Storm Ammie Blows Down Town
An explosive opening 30 minutes at Moor Lane saw the game lost...and won
TUESDAY 12th SEPTEMBER 2017
VANARAMA NATIONAL LEAGUE NORTH
SALFORD CITY 3 NUNEATON TOWN 0
1-0 Lois Maynard (9th min)
2-0 Anthony Dudley (13th min)
3-0 Josh ASKEW (33rd min)
Salford City chalked up their eighth win in ten matches as Nuneaton Town were given a foretaste of storm Aileen at rain-soaked Moor Lane. The Boro were blown away by a 30 minute spell of all-out attacking football and although the deteriorating conditions conspired against creative play this has to go down as another powerfully impressive performance from the Ammies.
There was no change in starting personnel from the side that started Saturday’s win over Brackley Town despite the return from suspension of Liam Hogan. The 4-4-2 formation that has served so well over recent games was in place too and the visitors soon found themselves under pressure.
The rain had started to pour by kick-off time and both sides needed to accustom themselves to the conditions. Salford were seeing plenty of the ball early on but the visitors appeared to have set out their stall to absorb pressure and were initially unruffled. That degree of comfort would not persist for Town and with 6 minutes played the Ammies were awarded a free-kick but from 22-yards and left-of-centre. Jack Redshaw’s looked good at first but the curling effort didn’t quite dip enough to cause Boro keeper Dean Lyness any concern.
He was to have a little more to think about 3 minutes later after Ibou Touray’s shot spun off a defender and behind for a corner. Anthony Dudley’s delivery, right-footed from the left, was aimed at the edge of the 6-yard box and Lois Maynard arrived on the run to rise and plant the firmest of downward headers into the net.
A third goal in four games for the skipper and although questions could have been asked about the home defence’s dereliction of duty the headed finish was again unerring.
An early lead for the Ammies and Nuneaton were suddenly rocking. The home side won possession after the restart and were soon pressing forward again, this time on the right-hand side. A first attack was repelled before Redshaw turned the ball back inside for Michael Nottingham to swivel and poke a shot toward goal. Lyness got a block in on that one but possession fell for Redshaw who moved inside a yard before trying a lofted effort from the right-hand angle of the penalty area. This time Lyness was well beaten but fortune was with him as the ball smacked off the outside of the far post and away to relative safety.
An escape for Boro but the respite would not last very long. Mark Shelton did well on the right before turning a pass inside and into the path of DUDLEY. It wasn’t the easiest of chances but the former Bury man hit a low, angled effort from the edge of the area that flicked off the turf once before finding its way inside the far post.
Not the start Nuneaton had planned but they responded positively to going 2 goals down, keeping possession from the restart as they searched for a way through Salford’s defence. A brief spell of neat passing failed to carve out an opening so when Brad Gascoigne picked up the ball on halfway he advanced a few yards, right-of-centre, before hoisting a high ball diagonally toward the edge of the box. Callum Ball was underneath that one but with foot raised could only poke an effort at Max Crocombe who had a simple task to make his first save of the evening.
There was more possession for Boro for a while but despite some promise they simply could not penetrate a home defence that showed no inclination to offer them another sight of Crocombe’s goal. With a 2 goal lead already established Salford’s early urgency had given way to patience but in the 25th minute Mike Phenix’s neat flick, tight to the right touchline, gave Nottingham the chance to progress down the flank. The result was a pacy low cross into the penalty area but Gascoigne was there to knock behind before Redshaw could close in. The action switched to the other side with Phenix and Josh Askew swapping passes before the latter prodded a low effort wide of Lyness’ right-hand upright.
Salford were on the hunt for further goals and with 29 minutes played Shelton’s pass forward was moved inside from the right by Phenix. There was a sniff of goal for Redshaw but a defender got across to put in a block and the chance was gone.
Nuneaton were still struggling to make an attacking impact but they won a free-kick just inside Salford’s half 13 minutes before the break. Ashton got up to meet it on the edge of the box but the ball ran through to Crocombe before the approaching Ball could get a touch.
Some slight encouragement there for the visitors but any hope of mounting a comeback was effectively snatched away within a further minute. Touray swung in a corner from the right and Maynard timed his run well again, rising on the edge of the 6-yard box to get in another powerful downward header. This time Lyness produced a great blocking save but Touray picked up the loose ball outside the area to keep the pressure on. A short pass to the left found ASKEW in a little space and he responded in fine style, hitting a 20 yarder with the outside of his left foot and the ball was always moving away from Lyness before it dropped an inch inside his right-hand post.
A great strike from an increasingly influential player whose pace and movement had been a real thorn in Nuneaton’s side already.
There was almost an hour of the game left but Salford’s lead - deserved, it has to be said - already had an insurmountable look about it.
Again Boro attempted to dig out a response but once more those neat passing patterns could not be converted into real pressure but seven minutes before the break Scott Burton was yellow carded for a sturdy challenge on Ball. From left-of-centre and almost 30 yards out Joel Dielna weighed up the angles and distance but despite getting his dipping effort on target Crocombe moved to the right before crouching to collect.
Tom Elliot hit the net for Nuneaton on Saturday and could have repeated the feat a minute or so later. A driving run though the inside left channel earned a slice of luck as the ball came back off Carl Piergianni but the subsequent rising drive from the edge of the box cleared the crossbar.
This had been an eminently satisfactory half for the Ammies and they could have finished it off with a 4th goal. A Maynard shot following a corner was blocked and in the last minute Askew darted forward on a slightly left-of-centre run then hit a low shot that Lyness managed to turn around his right-hanf post.
HALF TIME: SALFORD CITY 3 NUNEATON TOWN 0
A very dominant performance from the Ammies so far and they started the second half on the front foot too. In the 50th minute Askew hit a shot from the left into the side-netting. The home side were having virtually all of the possession and 10 minutes after the restart Touray cut inside from the left before slipping a pass to Redshaw whose 15 yarder was charged down by a defender. The ball went loose but Lyness was alert to the danger, smothering the danger just before Phenix could get there.
The next chance wasn’t long in coming, initiated by Shelton whose neat touch outside the area gave Askew the chance to drive his way into the box on a left-of-centre run. It looked as if he would go all the way until Ashton extended a leg to stop the Salford man in his tracks just before he could get in an effort on goal.
A positive contribution from Ashton but his next was less so, cautioned for dragging back Phenix as the Salford man appeared set to break clear. Dielna followed him within a couple of minutes, booked for a crude challenge on Burton that might just have been worthy of a less lenient decision from the referee. Touray had a go from the free-kick, almost 30 yards out and right-of-centre but Lyness got across swiftly to his left where the save was duly made.
Nuneaton made a couple of substitutions in an attempt to drag themselves back into the match but another spell of possession for the visitors failed to crack open a Salford defence that was certainly on top of its collective game. The best that Boro could conjure was a long distance effort from Billy Daniels that skewed yards and yards wide of Crocombe’s left-hand post.
Salford managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley introduced three substitutes of their own as the game entered its final 20 minutes, with Jake Beesley, Dom McHale and Mani Dieseruvwe replacing Askew, Dudley and Redshaw.
The rain-slick surface was not particularly conducive to good football at this stage but Salford had long had the points in the bag. Nuneaton continued to look for a way back in of course but their best late chance came when Daniels whipped in a free-kick from the left and Dielna headed over the bar.
There was a delay to the game as Ashton received treatment after a clash of heads and in the end the Boro defender was replaced by Mitchell Glover. The Ammies pressed forward as the final whistle approached and with 7 minutes left McHale slid a lovely pass into the right-hand side of the box where Beesley pulled a low cross back from almost at the line. Unfortunately for Salford that one went just behind Dieseruvwe in the middle and the score remained at 3-0.
Nottingham was the next to threaten, slipping between two defenders at the right-hand angle of the box only for his clipped cross to drop out beyond the far post.
Nuneaton had struggled in the final third all evening but during the 1st minute of time added on created a golden chance to get onto the scoresheet. A lofted ball into the box fell for Luke Trotman, right-of-centre and bang in front of goal but as he turned the Boro number 7 managed to lift an effort high over the crossbar.
Fittingly the final opportunity of the evening went the way of the home side. Shelton was fouled just outside the area on the left and took the responsibility for the free-kick himself. The decision almost paid dividends as the effort – on his 21st birthday – uncharitably dropped inches over the bar.
FULL TIME: SALFORD CITY 3 NUNEATON TOWN 0
Three good goals, three points and a clean sheet – that enough would make this a case of “job done” as far as Salford City concerned. Nuneaton Town are a decent side but simply could not live with the Ammies during the game’s opening half-hour or so and during that spell the game was effectively decided.
Those spectators who chose to stay at home on a filthy night missed something of a treat as Salford produced a thoroughly professional display that keeps them in second place, trailing leaders Harrogate Town only on goal difference. That opening day defeat versus Darlington seems a million miles away following a run of 8 wins from 10 games and a set of fixtures that seemed daunting just over a month ago has yielded a very impressive haul of points.
This was impressive all-round display and it is so gratifying to see every player contributing more or less equally to the cause. Consistency – as well as raw ability – is the key to winning leagues and the Ammies seem to have clicked into a formidable level of performance that can only improve as the season progresses.
The breakneck start to the league campaign – more than a quarter of the games accounted for before the midpoint of September – relents a little now and next up is a mouth-watering clash with York City in The FA Cup. Another run to the competition proper would be a fantastic bonus for a campaign that is already limbering up to be memorable – In the meantime the players and coaching staff can surely accept a huge pat on the back for progress made so far.
SALFORD CITY (Red/white/white):
1) Max CROCOMBE
2) Michael Nottingham
3) Ibou Touray
4) Scott Burton
5) Carl Piergianni
6) Lois Maynard
7) Anthony Dudley
8) Mark Shelton
9) Mike PHENIX
10) Jack Redshaw
11) Josh ASKEW
12) Liam Hogan
14) Jake Beesley (for ASKEW, 73rd min)
15) Dom McHALE (for DUDLEY, 73rd min)
16) Mani DIESERUVWE (for REDSHAW, 70th min)
17) Tony Aghayere (GK)
NUNEATON TOWN (blue and white stripes/blue/blue):
1) Dean LYNESS
2) Luther WILDIN
3) Joel DIELNA
4) Jon ASHTON
5) Brad GASCOIGNE
6) Niall HEATON
7) Luke TROTMAN
8) Tom ELLIOTT
9) Brady HICKEY
10) Ryan BESWICK (c)
11) Callum BALL
12) Mitchell GLOVER (for ASHTON, 81st min)
14) Billy DANIELS (for BESWICK, 62nd min)
15) Daniel NTI
16) Ashley CHAMBERS (for BALL, 62nd min)
17) Elliott TAYLOR
Booked: Dielna, Ashton
Referee: Mr. Samuel BARROTT
Assistants: Mr. Ian WALSH & Mr. Christopher PORTER