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Team Sheet

Wrexham
18
Rob Lainton
3
James Jennings
5
Shaun Pearson (c)
1 goals for Shaun Pearson (c)
7
Luke Summerfield
13
Mark Carrington
14
Paul Rutherford

Deverdics '87

16
Brad Walker
1 goals for Brad Walker
20
Akil Wright
1 goals for Akil Wright
23
Stuart Beavon

Tollitt '65

30
Jake Lawlor
32
Bobby Grant

Holroyd '85

Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman

Rodney '76

3
Ibou Touray
Yellow card for Ibou Touray
4
Gus Mafuta
Yellow card for Gus Mafuta

Gaffney '65

6
Carl Piergianni
Yellow card for Carl Piergianni
7
Matt Green
9
Adam Rooney (c)
1 goals for Adam Rooney (c)
10
Danny Lloyd
11
Tom Walker
Red card for Tom Walker Yellow card for Tom Walker Yellow card for Tom Walker
18
Danny Whitehead
1 goals for Danny Whitehead
23
Nathan Pond
Yellow card for Nathan Pond

Hogan '46

Substitutes
1
Christian Dibble
4
Manny Smith
10
Chris Holroyd
1 goals for Chris Holroyd
17
Nicky Deverdics
29
Ben Tollitt
1 goals for Ben Tollitt
Substitutes
12
Max Crocombe
5
Liam Hogan
15
Liam Nolan
21
Devante Rodney
30
Rory Gaffney
Managers
Manager - Graham Barrow
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Match Officals
Referee - James Oldham
Assistant Referee - Robert Wainwright
Assistant Referee - Paul Tomes
Fourth Official - Tom Elliott

Close Team Sheet

Match
Report

There will be a distinct lack of festive cheer around The Peninsula Stadium for the next few days after Salford City were put to the sword at the Racecourse Ground. The brutal truth is that The Ammies were outplayed and outfought by a Wrexham side who have now leapfrogged us into second place. On the other hand it's undeniably true that good teams don’t become bad ones over-night, but some urgent maintenance work needs to be done before a difficult trip to Barrow on Saturday and Wrexham’s visit to Salford on New Years Day.

There were two changes form the side who were beaten by Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday, with recent signing Matt Green in for Rory Gaffney and Dennis Politic replaced by Gus Mafuta.

In front of more than 8,000 spectators this top-end-of-the-table clash got off to a dramatic start as The Dragons took less than 3 minutes to establish a lead. Striker Akil Wright was almost played into space inside the box, only for Carl Piergianni to get in with a nicely time sliding challenge to concede a corner. Luke Summerfield delivered the set-piece from the right towards the far post where Wrexham skipper SHAUN PEARSON rose above his marker to guide a header to Chris Neal’s left and into the net.

Not an ideal start for The Ammies and it could have got worse very quickly as Bobby Grant’s effort went just wide.

Salford’s first opportunity of the afternoon came in the 7th minute after Pearson failed to deal decisively with a ball dropped into the edge of the area. Green nipped in to hit a 19-yard right-of-centre effort but it fell wide of Rob Lainton’s left-hand post.

Real encouragement for the 276 travelling fans, who weren’t to know that would be their side’s best chance until time added on at the end of the second half.

The Ammies did have plenty of possession at times with Tom Walker & Green combining to play Danny Whitehead into space. The low shot looked decent before it clipped off a defender and wide of the keeper’s right-hand post. The corner, in common with most of Salford’s set-pieces today, came to nothing and it was the home side who were looking sharpest. Brad Walker had a go from almost 35-yards out, but it was an ambitious effort that pea-rolled its way through to an untroubled Neal.

Adam Rooney found some space wide on the right in the 14th minute with Green moving into position at the far post. It needed a quality cross but the Irishman’s delivery was too close to Lainton who stooped to collect.

This would be Salford’s most promising spell of a disappointing afternoon and on 20 minutes Rooney’s header from Danny Lloyd’s cross was partially cleared. Whitehead picked up possession on the right before shimmying his way to the line and putting in a cross. Again there were blue shirts there or thereabouts, but it was Wrexham’s Brad Walker who got there to hook the ball clear.

No joy in front of goal for The Ammies but at the other end Paul Rutherford tried an audacious lofted effort from outside the left-hand angle of the box. It was in target too, but Neal had positioned himself well to make a comfortable catch.

The Dragons extended their lead on 25 minutes and again huge question marks have to be asked about Salford’s defending. The home side kept possession for a while before Brad Walker nudged a pass out to Summerfield wide on the right. Wright pulled away from his marker far too easily, meeting the delivery at the far post before placing a header to Neal’s left.

You would have thought that Salford might have learned their lesson in terms of leaving opponents unattended in the danger areas, but they would need another reminder before the end of the first-half. In the meantime, they looked to get back into contention only for a succession of mildly promising build-ups to be spoiled by a poor final ball – if indeed they got far enough to try one.

Wrexham continued to look more dangerous and after Rutherford’s pressure forced Neal into a misplaced pass, Mark Carrington tried a lob from almost 30 yards out and right-of-centre. The ball dropped ominously towards the far post and although Neal just about got there he would have been relieved to see the effort drop just wide.

There was more Wrexham pressure to follow, with Wright seeing his opportunistic header blocked just in front of the line by Ibou Touray. It was the left-back to the rescue seconds later too as a cross came in from Wrexham's left with Grant trying a bicycle kick that crashed into him before being cleared.

The first-half was beginning to look like an exercise in damage limitation from Salford’s point of view, but they did fashion a chance 4 minutes before the interval. Green picked up possession before moving diagonally to the right then trying a low shot. There was no luck for him though as the ball clipped off James Jennings and rolled harmlessly through to Lainton.

Wrexham were still looking to add more goals before half-time, with Stuart Beavon picking out Wright whose shot rose high over the crossbar. For Salford Danny Lloyd played Touray into the left-hand side of the area only for a defender to do enough to prevent Rooney getting to it in the middle.

It seemed as if the Ammies would go into the interval 2 goals adrift but there was another bit of defensive doziness to endure first. Beavon pushed the ball through Nathan Pond’s legs on the left before being dumped to the turf as Salford’s centre-half swung a foot at him. The free-kick was played inside but there seemed little danger as BRAD WALKER set off on run. Not a single blue shirt made a move to close the Wrexham man down and from just outside the box he slammed in a low shot that beat Neal to his left.

HALF-TIME: WREXHAM 3 SALFORD CITY 0

The least auspicious 45 minutes in quite a while from a Salford City side and it wouldn’t get any better after the break. There was a change in personnel for the visitors as the teams returned to the field, with Liam Hogan replacing Pond who had not enjoyed the best of first halves.

The Ammies could have founnd themselves a man down within 3 minutes of the restart after an understandably frustrated Piergianni shoved Grant in an attempt to retrieve the ball for a Salford free-kick. Grant went to ground clutching his head but fortunately the referee contented himself with a yellow card – don’t worry though, Grant was soon up and about…

Salford got a shot on target in the 49th minute as Rooney threaded in a low effort that Lainton pushed around his left-hand post. It wouldn’t have counted though as a free-kick had already been given to the Ammies following Jake Lawlor’s foul on Lloyd. The set-piece went short to Tom Walker whose cross was cleared. In its aftermath Lloyd had an effort charged down inside the box and Mafuta’s low 20-yarder from a central position went wide of Lainton’s right-hand post.

For the next 10 minutes or so Graham Alexander’s men probed for a weakness in the home defence. They wouldn’t really find one against a side who were obviously determined not to give their opponents any sort of a foothold into the game. Once again passes were going astray for The Ammies and on those occasions they did get into a good position there was always a red shirt or two in the way. At the end of that brief spell Beavon went close with an effort for Wrexham and Rutherford’s low ball inside from the left was hit straight at Neal by Grant.

Mafuta went into the referee’s book after that for a foul and within a couple of minutes had been replaced by Gaffney. Jennings had a go from the free-kick but didn’t get anywhere near enough dip on an effort that dropped high over the bar.

Salford had plenty more possession during the second half but did next to nothing with it. The opposite was true for Wrexham and they broke to almost good effect in the 69th minute. Grant made the running before flicking a pass to Summerfield on the right whose cross to the far post fell for Rutherford. A stinging, angled shot almost made it through Neal’s legs, but the ball took enough of a deflection to fall for a defender who hacked clear.

Touray and Tom Walker took Salford’s tally of bookings to 5 over the next few minutes and with time running out, the game was slipping inexorably beyond Salford’s reach. Devante Rodney came on for Scott Wiseman with 15 to play but there would be no dramatic change to the match’s course.

With 8 minutes to play Rutherford’s ball into the left-hand side of the box found substitute Ben Tollitt whose close-range angled effort was blocked by Neal. Tollitt wouldn’t have to wait long for his debut day goal though – just a matter of 4 more minutes. A good passage of Wrexham play was finished off when TOLLITT was played clear into the left-hand side of the box and his ferociously hit rising 15-yarder gave Neal no chance at all.

A wretched afternoon for The Ammies was to get worse, starting in the penultimate minute of the 90 when Tom Walker picked up a 2nd yellow for a needless foul on Tollitt. Wrexham weren’t finished just yet, although their 5th goal came courtesy of a big Salford assist. The usually dependable Piergianni stroked a pass back towards Neal from the right-back position, but it was under-hit. CHRIS HOLROYD chased the ball down, checked back to make an angle before crashing a shot off Neal and into the net.

One thing you can never accuse a Salford City side of is throwing in the towel. They continued to press right to the end and Whitehead’s right-of-centre 20-yarder spun off ROONEY before dropping to the left of the wrong-footed and ground Lainton.

A consolation for the travelling support – or at least those who were left inside the ground – and the faithful few clapped their side off the pitch as usual.

WREXHAM 5 SALFORD CITY 1

A chastening afternoon for Salford City as their 3rd consecutive defeat was recorded in no uncertain terms. For a side who went 20 league games unbeaten The Ammies now look surprisingly vulnerable and today came up against opposition who took full advantage. After the Dragons went two up midway through the 1st half Salford never looked particularly likely to peg them back and home keeper Lainton can look back on 90 minutes where we he was never called upon to make a serious save.

Obviously not good enough, and the Ammies now occupy their lowest league position for a couple of months. With games continuing to come thick and fast answers have to be found quickly and I’m sure Graham Alexander and his team will be working hard to see that happens. In form Barrow will be no pushovers in the televised game at Holker Street on Saturday and then it’s Wrexham again on 1st January. It’s time to stand up and be counted…

Attendance: 8,283 (276 from Salford City)

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