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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Stevenage
1
Jamie Cumming
2
Luther James-Wildin

Akinwande 84'

5
Scott Cuthbert (c)
6
Luke Prosser
8
Elliot Osborne

Smith 72'

11
Danny Newton
Yellow card for Danny Newton
12
Remeao Hutton
17
Elliott List
19
Arthur Read

Effiong 65'

22
Marcus Dinanga
24
Ross Marshall
Salford City FC
1
Vaclav Hladky
3
Ibou Touray
4
Jason Lowe
5
Ash Eastham (c)
8
Darron Gibson
10
Ash Hunter
1 goals for Ash Hunter
16
Jordan Turnbull
Yellow card for Jordan Turnbull
17
Richie Towell
19
James Wilson

Dieseruvwe 83'

32
Tylor Golden
Yellow card for Tylor Golden

Thomas-Asante 64'

40
Ian Henderson

Clarke 88'

Substitutes
13
Billy Johnson
4
Romain Vincelot
9
Init Effiong
18
Mackye Townsend-West
20
Femi Akinwande
23
Jack Smith
32
Yasin Arai
Substitutes
31
William Evans
6
Tom Clarke
11
Bruno Andrade
20
Mani Dieseruvwe
24
Martin Smith
28
Alex Denny
37
Brandon Thomas-Asante
Managers
Manager - Alex Revell
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Match Officals
Referee - Craig Hicks
Assistant Referee - Leigh Crowhurst
Assistant Referee - Ian Smedley
Fourth Official - Joseph Stokes

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Match
Report

Salford City’s happy knack of winning EFL League Two away games continued at the Lamex Stadium this afternoon. Last season at this venue Brandon Thomas Asante’s header separated the two teams and this time around a 2nd minute strike from Ash Hunter was enough to take the points back to Salford 7. The Ammies have won 6 and drawn 1 away game since their last defeat on the road – on New Year’s Day at Grimsby – and they deserved the points today. Stevenage saw plenty of the ball during the course of the 90 minutes but did precious little with it as only the woodwork denied their visitors a more comfortable margin of victory.

There were 3 changes from the lineup that started last Saturday’s goalless draw with Forest Green Rovers with James Wilson getting his first league start of the season, at the expense of Brandon Thomas-Asante. Fit again Richie Towell and Darron Gibson were drafted back into midfield with Tom Elliott and Bruno Andrade missing out.

What would be the game’s only goal came along with barely a minute on the clock after Stevenage’s Arthur Read picked up possession wide on the left and just inside his own half. The Brentford loanee didn’t look comfortable and his attempt to stroke a pass back for goalkeeper Jamie Cumming had neither the power nor direction to get there. Always alert, HUNTER read the situation quickest, darting in to pick up the loose ball before making it into the penalty area, left of centre. Cumming managed to stop the first low shot, but luck was against him as the Salford forward was on hand to convert his second bit at the cherry, slotting low inside the now stranded keeper’s right-hand post.

A proper howler from Read and his mistake had been ruthlessly punished. Having struck so early Hunter could have compounded Stevenage’s early misery as Towell lifted a 4th minute pass to the edge of the box, only for the shot that followed to take a deflection on its way wide of the keeper’s right-hand post.

The Boro looked to find a response and on 7 minutes a Ross Marshall through-ball almost got Elliott List through on goal, but Salford keeper Vaclav Hladky reacted quickly to get there first.

The opening stages continued with Stevenage attempting to press without finding any quality in the final third. That problem would largely persist for the home side, but for their part the Ammies were looking increasingly comfortable and composed. A couple of promising Salford moves were brought to an end by offside decisions, while at the other end the visiting defence had a reassuringly solid look about it.

That situation would change for a little while and in the 19th minute Marcus Dinanga turned smartly outside the area, with Jordan Turnbull getting a yellow card for a clip on the home forward. Read lined up the free kick, about 20-yards out and right of centre, hitting a dipping left-footed effort that seemed to be dropping just over until Hladky made sure with a tipping save.

From the corner possession fell for Luther Wildin but the right-back’s 20-yarder was blocked by Turnbull inside the area.

Boro appeared to have found their attacking feet and within another minute Wildin crossed from the right, with Hladky’s punch flying high into the air above the edge of the 6-yard box. A crowd of players went up to meet the dropping ball which fell to the right for Danny Newton to head back inside. Read had another opportunity to atone for his earlier blunder, getting in a first-time shot from about 10 yards out. It looked as if the home side had levelled but Salford fans are getting used to the heroics of Czech keeper Hladky and here he dived to his left to push the ball around the upright.

Dinanga had another go after that, slamming in a rising effort from outside the left-hand angle of the box that soared high over the crossbar.

A decent spell for Stevenage, but that would be as good as it got for Alex Revell’s side.

The Ammies regrouped after conceding those chances and were soon looking for a second goal that would give them some breathing space. Ibou Touray lofted a forward ball that dropped into the left-hand side of the area, with Ian Henderson controlling instantly, only to be denied a pop at goal when a defender got in a toe to concede a corner. Hunter’s inswinging delivery from the left might have caused Cumming a moment or two of concern, but in the event the ball dropped just over the bar at the far post.
Hunter had a more conventional opportunity very soon afterwards when he raced onto a glorious threaded pass from deep, played through the inside-right channel by Wilson. The former Fleetwood man got in front of his defender to try an ambitious lobbed effort from just outside the penalty area, with the ball dropping over the bar.

We had a quiet spell after that, but 7 minutes from the break Elliott Osborne evaded a challenge outside Salford’s area before driving in a low effort that might have tested Hladky had Turnbull not stood firm to deflect the ball away.

The half finished with Salford in the ascendancy as Hunter aimed a free-kick from the left towards the far post, with Cummings just about managing to push it on its way for a corner. The Ammies had the ball in the net following that corner as a pass into the box found Turnbull in space, and he deftly lifted the ball over Cummings only to be denied a goal by the assistant’s raised flag.

HALF-TIME: STEVENAGE 0 SALFORD CITY 1

The second half got underway and within its first minute Hladky had displayed versatility, emerging from his area on the left to clear a long ball forward with a diving header.

Just 3 minutes after the restart Salford were inches away from doubling their lead after Hunter held up play on the left before slipping a neat pass into the box for Wilson. A short run inside was followed up by a powerful rising shot that crashed off the underside of the bar before dropping down just in front of the line. Fortunately for Stevenage Marshall was on hand to nod the ball away but the home side failed to clear their lines properly. Towell found himself in possession inside the box and a short pass to the left seemed to have teed up Gibson for a shot. Newton had other ideas, getting in to pick the Salford midfielder’s pocket in the nick of time before getting the ball away.

The Ammies were looking dangerous and on 52 minutes Towell slid a diagonal pass to the left, with Hunter drilling in a low 22-yarder that Cummings managed to push around the base of the post.

Once more the attacking intensity dropped away for a while, for although both sides were looking to get men forward the respective defences were performing steadily.

Graham Alexander made a change in the 63rd minute, introducing Thomas-Asante for Golden. That required a reshuffle as Jason Lowe slotted into the right-back position with Hunter dropping deeper and Thomas-Asante playing on the left of the front three.

Within 60 seconds Salford had carved out another chance, with Lowe doing well almost on the corner flag on the right as he clipped a neat ball inside for Towell. A pass was squared to the left for the unmarked Hunter and this was the sort of chance he usually gobbles up. On this occasion Hunter got it wrong as from 14 yards out he swung his left foot to slice the chance well wide of the far post.

A big opportunity to establish a two-goal lead and Hunter’s next effort on goal, a free-kick from just outside the left-hand angle of the box, was straight at Cummings.

The attacking momentum remained firmly with the visitors and they went close again in the 67th minute. A high ball forward dropped for Thomas-Asante, just ahead of his man on the edge of the box. The former MK Don hoisted the ball high and to the left, with Henderson underneath it and he launched a decent shot just wide of Cummings’ right-hand post.

Salford's leading scorer Henderson went even close a couple of minutes later, as he nipped in to steal the ball away from Osborne, who had dawdled in possession just outside his own box. A diagonal run to the right took him past Luke Prosser and into the right-hand side of the area. A quick switch of position allowed Henderson to try a lob that beat Cummings only to come back off the crossbar, just inside the far post.

Quality play from the former Rochdale stalwart and it would have been a memorable goal.

Plenty of second half openings for Salford, but they were still defending a single goal advantage and as we entered the final 20 minutes the home side were trying to build up a head of steam. Stevenage won a corner on the left with Scott Cuthbert getting up to meet Jack Smith’s delivery only for the header to drop harmlessly wide of the far post.

A modest enough effort but it served as a reminder for Salford who needed to concentrate on their defensive duties if that narrow lead was to be successfully protected.
There would be another minor scare 12 minutes from time when the lively Smith slid in a low ball from the right, with the grounded Hladky unable to hold on to the ball. Possession was up for grabs, but there were black shirts close by and a clearance brought the danger to an end.

Again, Stevenage were seeing a decent amount of the ball but other than those half-chances were struggling to find their way through a resolute visiting defence.

In fact it was Salford who still looked most likely to add to the scoring and in the 80th minute Wilson played a low diagonal ball to the right from deep, with Towell able to advance on the right. The low cross that followed was just a bit too far in front of Thomas-Asante but the Ammies managed to retain possession. Gibson, just outside the area on the left, lifted a nice pass to the far side of the 6-yard box where Towell had been left unattended. The Irish midfielder tapped home but was doubtless already aware that he had been judged to be offside.

Salford were still searching for the 2nd goal that would now seal their victory, and Mani Dieseruvwe replaced Wilson with 7 minutes left.

Despite their best efforts, there would be no way through to goal for Stevenage and with 2 minutes to play the game should have been pushed firmly beyond their reach. Hunter was the architect, picking up possession on the left-hand side of the area, maybe 6 yards from the goal line. A nicely chipped cross inside fell for Dieseruvwe, entirely on his own and maybe 8 yards out .The big striker had time to place his header, but although he beat keeper Cummings, Marshall arrived to head the ball to safety from just in front of the line.

Dieseruvwe denied a first league goal since August 2019 but in the end it didn’t matter as the Ammies safely navigated 4 minutes of time added on to record their second league win of the season.

FULL-TIME: STEVENAGE 0 SALFORD CITY 1

With promotion this season’s priority, an away win with a clean sheet thrown in has to be seen as an excellent afternoon’s work. It would be inaccurate to say the Ammies lived dangerously at times, but when Stevenage were allowed a sight of goal, goalkeeper Hladky was equal to their efforts.

For the most part Salford were defensively excellent today, and that’s a compliment for the whole side, not just the 5 lads at the back.

The early goal helped, and can’t have done much for Stevenage’s confidence, but Graham Alexander’s side created a number of good chances and with a little more luck might well have recorded another Grimsby sized win.

This result has lifted Salford into 3rd place in the table, just a couple of points behind early leaders Newport County. There is, of course, a heck of a long way to go but early signs are encouraging, and this 4th successive league and trophy clean sheet reflects the type of defensive stability required to underpin a successful promotion push.

The home form conundrum still lingers to an extent, with two draws from the opening two games – crack that one and the Ammies will be flying. Tranmere Rovers provide the next EFL League Two opposition at the Peninsula Stadium and that would be a satisfying way to kick off a run of good home form.

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