S a l f o r d
C i t y
F o o t b a l l
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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
1
Vaclav Hladky
3
Ibou Touray
4
Jason Lowe
Yellow card for Jason Lowe
5
Ash Eastham (c)
16
Jordan Turnbull
17
Richie Towell

Burgess 78'

18
Oscar Threlkeld

Clarke 46'

24
Robbie Gotts

Boyd 78'

25
Paul Coutts
37
Brandon Thomas-Asante
1 goals for Brandon Thomas-Asante
40
Ian Henderson
1 goals for Ian Henderson
Stevenage
1
Jamie Cumming
2
Luther James-Wildin
1 goals for Luther James-Wildin
3
Ben Coker
5
Scott Cuthbert (c)
8
Elliot Osborne

Prosser 90+4'

15
Terence Vancooten
Yellow card for Terence Vancooten
17
Elliot List

Aitchison 80'

19
Arthur Read
26
Tom Pett
36
Luke Norris
40
Chris Lines
Substitutes
31
William Evans
6
Tom Clarke
10
Ash Hunter
12
Di'Shon Bernard
14
George Boyd
15
Luke Burgess
20
Mani Dieseruvwe
Substitutes
13
Billy Johnson
4
Romain Vincelot
6
Luke Prosser
12
Remeao Hutton
27
Jack Aitchison
28
Joe Martin
35
Matthew Stevens
Managers
Manager - Gary Bowyer
Managers
Manager - Alex Revell
Match Officals
Referee - Andy Haines
Assistant Referee - Joe Clark
Assistant Referee - Wayne Grunnill
Fourth Official - Christopher Sarginson

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Match
Report

Second half goals from Brandon Thomas-Asante & Ian Henderson earned the Ammies a narrow win over in-form Stevenage at the Peninsula Stadium. In truth, Gary Bowyer’s side could have won by a more comfortable margin, but the important statistic today is 3 more precious points in the bag. This victory leaves Salford City just 3 points outside the play-off places and with many of the teams above them wobbling, all is very much there to play for.

Following Monday’s impressive win at Forest Green Rovers, the Ammies named an unchanged 18 for the visit of Alex Revell’s Stevenage. The Boro came into this one on the back of a 12-game unbeaten run that had given them a sniff of the play-offs, and the first half would reflect the defensive qualities of both sides.

The first incident of note arrived in the 3rd minute when home keeper Václav Hladký’s punt cannoned into the back of Elliot List. The ball could have gone anywhere and fortunately for the Ammies it dropped comfortably wide of the goalkeeper’s left-hand upright.

Boro had started well and Arthur Read’s ball into the left-hand side of the box was chased by List. Hladký had anticipated the danger, arriving at speed just in time to scoop up the ball.

Early encouragement for the visitors, yet it was Salford who almost snatched the lead with 9 minutes played. Henderson slipped a ball to the left for Robbie Gotts and the Leeds United loanee lifted a cross that dropped towards the far side of the 6-yard box. Richie Towell probably had time to take a touch yet elected to meet the dropping ball with a volley that soared high over Jamie Cumming’s crossbar.

A good chance gone begging, and there wouldn’t be many more for a while as the game developed into a tussle between two very committed and evenly matched sides.

Salford gradually began to apply pressure on the Boro goal without managing to test Cumming as a defence marshalled by the experienced Scott Cuthbert showed little sign of cracking.

We had to wait until 11 minutes before the interval for the next decent opportunity, and it went the way of Boro. Read’s pass to the left found Ben Coker and he stroked a square ball inside for Elliot Osborne. The former Nantwich Town midfielder turned smartly to get in a 16-yard rising drive from left of centre that cleared Hladký's crossbar by a yard or so.

A decent chance for Stevenage and they were to create an even better one 4 minutes later. Osborne nudged a pass back from the edge of the area with Chris Lines stroking a low, first-time ball to the left. List advanced into the area and from the left-hand angle of the 6-yard box got in a shot that was blocked by Hladký at the expense of a corner.

The set-piece was dealt with by the home defence and the remainder of a hard-fought half passed without an anxious moment for either keeper.

HALF-TIME: SALFORD CITY 0 STEVENAGE 0

There was an enforced change for Salford at the break, with Oscar Threlkeld replaced by Tom Clarke. The former Preston defender slotted into the line-up at right-back, with Jason Lowe pushed into central midfield alongside Paul Coutts.

The first half hadn’t yielded too much in the way of attacking football, with most of the better moments coming from Boro. That situation changed almost straight away after the restart as Salford took the game by the scruff of its neck.

A sleety snow had begun to fall by the time Cummings was tested for the first time, in the game’s 50th minute. Thomas-Asante picked up possession outside the area and left of centre, managing to drive in a low effort from almost 30 yards out as Luther James-Wildin’s defensive challenge came in. It was a decent strike, but the Boro defender had got a touch that took a bit of the sting off it, allowing Cummings to smother the ball at his near post.

Thomas-Asante would do rather better a couple of minutes later, after Cuthbert nudged the ball out for a throw-in on Salford’s right. Henderson’s quick throw caught the visitors off guard, with Towell able to bring the ball down and head for the line on the right. A low pull-back found THOMAS-ASANTE on the edge of the 6-yard box and he drilled a low shot past Cummings. Boro’s players appealed for a handball decision against Towell, with the referee briefly checking with his assistant before signalling the goal.

A great start to the second half for Salford yet they were to be pegged back just 4 minutes afterwards. James-Wildin had just been booked for a clattering challenge on Thomas-Asante when he ranged forward through the inside-right channel. Gotts tried to close him down but the defender was afforded sufficient space to hit a 22-yard rising drive that flashed past Hladký at his left-hand post to level the scores.

A blow for the Ammies, but they responded in a positive and energetic fashion. Stevenage’s only serious attack of the half had got them back on terms, but they largely had to concentrate on defensive duties from then on.

Salford rolled forward, on the hunt for a second goal and on the hour Towell cleared the crossbar with an ambitious 30-yarder.

Within 60 seconds the Irishman lofted in a cross from wide on the right, with Gotts arriving to get in a 10-yard downwards header that was hacked clear by a defender.

That second goal almost arrived on 64 minutes after Cummings raced out of his area to meet a long ball forward. The keeper got there first, only to mishit his clearance, allowing Henderson to pick up the possession. Salford’s top-scorer took a second or two to get the ball under control before launching a long-distance lob as Cummings desperately retreated back to his goal. He wouldn’t have got there, but there was relief for the Boro custodian as Henderson’s effort dropped just outside his right-hand post.

Henderson had another chance soon afterwards, played clear on the right before cutting into space on the edge of the area. A decent opportunity but this time he could only drag a low effort across goal and well wide of the far upright.

Stevenage were under real pressure and they conceded a centrally positioned free-kick in the 68th minute. Thomas-Asante stepped up to hit a crashing 35-yard shot that had Cummings stretching to his right. The keeper got nowhere near, but luck was with him again as the ball slammed off the underside of the crossbar before being punted clear.

A pretty torrid 20 minutes for Boro, but it looked as if they might have weathered the storm as the intensity of Salford’s attacks began to decline a little. Any such thoughts would prove to be premature as the Ammies restored their advantage 14 minutes from time. A corner from the right was curled into the 6-yard box by Ibou Touray, with HENDERSON arriving on the run to get ahead of Cuthbert before powering a 5-yard header into the net.

No more than Salford deserved on the back of a very good second half display, and Henderson’s 15th of the season had put them within sight of a vital win.

A couple of minutes after Henderson’s goal Luke Burgess and George Boyd replaced Towell and Gotts.

You could see why Stevenage had put together that long unbeaten run and they still fancied their chances of grabbing a share of the spoils. With 4 minutes left substitute Jack Aitchison met a headed clearance with a first-time effort from 18 yards. Jordan Turnbull got in the way of that one, with the ball dropping wide of Hladký’s left-hand post for a corner. The delivery was swung in, with the ball eventually falling for Tom Pett on the edge of the box. His low shot spun up off a defender’s foot, giving Hladký a worrying moment or two until the ball dropped inches wide of his left-hand post.

Salford’s keeper needed treatment as the 90-minute mark was reached and there would be almost 6 minutes of time added on. Stevenage were unable to force another chance, whilst at the other end Henderson had a go from 45 yards, with the effort bouncing through to Cummings.

You could see what this win meant to Salford’s players as the final whistle sounded, and they deserved their reward today on the back of an intense and enterprising second half performance.

FULL-TIME: SALFORD CITY 2 STEVENAGE 1

It looks as if Ibou Touray’s late equaliser -vs- Grimsby Town 8 days ago may just prove to be a pivotal moment in Salford’s season. That goal visibly inflated the players and they went on to secure a solid 2-0 win at Forest Green 3 days later.

This was never going to be an easy game and after being held at arm’s length for the first half, the Ammies emerged for the second with a real sense of determination. Thomas-Asante’s goal was quickly cancelled out, yet Gary Bowyer’s rejuvenated side didn’t let that knock them out of their stride.

It seemed a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ Salford scored again and Henderson’s third goal in two games was the very least the Ammies deserved.

A season that seemed to be fizzling out just a few weeks ago is now very much back on track. This win lifts the Ammies into 9th place, just 3 points outside the play-off positions with 21 points still to play for.

Bolton Wanderers’ visit to the Peninsula Stadium was always going to be a big occasion, regardless of the two clubs’ respective positions. Tuesday evening’s clash is a huge, huge game for both. Ian Evatt’s Trotters have won 13 and drawn 5 of their 20 league games this year, a run that has propelled them into the automatic promotion places. An away win on Tuesday would very probably push them beyond Salford’s reach, but conversely the Ammies can cut the gap to 6 points – with a game in hand – if they come out on top.

Very probably Salford’s biggest league game since promotion to the EFL, and on Saturday they must travel to face 4th placed Tranmere Rovers.

Six more points, anyone?

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