Salford City’s pre-season campaign got underway last night as they went up against National League side, Woking.
In what looked like a game that was about to be called off due to the weather causing the pitch to be partially flooded, the Ammies were definitely tested.
Preseason friendlies are put in place to warm players up, get everyone back into the swing of things and show to the management and coaching staff which players deserve a chance in league football. This game gave fans a chance to see Salford’s summer signings, Richie Towell, Oscar Threlkeld, Joey Jones and Dan Jones in action.
Upon arrival at the Peninsula Stadium, the grounds staff were working hard to clear the pitch in order for the game to go ahead. Fans were told that refunds would be available if the friendly couldn’t go ahead. Finally, confirmation was given that the match would go ahead, only 45 minutes later than planned and kick-off finally got underway at 8.15pm.
Three minutes was all fans had to wait to see a chance created for Salford, as a cross from Tom Walker tried to find Threlkeld and Jake Beesley, unfortunately, either failed to make a connection. Nearly ten minutes later, Danny Lloyd nearly finds the back of the net twice and narrowly misses again. It was a promising start for Graham Alexander’s side.
Woking started to get back into the game slowly and had their first chance after 16 minutes. After a series of back and forth, Woking’s Ben Gerring hammers in the opening goal of the match as Chris Neal fails to clear the ball.
It was in the 26th minute when the Ammies managed to get back into the game as new signing, Richie Towell got his shot to shimmy past a defender and land in the top right of the net. This was the Salford fans wanted to see. Shortly after, another newbie, Joey Jones ended up in a nasty clash. Resulting in him having to leave the pitch and go straight down the tunnel for assistance.
There was then some delightful skill from Towell who seemed to have a good game. He managed to get past three players and find Beesley, who’s shot was, unfortunately, rebounded off the keeper to find Adam Rooney but the ball is smothered by the keeper again.
Going into the second half
Woking made it extremely hard for the Ammies to get forward and it was more like a game of headers and volleys in the first half. Half time came around and it was time for Graham Alexander to make a few changes. There was a player on trial last night who’s efforts came to an end as he was substituted for Danny Whitehead.
This didn’t make too much of a difference however as the 52nd minute came around, and Dave Tarpey of Woking managed to take the ball around Neal in a one on one engagement and find the back of the net putting Salford 2-1 down.
A couple more pushes from the Ammies came after the goal and in the 58th minute, a handball from Woking resulted in a free-kick that Richie Towell stepped up to take. The shot went too high and missed which annoyed a few fans who could clearly see Oscar Threlkeld stood on the edge of the box, unmarked, completely clear and onside who was ignored.
Mark Shelton replaced Towell and almost ten minutes later in a moment of desperation, Graham Alexander took off, Nathan Pond, Threlkeld, Walker, Beesley, Rooney, Dan Jones and Danny Lloyd. They were replaced with Wiseman, Touray, Hogan, Dieseruvwe, Rodney, Gaffney and Doyle. These players managed to create the odd bursts of energy although Woking’s efforts kept them away from goal as Paul Hodges slotted the ball past Neal for a third.
Salford still need some fine-tuning
It was a disappointing night for the Ammies. A lot of fans walked out early, probably to shelter from the rain. Even though Alexander’s side suffered a 3-1 loss, this is only preseason and a chance to try different things. Having three new signings in a starting line up is always a risk as you can’t predict how they’re going to perform together.
Hopefully, Tuesday night’s friendly against Middlesbrough will see Salford’s team look a little tighter. There were some really good bursts of football in the match. I think the team just needs to be put together a little bit better now that management has an idea of what’s working.