Ammies Power To Victory Against League Leaders
A brace from Jack Redshaw capped a powerful team performance from the Ammies as previously unbeaten Brackley Town are knocked off top spot
SATURDAY 9TH SEPTEMBER 2017
VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH
SALFORD CITY 2 BRACKLEY TOWN 0
1-0 Jack Redshaw (44th min)
2-0 Jack Redshaw (53rd min)
As we all know, a week is a long time in football. Last Saturday evening we were looking back on a slightly disappointing draw at Curzon Ashton but since then the Ammies have – with a fair degree of style – accounted for the division’s top two. A dynamic performance in Harrogate on Tuesday signalled a dramatic return to form and today’s impressive win over latest league leaders Brackley Town most definitely keeps the ball rolling. Statistically speaking it was a Jack Redshaw brace that made the difference but it was the overall level of performance that will have the division’s other contenders casting nervous glances in the direction of Moor Lane…
There was a single change of personnel from the side that started Tuesday’s game with Anthony Dudley stepping into the starting line-up in place of Richie Allen who is feeling the effects of a knock.
On a day of torrential rain interspersed by spells of warm sunshine the football started brightly enough. Within 2 minutes Dudley drifted inside from the right past a couple of opponents before sliding a pass to the opposite flank for Redshaw. The shot wasn’t on so Salford’s current top-scorer dropped a cross towards the far post but it dropped out of play before Mike Phenix could get there.
A decent bit of attacking football from the Ammies but it was Brackley who should have taken the lead a couple of minutes later. Aaron Williams latched onto a pass out to the right and had almost reached the penalty area when he tried to direct the ball past advancing Salford keeper Max Crocombe. The keeper did well to save but the loose ball fell for Williams and this time he pushed into the right-hand side of the box before drilling in a low shot that was heading inside the near post. Fortunately for Salford Lois Maynard got across just in time to block at the expense of a corner. Glenn Walker delivered from the right to the edge of the 6-yard box where Lee Ndlovu got in a header that seemed destined to the hit the net until Crocombe reacted instinctively, extending an arm to the right as he clawed the ball to safety.
Three chances in quick succession for the visitors but none had been tucked away. The Ammies would learn a lesson from those early lapses and were the next side to carve out an opening. Possession was moved smartly from left to right via Ibou Touray and Mark Shelton before Michael Nottingham checked inside to lay a pass into the path of Scott Burton. The Salford midfielder has notched the odd superb strike over the past couple of seasons but he couldn’t find one here as a 20-yarder flew high and wide of Danny Lewis’ left-hand upright.
The Ammies were seeing a lot of the ball now but Brackley’s two lines of four were a formidable obstacle and glimpses of goal were not easy to come by.
The visitors were using their flanks well and on 12 minutes left-back Alex Gudger tried an effort from distance that cleared the crossbar. Brackley built on the left again within a minute as Shane Bryant’s pass almost picked out Williams only for Touray to nip in and nudge the ball back towards Crocombe. The pass lacked pace and Williams fancied his chances of getting to it first until the Salford keeper’s hasty punt launched the ball to safety.
An enterprising start from both teams but the feeling was that it would take something special to break through the well-organised respective defences. Dudley very nearly provided it in the 20th minute as the former Bury forward picked up the ball just outside Brackley’s area before hitting a powerful low effort that looked certain to open the scoring. Lewis had ideas of his own, diving left to push the ball onto the base of his left-hand upright and out for a corner. Touray swung the set-piece into the near post where Maynard got in a header that wasn’t too far wide of the same post.
Close for Salford and the home side caused more problems for Brackley’s defence a few minutes later. Dudley’s pass found Nottingham on the right who played a low ball into the penalty area. Redshaw was on the end of it 10 yards out but he didn’t get the contact he wanted as the ball spun up into the air the dropped outside the far post.
The Ammies were seeing plenty of the ball although Brackley’s defence were demonstrating why only 3 goals had been conceded so far this season. On the half-hour Maynard aimed a cross from the right towards the far side where the busy Josh Askew controlled with aplomb only to run out of space under defensive pressure.
The game had settled into a general pattern of Salford probing for routes through Town’s defence and the visitors trying to launch the odd quick counter. During one of these Ndlovu played a subtle pass with the outside of his right foot into the right-hand side of the area. Burton couldn’t quite get there to cut it out but the alert Crocombe advanced to smother the danger before Town’s Matt Lowe could.
Playing on the left-hand side of midfield Askew was having another effective game and 6 minutes before the interval picked the pocket of Ellis Myles deep inside Salford territory. A lung-bursting run down the left flank followed but just short of Brackley’s penalty area Askew was crowded out unfairly by defenders. Dudley line up the free-kick from left-of-centre and 20 yards out but although his effort was on target Lewis was able to collect comfortably inside his left-hand post.
Two very solid sides on display this afternoon and it looked as if they would go in for the tea and oranges with no goals being scored. That notion was set aside during the half’s penultimate minute as Phenix got into space and finished off his right-of-centre run with an effort on goal. Lewis got down to parry that one but couldn’t keep hold of the ball, allowing the unattended REDSHAW to slide in from 6 yards out.
HALF TIME: SALFORD CITY 1 BRACKLEY TOWN 0
Accepted football lore has it that just before half-time is a good time to score and it certainly seemed to hold true as Salford emerged for the second half in determined mood. The Ammies were pressing forward but Brackley almost got back on level terms thanks to another quick break. This time Lowe got away down the right before putting in a cross and Ndlovu’s 12-yard diving header flashed past Crocombe’s left-hand post.
Another big chance for the visitors but once again they hadn’t managed to get onto the scoresheet. It would prove a crucial miss too because Salford responded by pushing forward to extend their advantage with 53 minutes played. Phenix was involved on the left and as the ball came in Askew hooked the ball into the middle where REDSHAW had again been left unmarked to lift a close range finish past Lewis.
Brackley needed to pull something out their hat but were faced by a robust wall of red shirts whenever they crossed the halfway line. They won a free-kick in the 58th minute but although Shane Bryant’s delivery from deep on the right was decent it was just a little too high for Luke Graham in the middle.
Play was held up for a little while after that as Crocombe received treatment for a knock and Askew had to change his number 3 shirt to a 20 following a facial injury that caused some bleeding.
When play resumed Town made a couple of substitutions in a bid to improve their fortunes but could have gone 3 down almost immediately after them. Phenix was having a good afternoon and he broke with power from deep inside his own half before playing a ball out to Redshaw on the right. The flag went up on to indicate what looked a very tight offside decision and although Salford’s number 10 finished well, high inside the far post, he was denied a second hat-trick of the season.
Brackley were working hard in their attempt to trim Salford’s lead but the Ammies were defending as a team and it was a struggle to create any real openings. At the other end the game could have been over as a contest with 20 minutes left after Askew surged forward on the left before turning a low ball back towards the edge of the box. Dudley was coming in to meet this one and hit a thunderous low effort, forcing Lewis down to his right to make a very good save indeed.
With just over 15 minutes to play, and perhaps with half a mind on Tuesday evening, Phenix was withdrawn following a great shift with Jake Beesley coming on in his place.
A two goal cushion meant that Salford didn’t have to force the pace of the game but they still looked more likely to score than their opponents. With 12 minutes to go another spell of neat passing ended with Burton moving possession to the right for Nottingham whose shot from some distance rose high and wide of the keeper’s left-hand post.
Mani Dieseruvwe and Dom McHale came on for Redshaw and Askew with 10 minutes left but the Ammies control of the game was not affected by those changes. Brackley hadn’t given up the ghost but their afternoon was summed up neatly in the 85th minute. Connor Franklin made ground on the left before crossing only for Burton to get in a great headed clearance. The ball fell for fellow substitute Jack Byrne but he miscued his 22-yard volley, slicing the effort yards wide of Crocombe’s left-hand post. The feeling that it might not be their day was reinforced 2 minutes from time when Gudger lined up a right-of-centre free-kick only to power an effort directly into the defensive wall.
The referee indicated 6 minutes of time to be added on and Brackley were still looking for a way back into the game. Gudger’s volleyed effort slammed into Beesley and right at the death a free-kick from the right set off a scramble inside Salford’s penalty area. Town skipper Gareth Dean had pushed forward to bolster the attack, turning outside the far post to slam in a low, close-range shot. Carl Piergianni, immense at the back again, was there to thwart Dean, sliding in to make what could well have been a goal-saving block.
FULL TIME: SALFORD CITY 2 BRACKLEY TOWN 0
After the final whistle Salford joint-manager Anthony Johnson spoke of a good controlled performance, creating chances against a very good side. That assessment was spot on as was his final verdict – “we were committed, took chances and got our rewards”.
Brackley Town arrived at Moor Lane on the back of a nine game unbeaten run and a defence with a reputation for meanness. With no disrespect to a good side they left having been made to look distinctly second best as the Ammies produced a very powerful performance indeed. It has been fascinating to watch this team evolve over the early games of the season and that fierce list of fixtures has been tackled head on with considerable success.
This was, above all, a true team performance, getting men forward when required and behind the ball every time Brackley attacked. During the second half especially every move the visitors made in their opponents’ half was opposed by two or three red shirts – there seemed to be a Salford head, or foot on the end of everything.
Everyone played their part this afternoon and considering the injury and suspension problems affecting the defence, recent results have been impressive. The draws at Spennymoor and Curzon could easily have been wins as well and the extra points such results would have accrued would not flatter Salford's start to their season.
Come Tuesday very nearly a quarter of the season will have been played but make no mistake, things are going to get even better…
SALFORD CITY (Red/white/white):
1) Max CROCOMBE
2) Mark Shelton
3) Josh ASKEW
4) Scott Burton
5) Carl Piergianni
6) Lois Maynard (c)
7) Michael Nottingham
8) Anthony Dudley
9) Mike PHENIX
10) Jack Redshaw
11) Ibou Touray
12) Tony Aghayere
14) Dom McHALE (for ASKEW, 80th min)
15) Jake Beesley (for PHENIX, 73rd min)
16) Mani DIESERUVWE (for REDSHAW, 80th min)
17) Richie ALLEN
Booked: Shelton, Piergianni, Dieseruvwe
BRACKLEY TOWN (All yellow):
1) Danny LEWIS
2) Ellis MYLES
3) Alex GUDGER
4) Shane BYRNE
5) Luke GRAHAM
6) Gareth DEAN (c)
7) Glenn WALKER
8) Matt LOWE
9) Lee NDLOVU
10) Aaron WILLIAMS
11) Adam WALKER
12) Steve DIGGIN
14) Jack BYRNE (for WILLIAMS, 62nd min)
15) Ben TILNEY (for A.WALKER, 74th min)
16) Connor FRANKLIN (for GRAHAM, 62nd min)
17) Greg KAZIBONI
Referee: Mr. John MATTHEWS
Assistants: Mr. Derric WARD & Mr. Matthew EAST