Hogan's Heroes Hold Out for Victory !
Salford City were down to 9 men by the final whistle but a determined display secured their first win of the new season
TUESDAY 8th AUGUST 2017
VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH
CHORLEY 0 SALFORD CITY 1
0-1 Michael Nottingham (36th minute)
By the time the final whistle sounded at Victory Park Salford City had only 9 men left on the field of play, yet Michael Nottingham’s first-half goal still separated the two sides. The Ammies had Josh Askew dismissed with 13 minutes but a tremendous defensive display proved enough to keep Chorley at bay.
Not a particularly pleasant summer’s evening, but the grey and wet weather couldn’t compete with the meteorological histrionics we had to endure at the same venue last September. The Ammies lost 2-1 on that occasion but this time around they came away with a rather more palatable result.
The game started with both sides launching exploratory forays into each-other’s territory, with the home side winning a couple of early free-kicks. Both were repelled by the Salford defence and in the 7th minute the visitors created the first real chance of the evening. A spot of defensive confusion at the back from Chorley ended with Richie Allen being impeded just outside the penalty area and a little right of centre. Ibou Touray had a go from the set-piece, forcing Matt Urwin to make a parrying save with Nottingham picking up the loose ball on the right. A touch back for Touray and the wing-back delivered a cross to the penalty spot where Mike Phenix’s delicate touch dropped the ball just outside Urwin’s right-hand upright.
The game settled into an early pattern of both sides probing for a defensive weakness although at this point it was the Magpies who were seeing more of the ball. Visiting keeper Max Crocombe was called on to smother a couple of dangerous through-balls into his area but that was to be the extent of his exertions for a while.
This was already becoming a tight game – not surprising considering both sides are expecting to be “there or thereabouts” by the time April rolls around – with a number of free-kicks and corners failing to produce clear-cut scoring opportunities.
In the 20th minute Touray swung in a decent free-kick from the right only for Richie Allen and Lois Maynard to get in each-others way and Chorley defender Adam Blakeman emerged from the tangle in possession. A raking pass looked set to send Marcus Carver clear but Crocombe had anticipated the danger, advancing at speed to punt clear.
Chorley were looking more dangerous now and skipper Andy Teague’s header from the right was safely gathered by Crocombe. A couple of minutes later Terry Gornell nudged a pass to the right for Dale Whitham to drive a ferocious 20-yard effort over the crossbar. At the other end Nottingham exchanged passes with Mani Dieseruvwe then bundled his way through two challenges before being crowded out by defenders on the edge of the box.
In the 25th minute Salford won anotjer one of the free-kicks that would pepper this match, with Touray again swinging in a left-footed delivery from the right. Maynard stooped just inside the area to flick on a header but the effort dropped comfortably wide of Urwin’s right-hand post.
Carl Piergianni required treatment for a cut to the head on the half-hour and when play resumed Josh O’Keefe’s pass to Whitham was followed by a low 20-yarder that was held by Crocombe.
Salford central defender Piergianni returned to the fray with a head bandage in place and within 4 further minutes his side had taken the lead. A nice build-up gave Dieseruvwe the chance to slide a pass to the right for Nottingham whose attempt to cross the ball into the middle was blocked. Having picked up the rebound the Salford wing-back went for goal this time and his angled effort took a deflection on its way past Urwin and inside the far post.
The same player had put Salford ahead at Victory Park last season and Chorley once more went in search of a quick reply. The visiting defence was coping well but in the half’s penultimate minute Blakeman – who had been involved in most of the home side’s attacks so far - crossed from the left, with the ball dropping towards the edge of the 6-yard box. Piergianni was underneath that one but his headed clearance dropped for Carver, left-of-centre and 12 yards out. This was dangerous but luck was with Salford as the ball spun away from the Chorley number 9 and the chance had gone.
For the Ammies Crocombe launched a long kick downfield with Nottingham heading down into the right-hand side of the area, but Dieseruvwe couldn’t quite get there. The half finished with Chorley piling on pressure and Crocombe failed to hold Matt Challoner’s cross from the right but was bailed out by a hasty defensive clearance as Chorley players closed in. The final incident of note came a couple of minutes into time added on when Blakeman delivered a corner from the left, with Whitham stretching at the far post only to glance his effort wide of the target.
HALF TIME: CHORLEY 0 SALFORD CITY 1
A satisfying first half performance from the Ammies who had soaked up pressure without too many moments of peril and had snatched that all important opening goal.
There were no changes of personnel during the interval but after 5 relatively quiet second half minutes Dieseruvwe made way for Anthony Dudley. The Salford substitute almost made an immediate impression too, darting inside from the left with pace before squaring to Nottingham who was unable to make further progress. Chorley’s first threat arrived within another 60 seconds when O’Keefe’s diagonal pass to the right looked to have played in Carver only for Crocombe to act as sweeper once again, getting there first to make a nick-of-time clearance.
Dudley impressed the travelling support again in the 53rd minute, turning away from his marker on the left before playing a great ball to the far side of the box where Nottingham was only just denied a scoring chance by Blakeman.
The game was still physical at times and 10 minutes into the second half Carver was booked for a heavy challenge on Piergianni as the Salford defender tried to clear wide on the left. The needle between those two players continued and in the 57th minute the Piergianni was harshly penalised following another tussle with the Chorley striker. This time Blakeman rolled his free-kick inside to the edge of the penalty area, meeting the run of Challoner whose well-struck effort flashed just over the bar.
The action switched to the other end in the 61st minute when Salford put together a move of real quality. Nottingham’s ball inside from the right was picked up by Allen who moved possession to the left with Touray. A short pass forward picked out Dudley who cut inside and into the area before curling in a 16-yarder that was only inches too high. The Magpies countered quickly with Steve Jordan again joining the attack with a run through the inside left channel. His cross was dangerous too but not for the first time this evening Piergianni was there first to head behind for a corner.
Chorley were again cranking up the pressure and on 66 minutes Blakeman’s free-kick from the right was partially headed clear by Maynard. The ball dropped temptingly for Carver but his ambitious overhead hook from right-of-centre dropped outside Crocombe’s left-hand post. There was to be no respite yet for the Ammies and Crocombe was called into action within a minute, dropping to his left to push away a stinging shot from O’Keefe.
Piergianni picked up Salford’s first card of the night, yellow-carded for a challenge on Challoner that the referee judged to be over-robust.
Scott Burton – putting in another tremendous midfield shift – did well to head a dangerous cross behind in the 69th minute and Blakeman had another corner to take. This one came in from the right and caused concern among the home defence but the ball wouldn’t sit up for Chorley and a clearance was eventually made.
With a touch less than 20 minutes left Josh Askew and Jake Beesley came on for Touray and Phenix although the former’s evening would not last for too long.
For a while Salford had been under the cosh but at last there were signs that Chorley’s spell on top was coming to an end. The Ammies began to hold the ball better and it seemed that they might just have ridden out the Chorley storm. Such comforting thoughts for the away supporters were dispersed in the 76th minute when Askew was shown a straight red card following a late challenge on Teague. It wasn’t the best of challenges but although it lacked malice Teague went down as if poleaxed, clutching at his leg. The referee produced the red card that Chorley’s players and supporters wanted and as soon as it had been shown Teague rose, Lazarus like, from the turf with no apparent sign of injury. Disappointing, but such things appear to be part and parcel of the modern game and Salford had to see out the final quarter hour with 10 men.
Bearing in mind that Chorley had been on top for a while it could have been expected that they would press home their numerical advantage, but the dismissal seemed to galvanise further an already stubborn visiting side. The Magpies suddenly seemed short of attacking ideas and Salford might even have extended their lead with 8 minutes left. Nottingham turned inside from the right before sliding a pass to Allen, who dinked a clever return pass into the area. Nottingham had continued his run but with a real sight of goal could only blaze his 15-yard angled effort over the bar.
Once again it seemed as if Salford had drawn the sting from their opponents but Chorley were not finished just yet. The home side would press with desperate determination during the time remaining and in the 86th minute Danny Livesey was penalised for a foul. Josh Wilson hit the free-kick, from left-of-centre and 22 yards out but the ball deflected off Burton and behind. Blakeman whipped in the corner from the right but substitute Jake Cottrell’s close-range header was blocked by a defender at the cost of yet another.
Chorley full-back Blakeman had pumped a multitude of corners, free-kicks and crosses into Salford’s penalty area with little reward so far, but almost conjured an equaliser in the 89th minute. His corner from the right was whipped into the near post, meeting the run and jump of O’Keefe, whose header dropped inches outside Crocombe’s left-hand upright.
There was another blow for the Ammies during the last minute of the 90 when Livesey – so influential at the back- had to hobble off with an ankle injury. With all substitutes used nine-man Salford faced a minimum of 4 minutes time added on and they spent much of that time absorbing more Chorley pressure. In the 3rd of those extra minutes O’Keefe squared for Cottrell to hit an effort wide but there was more to come yet. With time running out Wilson embarked on a run down the left before crossing from deep to the edge of the area. O’Keefe was underneath that one but could only direct a header well wide of Crocombe’s right-hand post.
In the 5th extra minute Piegianni stretched to block a goal-bound effort but the corner came to nothing and the referee’s whistle confirmed Salford’s first win of the new season.
FULL TIME: CHORLEY 0 SALFORD CITY 1
After the bitter disappointment of Saturday’s defeat to Darlington the Ammies needed to find a response this evening, and they certainly achieved that. This was always going to be a tough encounter but Salford revealed the core of steel that runs through their rebuilt side. The visitors were defensively tight as a unit with Chorley’s spells of attacking dominance yielding surprisingly few goalscoring opportunities.
A rare Salford win at Victory Park and it was down to quality, grit and determination. Every one of the players did their bit and the reaction to losing first one man, and then another, was first rate.
Three points and a clean sheet is a great return for any National League North side from a visit to Chorley and Salford can move forward with a great deal of confidence. Saturday’s trip to AFC Telford United will pose a different challenge but – despite growing injury concerns –this squad looks as if they might be more than equal to it.
CHORLEY (Broad black & white stripes / Black / Red):
1) Matt URWIN
2) Matt CHALLONER
3) Adam BLAKEMAN
4) Andy TEAGUE (c)
5) Scott LEATHER
6) Steve JORDAN
7) Josh O'KEEFE
8) Dale WHITHAM
9) Marcus CARVER
10 Terry GORNELL
11) Josh WILSON
12) Kieran CHARNOCK
14) Paul JARVIS
15) Jake COTTRELL (for WHITHAM, 60th min)
16) Jason WALKER (for JORDAN, 76th min)
17) Enock LIKOY-ELUMBA (for GORNELL, 83rd min)
SALFORD CITY (All blue):
1) Max CROCOMBE
2) Liam Hogan (c)
3) Carl Piergianni
4) Scott Burton
5) Danny LIVESEY
6) Lois Maynard
7) Michael Nottingham
8) Richie ALLEN
9) Mike PHENIX
10) Mani DIESERUVWE
11) Ibou Touray
12) Josh ASKEW (for TOURAY, 71st min)
14) Jake Beesley (for PHENIX, 71st min)
15) Anthony Dudley (for DIESERUVWE, 50th min)
16) Emmanuel OGUNRINDI)
17) Tony AGHAYERE
Referee: Mr. Steven COPELAND
Assistants: Mr. Daniel BRUCE & Mr. Lewis SMITH