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Gary Bowyer on the touchline during Salford City 0-0 Sutton United

Salford City were held to a draw in a goalless afternoon at the Peninsula Stadium against newly-promoted Sutton United.

Neither side could break the deadlock in 90 minutes, in a game where chances were few and far between. The game’s golden chance fell to the visitors in the final minute of normal time when Sutton’s Richie Bennett found himself one on one with Tom King, but the ‘keeper saved heroically down to his right and secured both Salford’s point and a first clean sheet.

It was a difficult game for both sides with the Football League new boys posing a physical challenge for Gary Bowyer’s men. Salford had the majority of the ball but struggled to break down a resilient Sutton shape. The Manager said afterwards:

“It’s the second week running where we’ve come up against a well organised disciplined outfit and I thought we went about it well. We started the game a little bit slow but in the second half in particular we upped the tempo.”

The first half didn’t offer much for Moor Lane to shout about, with the game locked in a stalemate. Salford’s threat came from the wide areas, as it so often does. Ibou Touray and Liam Shephard on the flanks provided the attacking intent, and Conor McAleny offered the link-up play and had a few half-chances of his own after finding gaps between the Sutton lines.

“In terms of chances, we had Conor McAleny’s shot, Matty Lund’s effort from a great cross. In the second half we controlled the game it’s just disappointing we couldn’t find the winner.

“We talked in the dressing room with the players, that’s the time when you worry when you’re not creating the chances.

We’ll play far worse than that and win and what happens over the course of a season.”

Sutton came close with 20 minutes to go, Louis John heading the ball into the turf and onto the bar before it was scrambled away by the Salford backline. Throughout the game, the visitors offered physicality in all areas of the pitch. Paired with a well-organised unit, Matt Gray’s promotion-winning side held their own, making it difficult for Salford to settle.

The silver lining for The Ammies was the first clean sheet of the season. There was little for the summer signing to do between the sticks but when called upon King was equal to the task at the moment of need. Bowyer was impressed with his team’s defensive performance;

“I’m delighted for Tom and the back four especially, I thought the two centre-halves were magnificent for us as well and it’s always good confidence-wise to give the back four and the goalie a clean sheet.

“It’s important that as much as we control the game, we make sure we don’t lose it on the break or at the end and that’s exactly what we’ve done with Kingy’s save.”

The start of the new season always offers games thick and fast. Salford’s next outing will take them to Crawley Town on Tuesday night, chasing their first win of the season in their opening away fixture.

“The more games we play the better we’ll get.

“We need to keep working on the patterns that we want to see in the final third especially, take them to Crawley and keep going with it!”

 

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