Salford City moved into the top half of the Sky Bet League Two table for the first time since mid-August after a 1-1 draw with Scunthorpe United.
The Iron haven’t made the best of starts this season and are still without a league win on the road in 2019-20, but Kevin Van Veen’s 35th minute goal allowed the travelling supporters to dream.
That was dashed just before half time when Cameron Burgess, on a season-long loan from Scunthorpe, headed in an equaliser.
Match-winning chances came in the second half as Burgess, Mani Dieseruvwe, Jake Jervis, Lois Maynard and Nathan Pond all went close, and Burgess made a match-winning tackle to deny Lee Novak in the final five minutes.
However neither side could find a winner, although Salford manager Graham Alexander felt that his side were worthy of something from the second half against his former club.
“If we’re going on the second half I thought we deserved to at least score which would have gave us the win, I thought we were excellent in the second half.
“We were a little bit stagnant in the first half, after the first 20 minutes I thought it was just a case of coming out of our shell a little bit more.
“The goal from the challenge is a poor goal for us to concede, a little bit of fortune on their side but it’s a good finish from Van Veen, put us on the back foot.
“But getting that goal just before half time was good for us, and I thought second half we were the team on top and we really pushed for the winning goal, I thought we had three or four really good chances to do that but unfortunately we just couldn’t get that final quality on the end touch to score the goal.”
FIRST GOAL FOR BURGESS
Burgess has come close on a couple of occasions in the last month to open his Ammies account, having waited for his opportunity to play, but the Gaffer said he was back to one of his better performances this afternoon.
“He was excellent, I thought he’s been under par the last couple of games but I thought today he was back to his best; he was dominant in the air, he used his left foot very well and the goal’s obviously a bonus.
“A great ball in from Ibby [Touray] and great touch from Cam so I thought he was back to what he was a couple of games ago and I thought everyone played 10, 15, 20% better in the second half than they did in the first half, and that’s what we’ve got to take into the next game.
“We asked for a response and we got that so you know every credit to the players.”
The centre-back added to the delight at scoring, particularly against his parent club after it was agreed as part of the deal that he was allowed to contrary to most loan agreements.
“You’re not going to believe this but my old man said that ‘you’re either going to get sent off or you’re going to score a goal against your old club, or the club you’re on loan from’, so it’s nice that feeling, good to get a goal and good to get a point.
“The balls in have been great so it’s been a few games coming, and good for the boys putting the ball into the box, finally one goes in for them to get the assist and yeah, glad to be me.”
He has now started in the last eight games, but says that no one’s place is guaranteed with such strong competition in the squad especially with players returning from injury.
“It’s just building an understanding, but I’ve said many times any of the boys that play centre half at this club could step in and do the same job, it’s very competitive, especially in training, there’s a lot of us and a lot of quality there.
“Everyone can do the exact same job me and Pondy do so it’s up to us to keep our shirts.”
The Ammies are back in action at high-flying Newport County next Saturday, KO 15:00 at Rodney Parade.