Ammies Stumped In Boston
Ten man Salford paid the price for not taking their chances as they slumped to defeat at struggling Boston United
SATURDAY 25th MARCH 2017
VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH
BOSTON UNITED 2 SALFORD CITY 0
1-0 Harry VINCE (12th min)
2-0 Nat BROWN (73rd min)
The imposing tower of St.Botolph’s church has been inspiring visitors to Boston for centuries but it didn’t do the trick for Salford City today as they slumped to a disappointing defeat. Against a side who hadn’t won a Saturday home league game all season the Ammies underperformed during a scrappy first half and Brad Barnes was dismissed for a 2nd bookable offence just before the interval. Last season Salford defied numerical disadvantage to emerge victorious at Frickley and Barwell, but despite dominating the second half they just couldn’t find a way past home keeper Ross Durrant.
There were changes from the side that rescued a late point on Tuesday evening with injured Jordan Hulme and unavailable George Green replaced by David Norris and Richie Allen. Nick Haughton dropped down to the bench as Josh Hine was restored to the starting line-up.
On a fine sunny day in Lincolnshire both sets of supporters observed a pre-match minute’s silence for those affected by the Westminster terrorist attack, before Salford got the match underway.
Any spectators who arrived half-a-dozen minutes late missed a flurry of early chances as both sides went looking for goal. The first chance went Salford’s way after Mike Phenix beat the offside trap to pick up keeper Jay Lynch’s long ball to the right. A pass inside found David Norris whose low effort from right-of-centre and just inside the area was gathered at the second attempt by Durrant.
At the other end a Boston free-kick from left-of-centre smacked into Norris and out for corner. The set-piece came in from Salford’s right and Nat Brown’s effort was blocked, with Jay Rollins’ follow-up effort suffering the same fate. There were bodies everywhere in the six-yard box as Mani Dieseruvwe had another bite of the cherry from very close range but the danger was finally snuffed out when Lynch smothered the ball.
Great last-ditch defending from the Ammies but they switched to the offensive immediately as Phenix sprinted forward on the right having collected a long clearance. This looked very promising from Salford’s point of view but Durrant stood firm, getting a strong hand to the Salford striker’s firmly driven effort.
The visitors’ next foray came on the opposite flank as Richie Allen’s neat pass sent Josh Hine racing towards goal but Durrant was aware of the danger and advanced quickly to claim the ball.
A breathless start and it was obvious already that Boston’s height and strength would make them difficult to handle from set pieces. The Ammies looked lively too and in the 10th minute Allen did well to cut inside from the left before letting fly with a low effort, only for the ball to take a nick off a defender that took sting out of the shot.
We could have had a couple of goals for each side already but didn’t have to wait too long for the opener. Unfortunately for another healthy turnout of away support the breakthrough went the way of the Pilgrims after Dieseruvwe did well to win possession just inside Salford’s half of the pitch. Rollins picked up possession and advanced before slipping a pass to the right where Harry Vince had made his way forward. The Boston midfielder appeared to be offside but the flag stayed down and he kept his cool, placing a low, angled effort from the right past Lynch and just inside the far post.
The 3rd time in 8 days that Salford had conceded a game’s first goal and they had to be careful not to ship an immediate second. Just 2 minutes after Vince’s first ever Boston goal Jack Broadhead picked up possession from a blocked shot before moving to the right and trying to angle a low shot to the keeper’s right. Lynch got down to save that one but Boston were soon on the offensive again as skipper Adam Broadhead’s free-kick from the left was aimed towards Dieseruvwe. The tall striker was being pulled back by a defender but his claims for a penalty were ignored as the offside flag had already gone up.
There was more defending for Salford to do just before the midway point of the first half as the ball dropped into their box again. Rollins’ touch gave Brown the chance to turn and shoot but grounded defender Billy Priestley managed to get in a block.
The game had got a little bit scrappy since the goal and although Salford were getting the ball forward they lacked penetration and Hine’s long throws were reaping no reward.
Just before the half-hour Priestley met a Norris corner from the left with an acrobatic effort that dropped just over the bar as the Ammies looked to get back on level terms. Boston responded by going long and for a second it looked as if the lively Rollins might wriggle clear but Scott Burton was there, getting in a strong challenge to deprive the Boston forward of an effort on goal.
Salford continued to press whenever they could and for a second Hine’s lofted cross from the right had Durrant worried but the ball dropped harmlessly over the bar. Nine minutes before the break a mighty Priestley clearance was chased by Phenix but Kalern Thomas and Jan Yeomans converged form the flanks, doing enough to knock Salford’s top scorer out of his stride.
Promising situations for Salford were not crystallising into chances but Boston went close again 4 minutes before half-time. Brad Barnes got himself into a tangle outside the right-hand angle of the penalty area, allowing Louis Briscoe to cut into the box only to blast a 12-yard angled shot over the bar when it looked a simpler task to hit the target. Barnes’ frustration saw him take a dig at Vince and after consulting his assistant the referee entered the Salford midfielder’s name into his book.
Three minutes later Vince was left on the turf again, just inside his own half and once again Barnes was the culprit after the two had contested a high ball. There was an inevitability about the outcome as Salford’s number 8 trudged across to the referee to collect his second yellow card of the afternoon, and second red of the season.
A crazy few minutes for the former AFC Fylde man and that lack of control left his side facing a full half a man short as well as a goal down.
The final action of the half came 3 minutes into time added on as Chapman’s corner from the left picked out Broadhead’s run from the far side but the subsequent header smacked into Michael Nottingham before being cleared.
HALF TIME: BOSTON UNITED 1 SALFORD CITY 0
A frustrating first half for The Ammies who had not taken their early opportunities, struggled to create any more and lost a man just before the half-time whistle. Plenty of work to do, but in the event it looked as if they would make a decent job of it.
The ten men seemed determined and composed from the restart and might have been back on level terms within 2 minutes. Norris played a clever ball forward and Phenix was cutting into the box on a left-of-centre run. There was plenty of defensive pressure but having made it to the angle of the 6 yard box the Salford striker’s shot was blocked by Yeomans. Norris delivered the corner from the left and Nottingham got up to put in a header that cleared the crossbar by a couple of feet.
Encouraging for Salford and in the 50th minute the ball fell for Allen, left-of-centre and 18 yards out, but his rising half-volley cleared the crossbar.
Allen’s next contribution to the game’s statistics was a yellow card for a rash challenge on Vince and within a couple of minutes he had been replaced by Nick Haughton.
The Ammies were knocking on the door at this point, winning a number of corners but Durrant wasn’t being seriously tested. In the 58th minute Burton shaped to shoot but instead clipped a deft pass into the box for Norris, only for a defender to get in first with a hurried but effective clearance.
A good start to the second half from a Salford perspective but Boston began to exploit their numerical advantage and in the 59th minute Rollins found some space on the left only to hit a rising shot that was too high to worry Lynch. Soon afterwards the Pilgrims pushed forward again and Briscoe’s left-of-centre 20-yarder spun off Simon Grand and behind for a corner.
With a touch more than 25 minutes left The Ammies sent on Barrow loanee Harry Panayiotou and Craig King, with Hine and Norris giving way. A positive move from the gaffers but the next chance went to Boston as Briscoe cut into the box on the right before pulling back for Dieseruvwe to hit a low shot that was blocked.
Haughton had looked lively since coming on and in the 70th minute he tried his luck with a 25 yard left-of-centre free-kick that dropped just outside Durrant’s right-hand upright.
Salford were going for it, committing men forward – particularly Nottingham – but despite largely dominating the second half they were struggling to test Boston’s keeper. Chasing the game they were always likely to concede the odd chance and after a Pilgrim corner from the left was cleared Rollins put in a looping header that dropped wide of Lynch’s left-hand upright. The Ammies countered and as Panayiotou got into the box on the left then moved to the right, space seemed to opening up. The ball wouldn’t quite sit up though and by the time the Salford debutant let fly with a low effort a defender had got himself in the way to make a block.
It seemed like Salford just needed a spot of luck to grab the equaliser they now deserved, but a body blow came along in the 73rd minute. It was simple stuff, from a set piece as Chapman dropped in a corner from the right and Brown got up beyond the penalty spot to power in a downwards header that made its way inside Lynch’s left-hand post.
A poor reward for a determined second half performance but the Ammies were two down with time running out for them. With 12 minutes left Dieseruvwe tried to break onto a header forward but Priestley stuck with him and then got ahead to nod the ball back to Lynch.
A couple of minutes later Burton tried an ambitious 30 yarder but couldn’t keep the effort down and Boston were closing in on that ultra-elusive Saturday league win at home.
To their credit Salford never stopped looking for the goal that would get them back into the match and 8 minutes from time Haughton’s lobbed pass sent Panayiotou racing into the box. Durrant came out to cover the angles and although Salford’s substitute got there first he could only poke a low effort that went wide of the keeper’s left-hand post.
Even at this stage and with a numerical disadvantage there was a feeling that if Salford could get a goal back quickly Boston’s brittle looking defence might well crack again in the time that was left. Nottingham was playing as an extra striker now and in the 83rd minute he hit a right-of-centre 22 yarder that went wide of Durrant’s left-hand upright.
Two minutes later Burton’s lofted ball forward from deep dropped into the area and Nottingham got away from his marker only to direct a firm 8 yard header wide of Durrant’s right-hand post. Grand was the next to deliver a cross, again deep and from the left, with possession falling for Phenix just outside the right-hand angle of the 6 yard box. Could this be the breakthrough? Unfortunately for the vocal travelling support behind the goal the answer was “no” as a firmly drilled low effort passed inches wide of the far post.
The pressure on Boston’s goal was intense and Burton’s pass to the right found Phenix who slammed in a rising shot from a tight-angle, with Durrant forced to push the ball behind at the expense of a corner. Haughton took this one from the right and when the ball fell for Priestley, 6 yards out, the central defender turned to hit a low effort that Durrant got down well to block.
The game was effectively up for Salford now, but there was time for one more chance to register a goal. Panayiotou’s run took him into the area on the right and he played a great low ball towards Phenix, lurking at the far post. Any lingering doubts about this not being Salford’s day were firmly dispelled as Durrant got down again, this time tipping the ball just outside his right-hand post for a corner. Haughton dropped this one towards the near post where Grand muscled his way in but could only turn a 6 yard effort wide of the target.
FULL TIME: BOSTON UNITED 2 SALFORD CITY 0
There’s no other way of saying it – this was a very disappointing afternoon for Salford City. Against a side playing for nothing other than pride – and with a very fragile home record – they struggled to put their game together during the first half and did not get the rub of the green as Vince scored from what looked an offside position. After that came a spot of “shooting yourself in the foot” as the experienced Barnes picked up 2 eminently avoidable yellow cards within 4 mad first half minutes.
The second half was better – the chances that have proved generally elusive over recent matches finally began to materialise but Durrant wasn’t tested anywhere near enough. A goal at any point after Boston’s second might well have proved a springboard to rescuing a point but it wasn’t to be Salford’s day in front of goal.
Bright spots? Debutant Panayiotou looked useful and his mobility certainly offers attacking options. After a patchy first half the attitude after the break was spot on and in truth the Ammies deserved to finish the afternoon with a point, although it wasn't to be. Scott Burton put in an immense performance, particularly in the second half when he took responsibility for patrolling a midfield where Salford were outnumbered.
Things change quickly in football – 8 days ago Salford eyes were turned towards the very real possibility of snatching 2nd place but now that seems quite a distant possibility. Two points from 9 this week sees the Ammies in 4th place with focus now being solely to secure one of the four available play-off spots.
On paper the visit of Altrincham to Moor Lane next Saturday seems like a very decent opportunity to get a win on the board but the Robins will be determined to cause an upset. Focus and unity will be the key…
1) Ross DURRANT
2) Kalern THOMAS
3) Jan YEOMANS
4) Harry VINCE
5) Tom BATCHELOR
6) Nat BROWN
7) Adam CHAPMAN (c)
8) Louis BRISCOE
9) Jay ROLLINS
10) Mani DIESERUVWE
11) Jack BROADHEAD
12) Alex SIMMONS
14) Shane CLARKE
15) Colby BISHOP (for BRISCOE, 80th min)
16) Ben GORDON (for VINCE, 87th min)
17) Charlie GATTER
1) Jay Lynch
2) Michael Nottingham
3) Patrick Brough
4) Scott Burton
5) Simon Grand (c)
6) Billy Priestley
7) Josh Hine
8) Brad BARNES
9) Mike PHENIX
10) David Norris
11) Richie ALLEN
12) Steve Howson
14) Sam Walker
15) Craig King (for NORRIS, 64th min)
16) Nick Haughton (for ALLEN, 56th min)
17) Harry PANAYITOU (for HINE, 64th min)
Booked: Barnes, Allen
Sent Off: Barnes (2nd Yellow)
Referee: Mr. Ricky Wootton
Assistants: Mr. Steven Abbott & Mr. David Hunt
Attendance: 1,248 (67 Salford City)