that one covered, but that single goal lead was certainly still vulnerable.

The Ammies needed a second goal and it arrived with just 6 minutes to play. A corner from the left was flicked on by Elliott, with the ball falling for WILLOCK, centrally placed on the edge of the penalty area. The former Manchester United man’s first Salford goal was a belter and his second was just as good as he took a touch before placing a low shot wide of Killip’s full-length dive and just inside his left-hand post.

A lovely finish and Salford almost added a 3rd goal a few minutes later. Elliott did well to retain possession on the left before slipping a pass inside into the path of Matty Lund. A left-of-centre 18-yard effort looked destined to dip under the bar until Killip produced an acrobatic mid-air save as he managed to tip the ball over.

A 3rd goal wouldn’t have flattered the home side and there was still time for another chance. Kelly Nmai came on as substitute and was soon displaying his usual tenacity and skill on the ball. During the final minute some nifty footwork wide on the left was topped off by a neat pass inside for Thomas-Asante. The forward deserved a goal for his enterprising afternoon’s work but could only drag a low 18-yard wide of Killip’s right-hand post.

The game had just entered its 6th minute of time added on when Holohan found some space on the left-hand side of the box, but his low shot rolled outside the far upright. That summed up a disappointing afternoon for Pools but Salford City had 3 more points in the bag.


No late consolation goal for Hartlepool then, and to be fair they’d hardly done enough over the 90 minutes to deserve it. That was mostly down to a very strong performance from Salford who denied their opponents time and space on the ball and defended with intelligence and physical strength when it was required.

Some good football at the other end produced a couple of excellent goals, and although the final ball left a bit to be desired at times the Ammies could have won by a wide margin.

Salford City have struggled for consistency at times this season, but when on form are a match for any side this division can offer. There were some impressive individual performances today and a run of good results certainly seems within reach.

On Tuesday we have home advantage again when Rochdale visit The Peninsula before a trip to league leaders Forest Green Rovers in seven days’ time. Six points from those two games would alter the complexion of the season radically – it won’t be easy, but if we get ‘Hartlepool’ or a 'Colchester' performance there’s no reason it can’t be done…