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

Stevenage
1
Paul Farman
2
Luther James-Wildin
4
Paul Digby (c)
6
Tom Soares
Yellow card for Tom Soares
7
Charlie Carter
20
Jake Cassidy
26
Diaguely Dabo
32
Charlie Lakin

Parkhouse 82'

34
Elliott List

Mackail-Smith 62'

39
Joe Leesley
42
Dan Kemp

Parrett 74'

Salford City FC
12
Kyle Letheren
2
Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
Yellow card for Ibou Touray
5
Ashley Eastham (c)
15
Cameron Burgess
16
Jack Baldwin
Yellow card for Jack Baldwin
28
Brandon Thomas-Asante
1 goals for Brandon Thomas-Asante Yellow card for Brandon Thomas-Asante
29
Michael O'Connor
Yellow card for Michael O'Connor
44
Craig Conway

Pond 81'

45
Ashley Hunter

Towell 70'

49
James Wilson

Elliott 76'

Substitutes
13
Sacha Bastien
3
Patrick Reading
16
Arthur Iontton
18
Dean Parrett
Yellow card for Dean Parrett
27
Adam El-Abd
35
Craig Mackail-Smith
44
David Parkhouse
Substitutes
1
Chris Neal
9
Adam Rooney
11
Tom Elliott
17
Richie Towell
23
Nathan Pond
26
Bruno Andrade
Managers
Manager - Graham Westley
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Match Officals
Referee - Alan Young
Assistant Referee - Stuart Butler
Assistant Referee - Conor Farrell
Fourth Official - Darren Wilding

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Match
Report

A first half goal from Brandon Asante proved to be the difference as Salford City took 3 points from their visit to League Two’s basement club Stevenage. Storm Dennis may not have made it to the status of ‘menace’ in Hertfordshire this afternoon, but it certainly made a nuisance of itself, and this has to seen as a precious win despute challenging conditions and points-desperate opposition.

There were changes from the side that started Tuesday evening’s defeat to Plymouth Argyle, starting at the back where Ash Eastham replaced transferred Liam Hogan. On the right side of midfield Craig Conway was back, in place of Bruno Andrade, and there was a double change up front. Out went Adam Rooney & Tom Elliott, replaced by Brandon Asante & James Wilson – the latter making his first Salford City start.

Wet and windy probably best describes to prevailing weather conditions at the Lamex Stadium, and it was the Boro who started strongest. The home side – in desperate need of points as they seek to get away from the League Two trapdoor – had a couple of corners and a shot charged down during the opening few minutes.

All the initial attacking possession with Stevenage then, but the Ammies almost snatched a goal in the 7th minute from their first attack of any real note. Wilson was played into space, driving forward on a powerful right-of-centre run that took him to the edge of the area. He was held up by a defensive challenge but as the ball dropped let fly with a low left-footer that went straight to home keeper Paul Farman.

That would set something of a pattern for the afternoon as Stevenage worked hard without too much reward, always looking vulnerable to the counter-attack.

Within a minute of Wilson’s chance, the home side tested Kyle Letheren for the first time. Luther Wildin lined up a shot from almost 25 yards out, and it took a deflection before being saved by the Salford keeper.

There was more probing attacking play from Boro, but the visiting defence had a reassuringly solid look about it, and the next clear opportunity went the way of Salford. Asante’s break on the right took him into the penalty area and his angled effort had to be blocked by Paul Digby, with the ball going behind for a corner.

At the other end a clearance dropped temptingly for Boro’s Jake Cassidy who could only skew a shot well wide of the target.

Again the Ammies countered with Asante prodding a pass to Wilson whose attempt to curl a 20-yard left-footer dropped inches outside Farman’s right-hand upright.

Stevenage, backed by their enthusiastic, drum-banging support were playing well, knocking the ball around and waiting for chances to materialise. On 26 minutes Dan Kemp pass found Charlie Carter on the edge of the are, but the low shot that followed was too close to Letheren. Soon after that Kemp tried his luck from a free-kick that lifted nicely but just failed to dip enough to trouble Salford’s keeper.

Chances for Boro, but not great ones and they were shown how to finish clinically 13 minutes before half-time. The move started with Jack Baldwin's pass to Ash Hunter who in turn moved possession to the left for Ibou Touray. The full-back delivered a great cross to the near post where ASANTE lost his marker before getting up to glance a 6-yard header wide of Farman’s reach and inside the far post. A great cross and fitting finish, and despite all that possession Stevenage found themselves a goal down.

There was more pressure from the home side as half-time approached, but once again they were struggling to get a clear sight of goal. In the 39th minute Harrogate Town loanee cut inside from Boro’s left to hit a shot that was blocked, and soon after that the lively Carter saw a shot deflected wide for a corner that came to nothing.

A frustrating half for Graham Westley’s strugglers, but the Ammies would have been happy with that narrow lead as they headed in for the modern equivalent of tea and oranges.

HALF-TIME: STEVENAGE 0 SALFORD CITY

That drum was beating again as the teams returned to the pitch, and once again the home side had a good start. Even so, the first effort on goal came from Salford as Hunter’s 49th minute shot from distance bounced through to Farman.

This time it was Boro who countered, with Carter playing Kemp into the right-hand side of the box. The West Ham loanee got in a rising, angled 7-yarder, with Letheren doing well to tip the ball over at the expense of a corner. A good save, and it had been needed in order to thwart Stevenage’s best opening of the afternoon so far.

Once more the Ammies had to concentrate on their defensive duties, soaking up pressure and generally repelling everything that the home side could muster. In the 54th minute Kemp found Charlie Lakin who slid a pass out to Cassidy on the left. The Welsh forward drilled a low delivery across the face of goal, but nobody in a red shirt had pushed forward far enough to take advantage.

Boro went even closer a couple of minutes later after Leesley swung in a good delivery from the left. Kemp’s 7-yarder was blocked by Cameron Burgess right in front of goal and the loose ball fell nicely for Lakin. This was a big chance but the Stevenage man couldn’t take it, slamming just wide of Letheren’s right-hand post.

Stevenage would continue to see plenty of the ball, but that would be as good as it got for them in terms of chances. Credit where credit is due – Salford were defending well, in numbers when they had to - and were looking a very solid unit despite the deteriorating conditions.

Just after Lakin’s miss the Ammies could have extended their lead after Hunter’s pass played Asante into the area, on the left. The young striker had a go, hitting a low drive that Farman got down to save, although he only smothered the danger at the second attempt.

There was a sniff of an opening for Stevenage on 63 minutes as Letheren fumbled a routine collection on the edge of the box. Home substitute Craig Mackail-Smith nipped in but luck was with Salford’s keeper as the ball ran away from the Boro man, allowing a defender to smuggle the ball clear.

Midway through the second half the busy Diaguley Dabo pushed a pass out to Mackail-Smith on the right, with his cross falling for Cassidy, centrally positioned and just inside the box. A shot came in, but Eastham had closed down quickly and the ball deflected to safety off his chest.

Chances would be at a premium after that, despite Stevenage’s best efforts to get back on level terms. With 18 minutes left Mackail-Smith & Lakin combined to move the ball inside from the left, with Cassidy getting in a 20-yard left-footed dipper that dropped over the bar.

At the other end a Touray free-kick from the right dropped for Burgess beyond the far post, but he was off-balance getting in a header that dropped harmlessly over. Nine minutes from time Touray delivered again and this time it was substitute Elliott who couldn’t get his header on target.

Stevenage pushed forward as the final whistle approach and Eastham did well to hook away a cross that looked destined for Mackail-Smith. Otherwise the Ammies were solid and there would be no late way through the well-drilled blue ranks. The home support were encouraged when 5 minutes of time added on was announced, but the only sniff of a chance came right at the end of that period. Leesley lofted in a cross from the left that was headed out as far as Dabo, and he steadied himself before lifting an 18-yarder over the bar.

That was that, and the Ammies had 3 very valuable points indeed.

FULL-TIME: STEVENAGE 0 SALFORD CITY 1

It’s not always the way you win that’s of paramount importance, just that you do win. This was one of those occasions for Salford City on an afternoon that was never going to be easy. The playing surface and weather conditions were difficult, and their opponents today really needed a result.

It wasn’t pretty, that’s for sure, but the job was done and looking back over the 90 minutes the Ammies had a decent share of the real chances that came along, despite seeing a good deal less of the ball at times.

A nice finish from Asante was enough in the end, backed up by an impressive performance from the defence, marshalled effectively by new skipper Eastham.

We’ll see more buccaneering performances before the end of the season I’m sure, but you need to scrap for results at times, and this was one of them.

Next Saturday’s home game -vs- in-form Colchester will be a different kettle of fish and a home win would be very welcome indeed. In the meantime, there’s the small matter of an EFL Trophy semi-final…

Attendance: 3,246 (about 125 Salford)

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