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Team Sheet

York City
1
Adam Bartlett
2
Connor Brown
Yellow card for Connor Brown
3
David Ferguson
Yellow card for David Ferguson
4
Hamza Bencherif
5
Jonny Burn
6
Adriano Moke

Gray '85

7
Sean Newton (c)
8
Simon Heslop
9
Jon Parkin
10
Alex Pattison
11
Aidan Connolly
1 goals for Aidan Connolly

Parslow '87

Salford City FC
1
Max Crocombe
1 goals for Max Crocombe
2
Michael Nottingham
3
Ibou Touray
4
Lois Maynard
Yellow card for Lois Maynard
5
Carl Piergianni
Yellow card for Carl Piergianni
6
Liam Hogan (c)

Livesey '53

7
Tom Walker
Yellow card for Tom Walker
8
Gus Mafuta
9
Nathan Arnold
10
Jack Redshaw

Dudley '69

11
Nick Haughton

Phenix '69

Substitutes
12
James Gray
14
Daniel Parslow
16
Louis Almond
18
Luke Simpson
19
Raul Correia
Substitutes
12
Danny Livesey
14
Mark Shelton
15
Anthony Dudley
16
Mike Phenix
17
Josh Askew
Managers
Manager - Martin Gray
Managers
Joint Manager - Anthony Johnson
Joint Manager - Bernard Morley
Match Officals
Referee - Paul Brown
Assistant Referee - David Pill
Assistant Referee - Andrew Kitchen

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Match
Report

Salford City’s lead at the top of the National League North is down to two points after Aidan Connolly’s first-half strike separated the two sides following a hard-fought game at Bootham Crescent. With steadier finishing and a little more luck the Ammies could have built a commanding lead inside the first twenty minutes of a full-blooded contest but once again struggled to put the ball into the net. All eyes must now turn to next week’s trip to Alfreton but Salford will be without the services of Carl Piergianni (a tenth booking today means an automatic two-game ban) and possibly skipper Liam Hogan who had to be assisted from the pitch after suffering an injury.

There was one change from the eleven that started at Brackley two weeks ago with new loan signing Nathan Arnold coming in for Mike Phenix on the right of an attacking midfield trio.

Encouraged by over three hundred travelling supporters Salford started the afternoon in promising fashion, pressing their hosts back almost from the start. Within the first minute York’s Alex Pattison had got past Ibou Touray on the right only to overrun the ball into touch and that would be the best the home side could muster for quite a while.

The Ammies were moving the ball around nicely and in the fifth minute Tom Walker cut inside from the left only to have his shot charged down by a defender. The forward four were looking threatening and a couple of minutes later Nick Haughton finished off a good spell of possession with a chipped twenty-yarder from the right that was comfortably taken by Adam Bartlett in the home goal. Within another minute Walker’s ball to the edge of the box was touched back for Lois Maynard to have a go from twenty yards with Bartlett getting down to his right to make the save.

In the tenth minute Walker latched onto a ball lofted into the box on the left but could only lash an effort into the side-netting from six yards out.

There was a real fluidity about Salford’s play and their quick movement and passing was giving the home defence plenty to concentrate on. It looked to be a matter of time until a goal came along and it very nearly arrived with a dozen minutes on the clock. Ibou Touray broke onto space wide on the left before clipping a square cross towards the near post. Loan signing Arnold got up on the angle of the six-yard box, flicking on a header that dropped inches wide of the base of the far post.

Almost a debut goal for Arnold and Salford would have been good value for the lead, even at this early stage of the game. Not much had been seen of the Minsterman as an attacking force but they countered this time and Aidan Connolly managed to wriggle into the box on a left-of-centre run. Central defender Piergianni got across quickly and in the end did just enough to allow Max Crocombe to advance and collect the ball.

Not much for the home support to shout about but York were gradually finding their feet and seeing a little more of the ball. In the sixteenth minute David Ferguson’s high punt forward was nodded down to the right by Jon Parkin for Connolly to hit a twenty-five yarder just wide of Crocombe’s left-hand upright.

Some encouragement for York but within a minute they could – and probably should – have gone a goal down. Home midfielder Simon Helsop picked up possession outside the box on York’s left and elected to pass back to Bartlett. Fine in theory but the attempt fell woefully short and Redshaw was onto the ball in a flash. With defenders trailing in his wake Salford’s top-scorer elected to shoot but saw his effort blocked on the edge of the box by the rapidly advancing Bartlett.

A great opportunity gone begging and the balance of the game continued to even out in its aftermath. On twenty minutes Feguson’s ball inside from the left found Adriano Moke who threaded a forward pass into the left-hand side of the area. It looked as if Connolly might capitalise on that one but he couldn’t quite get there and the ball ran out of play for a Salford goal-kick.

Midway through the first half Gus Mafuta and home skipper Sean Newton clashed inside Salford’s area and although the latter went to ground the referee ignored impassioned pleas for a penalty.

Down at the open away end Arnold’s pass from the left seemed destined for Nick Haughton until Lois Maynard nipped in to hit a wayward sixteen yard effort high and wide of Bartlett’s left-hand post.
The Ammies put together another good move soon afterwards as Redshaw’s first-time pass from halfway sent Arnold into space on the right. The low cross inside looked destined to pick out Redshaw’s run into the box but a defender stretched to get a vital touch and then beat Walker to the loose ball.

Despite increasing signs of attacking life from York this had very much been Salford’s half so far but they fell behind in the twenty-seventh minute. CONNOLLY had looked the home side’s liveliest player and he was allowed a little bit too much space just outside the left-hand angle of the box. The ambitious chipped effort that followed rose high above Crocombe’s head, came back off the inside of the far post then struck the falling keeper before rolling into the net.

The Ammies didn’t deserve to be behind and responded to York’s goal by going in search of a quick leveller. Almost from the restart the visitors won a free-kick on the right and Walker whipped a delivery into the area. It was tailor made for the head of a big centre-forward yet it was still a surprise when Parkin arrived to bullet an effort just over his own crossbar. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and call that a brilliantly judged defensive header but there was more than a touch of luck about York’s subsequent escape. Walker’s corner from the left was met by Hogan at the near post and it looked as if his downwards header bounced up to be headed clear by Ferguson, standing on – or just behind the goal-line. Maynard pounced on the loose ball to slam in a right-of-centre effort from six yards and this one smacked off the unfortunate Redshaw and back into play where York managed to clear their lines.

How that passage of play didn’t lead to a Salford equaliser will be clarified when the highlights are available but the Ammies were certainly still trailing in a game they had dominated. There was a brief lull in play after that, with the next chance falling to York eight minutes before the break. Pattison nudged a pass into the path of full-back Connor Brown on the right and his cross was headed forward by Newton. Parkin waited for the ball to drop before attempting to hook the ball home only to direct his effort wide of Crocombe’s right-hand post.

The game reignited during the final five minutes of the half and Moke’s cross – or perhaps shot - from the left drifted outside the far post. In the forty-third minute Hamza Bencherif got to Newton’s cross from the right, with Parkin on hand to bundle the loose ball home from close range. The big number nine’s celebratory run took him almost to the far corner flag and by the time he realised that Bencherif had been penalised for a foul on the keeper Salford were already trying to launch an attack. That attempt stalled as the normally solid Hogan lost out to Moke in the right-back position and from his pass inside Parkin almost regained face with a low drive that Crocombe pushed away to the right.

In the last minute of the half Newton volleyed home following a corner but once again the officials chalked off the effort, this time due to Parkin’s push on Piergianni.

A furiously paced end to the half produced one more chance as Walker’s free-kick from wide on the left found Hogan who got up well under pressure beyond the far post to get in a header that was collected low down by Bartlett.

HALF TIME: YORK CITY 1 SALFORD CITY 0

An action-packed first half would not be mirrored after the break and the first incident of note came when Piergianni was yellow-carded for a less than sensitive challenge on Connolly in the middle of the park. That’s the former Boston man’s tenth booking of the season and he will now miss the game at Alfreton and the home fixtore –vs- Bradford due to suspension.

Bartlett moved forward to punt the free-kick forward and Hogan’s clearing header fell temptingly for Heslop whose volley from distance soared high over the crossbar.

There was another defensive blow waiting in the wings for Salford as skipper Liam Hogan went down in some distress, wide on Salford's left. After a couple of minutes treatment on the pitch Hogan had to be helped off it, with replacement Danny Livesey tasting National League North action for the first time since he was injured at Chorley all the way back on 8th August.

The Ammies couldn’t reproduce their flowing start to the first half but ten minutes in Haughton’s weaving run took him into the box where a shot was deflected wide by Jon Burn. York struggled to clear the corner and Walker’s ball to the near post was met by the stretching Michael Nottingham who could only prod an effort wide of the target.

The Minstermen countered and Parkin’s strength won an aerial duel and he nodded the ball into the path of Connolly. A short pass outside to the left found Moke whose attempt to guide an angled effort inside the far posted drifted wide of the target.

Livesey’s challenge on Parkin won the home side a free-kick, wide on the left and just before the hour mark. Parkin had a go himself, slamming in a decent effort from distance but Crocombe was behind that one all the way at his near post.

With Salford struggling to get any rhythm back into their play York were finding space to press forward. A cross from the left was dropping towards Parkin at the far post where probably the heaviest professional footballer in England toppled to the turf following pretty minimal contact with Walker. It looked as if Parkin may have backed into his opponent but the only thing more surprising than the ease with which he went down was the referee’s decision to point to the spot. To add to the surreal turn of events Walker was booked for his part in Parkin’s plummet to the turf and the big man himself was lining up the kick, in front of the travelling support...

Rarely has a spot-kick been harder hit but this rising sixty-fifth minute effort smashed into the crossbar before heading high into the air and dropping down to be cleared by a one of several attendant white-shirted defenders. A touch of Karma there perhaps and the Ammies were still very much in this match.

Within a minute of the penalty miss Maynard and Ferguson were both booked following an incident inside York’s half and the game moved into its final quarter. Salford won a corner on the left and Piergianni met Walker’s delivery with a firm downwards header that spun high into the air before dropping harmlessly into the waiting hands of Bartlett. The Minstermen countered at speed with Heslop advancing before sliding a pass to the left for Connolly who hit a powerful rising effort. Crocombe was equal to this one, extending a hand instinctively to push the ball over for a corner kick.

A great save from Salford’s keeper but his side’s attacking effectiveness had been dwindling and the managers brought on Anthony Dudley and Mike Phenix for Haughton and Redshaw.

With twenty minutes to play York’s Brown was booked for a poorly judged challenge on Walker and his fervent protests, along with the subsequent booing of Walker were somewhat hard to understand.

The Ammies were pressing but some determined defending, rushed decisions and bad luck were conspiring to keep them at bay. In the seventy-fifth minute Walker did well on the left before pulling a low pass back into the path of Mafuta. There was a defender closing down quickly but even so the England ‘C’ midfielder will be disappointed with an effort that would probably still be rising had it not collided with the roof of the stand.

Salford needed a clear-cut chance and somebody with the composure to tuck it away. With ten minutes left it seemed as it if may have arrived as Phenix’s header on was picked up by Dudley who slid a square ball to the left for Walker. With space and a little time Walker snatched a little at the chance and his low drive provided a pretty routine save for Bartlett, dropping down to his right.

The Ammies had plenty of late possession but a wall of red and blue shirts blocked their way to goal and time was rapidly running out. With four minutes left Walker did tremendously well to dig out a cross despite being hemmed in at the left corner flag. Nottingham got his head to the ball but Ferguson was in the way and the left-back calmly controlled the ball before carrying it out of the area and to safety. With Salford bodies committed forward York were looking to hit on the break and here Parkin’s pass to the left sent substitute James Gray on a run. Parkin continued his own advance into the six-yard box but Gray’s low ball was just behind him, clipping off the striker’s heel and out for a throw on the far side.

In the penultimate minute of the ninety Maynard’s looping header into the area was chased by Dudley but he was crowded out by a combination of defender and keeper. Seconds later Arnold almost found a little space on the edge of the box but his left-of-centre shot was blocked by a covering defender.

Four minutes of time added on was indicated and Crocombe joined the attack as the Ammies won a corner on the right. Bartlett got up to claw that one away and from the next Crocombe was penalised for a barge on his opposite number.

It had been that sort of day for Salford City and the players’ disappointment was all too plain to see as the referee’s whistle brought down the curtain on a game that might have gone very differently indeed.

FULL TIME: YORK CITY 1 SALFORD CITY 0

In an interview after the match joint-manager Anthony Johnson commented that despite the result it’s not ‘all doom and gloom’. He’s right of course but he and Bernard Morley will be frustrated at the points that got away this afternoon.

The opening twenty minutes at Bootham Crescent saw some excellent attacking football from the Ammies with a number of chances created. None of them were taken but that spell of quality football will certainly bolster hopes of a quick recovery from back-to-back defeats.

To be fair York adapted well to Salford’s style of play and hauled themselves back into a game that could have seen the points pushed out of their reach relatively early. The Minstermen soon learned to deny their opponents time on the ball and gradually Salford’s territorial dominance began to wane. Even so the Ammies could have scored from any of six or eight presentable opportunities and are still searching for the clinical finish that has largely eluded them for much of an otherwise fine campaign.

The second half was less satisfying certainly, but even so emerging from this game empty-handed does not represent a fair reward for Salford City.

Harrogate’s win means that an erstwhile eleven point lead has been whittled down to a rather more vulnerable two so a return to form over the next few games is imperative. Alfreton will not be an easy place to visit, especially without your established central defensive partnership but successful teams get results in situations like that and the Ammies are more than capable of bouncing back from this latest, somewhat cruel setback. It would be helpful if we don't have to reflect on a host of spurned chances for a while though...

GOALS:
1-0 Aidan CONNOLLY (28th min)

ATTENDANCE: 3,366 (341 Salford City)

https://salfordcityfc.co.uk