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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Salford City FC
1
Tom King
3
Ibou Touray
4
Jason Lowe
Yellow card for Jason Lowe
5
Ash Eastham (c)
8
Matthew Lund
11
Josh Morris
16
Jordan Turnbull
18
Conor McAleny
Yellow card for Conor McAleny

Elliott 78'

32
Liam Shephard
37
Brandon Thomas-Asante

Hunter 65'

40
Ian Henderson
Sutton United
1
Dean Bouzanis
2
Jon Barden
5
Ben Goodliffe
6
Louis John
7
David Ajiboye
8
Kenny Davis
Yellow card for Kenny Davis

Smith 87'

9
Omar Bugiel

Bennett 77'

10
Harry Beautyman
15
Craig Eastmond (c)
24
Rob Milsom
25
Donovan Wilson

Boldewijn 65'

Substitutes
12
Zach Jeacock (GK)
9
Tom Elliott
Yellow card for Tom Elliott
10
Ash Hunter
14
Matty Willock
15
Luke Burgess
21
James Melhado
22
Tylor Golden
Substitutes
13
Brad House (GK)
4
Coby Rowe
19
Ricky Korboa
20
Enzio Boldewijn
22
Joe Kizzi
26
Richie Bennett
29
Alistair Smith
Managers
Manager - Gary Bowyer
Managers
Manager - Matt Gray
Match Officals
Referee - Samuel Barrott
Assistant Referee - Antony Da Costa
Assistant Referee - Hristo Karaivanov
Fourth Official - Robert Atkin

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Match
Report

The Ammies kept a clean sheet for the first time this season and took a point, but Gary Bowyer will be disappointed his side didn’t grab all three. A quiet first half was followed by a second that saw Salford roll forward in search of a goal that they deserved. In the end though it wasn’t to be and Sutton United were able to claim their first point as an EFL club.

There were a couple of changes from the XI that started the season opener -vs- Leyton Orient last Saturday. Skipper Ash Eastham was back in the centre of defence, and with Jason Lowe pushed back into midfield Matty Willock had to be content with a place amongst the substitutes.

The early stages of the game were uneventful, and 8 minutes had been played before either side mustered a shot on goal. It went the way of the Us as Donovan Wilson collected Omar Bugiel’s pass before hitting a low 22-yarder that Tom King got down to save and then hold.

The Ammies started to see more of the ball after that yet were unable to pierce a robust Sutton defence. The pressure gradually increased, and the home side won a succession of corners without managing to turn any of them into a clear-cut opportunity.

The visitors weren’t getting forward too much yet on 24 minutes David Ajiboye found space to hit a low effort from the edge of the area that was comfortable for King.

Salford’s attempts to test Sutton keeper Dean Bouzanis continued and in the 26th minute Liam Shephard passed inside from the right. McAleny turned smartly just inside the box but the low shot on goal that followed was blocked by Ben Goodliffe.

At the West Stand end Bugiel picked up Ajiboye’s pass only to see his shot deflected wide for a corner. Rob Milson delivered the set piece high, and it bounced out of play for a throw-in on the far side having evaded everyone in the middle.

Otherwise, it was Salford who were injecting a little quality into their approach play, although it wasn’t yet paying dividends. Eight minutes before the interval Jordan Turnbull’s through-ball found Brandon Thomas-Asante who swapped passes with Josh Morris. The former MK Don made it into the left-hand side of the penalty area only to see his angled shot charged down by a black-shirted defender. Soon after that McAleny broke forward into the box but from left-of-centre could only direct a low 18-yarder at Bouzanis.

The Ammies continued to press during the half’s closing minutes and in the 42nd Morris was played into space on the right by Ian Henderson. A sight of goal opened up for the summer signing from Fleetwood and his 22-yard left-foot curler was on target until Bouzanis got across to push the ball away.

The half’s final chance proved to be its best and arrived in the penultimate minute. Shephard did well on the right, delivering a great cross that dropped to the far side of the penalty spot. Matty Lund came close to scoring his 1st Salford goal last week and here he hit a low first-time effort that whistled past Bouzanis’ left-hand upright.

A great opportunity to edge ahead at the end of the half, but the teams were level as they walked back to the changing rooms.

HALF-TIME: SALFORD CITY 0 SUTTON UNITED

The Ammies emerged for the second half looking for goals and a Thomas-Asante effort cleared the crossbar within a minute or two of the restart. In the 49th minute a McAleny diagonal run from the left took him to the edge of the area. A threaded pass into the box almost picked out Henderson’s run but the ball ran safely through to the keeper.

Once more Salford were enjoying plenty of possession without really creating too many chances at the end of it. In the 56th minute a low Ibou Touray ball to the near post from the left was picked up by Morris. A quick swivel was followed by an angled shot that was blocked and McAleny’s follow-up from 18 yards suffered the same fate.

Just past the hour Jason Lowe was yellow carded following an aerial challenge with Kenny Davis. Within a minute the Sutton man had followed him into the book after curtailing Morris’ run with a foul. Shephard lofted the free-kick into the box from the right, but there was a Sutton head on the end of it.

The Us had a close call 4 minutes later after Morris made it to the line before drilling a low ball across the 6-yard box. Bouzanis went down without getting a touch, but the same went for 3 red-shirted forwards as the ball ran to relative safety on the far side.

Thomas-Asante’s final contribution of the afternoon was a pass out to Morris on the left, with the low cross knocked behind for a corner. Midway through the second half McAleny powered forward again to hit an 18-yarder that clipped off a defender before being pushed outside his left-hand post by Bouzanis.

It had been all Salford for a while but the home side were almost hit by a sucker-punch 20 minutes from time. Harry Beautyman’s corner from the left dropped to the far post where defender Louis John got in a header that spun off the turf then up and off the front of the crossbar.

So close for Sutton but they soon had to resume more familiar defensive duties. Ash Hunter had looked lively since coming on and he got the the edge of the box, left-of-centre, before hitting a low shot straight at Bouzanis.

Tom Elliott replaced McAleny 13 minutes from time and the vast majority of the attacking traffic continued to head towards Bouzanis’ goal. The ex-Millwall striker almost made an immediate impact after Morris and Henderson exchanged quick passes on the right. The former hoisted a cross into the middle but Elliott was under considerable defensive pressure and couldn’t get his header on target.

Sutton were within touching distance of a very useful point, getting men behind the ball as the home side tried to launch attacks. Hunter whipped a splendid cross in from the left, met by Lund with a glancing header that cleared the bar by inches.

The game moved into its final minute and Morris tried his luck from the edge of the area only to direct an effort at Bouzanis who made a routine save.

The referee indicated that a minimum of 5 minutes be added to the afternoon’s entertainment and both sides could have snatched a win during that time. During that 1st of those minutes Sutton captain Craig Eastmond was played into space inside the area. A low 15-yard right-of-centre effort followed, with King getting down to his right to push the ball away.

A big, big chance for the Us and soon after that Ajboye lashed an effort high over the bar from the right-hand edge of the box.

At the other end Elliott got up for a header that was hacked clear by a defender from in front of goal. There was time for one more chance as Hunter’ cross from deep on the right was controlled by Elliott at the far post. The big striker’s shot was blocked, and he went to ground after trying to skip past a challenge. The referee blew instantly, but Ammie hopes of a penalty were dashed as the referee awarded Sutton a free kick and Elliott a yellow card for simulation.

A touch harsh perhaps as the Elliott hadn’t claimed a penalty and there were no further incidents of note before the final whistle sounded out over a damp Peninsula Stadium.

FULL-TIME: SALFORD CITY 0 SUTTON UNITED 0

A disappointing result for the Ammies it has to be said, although to be fair they probably deserved to win. That visiting keeper Bouzanis wasn’t forced to make too many difficult saves will be a concern though, particularly on the back of all that possession.

The game followed the pattern that became too familiar last season as Salford dominated territorially, put together some decent approach play only to lack a little bit of composure – and luck – inside the penalty area.
Sutton proved to be stubborn opponents and although they spent quite a bit of time defending will look back on a couple of chances that could have taken the points back to South London.

The clean sheet is welcome, but the plan would have been to win at least one of the opening two home games, and ideally two. The Ammies now travel to Sussex on Tuesday for a game -vs- Crawley Town in search of their first 2021-2022 three-pointer before back-to-back home games against Swindon Town and Newport County.

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