After going to watch Salford City take on Woking on Friday night. I had to return to see them face Championship side, Middlesbrough last night.
Friday night’s match didn’t look like it would go ahead as the rain kept coming down, however, after the weather calmed down, it did go ahead. Unfortunately, Salford lost 3-1. This game was completely opposite in terms of the weather as the heat meant the teams had to take water breaks. Salford also got a chance to show off their new white kit as opposed to their usual home colour, red. There was also a lot more fans at this game as they anticipated the opposition, Championship club, Boro’.
As we know, friendlies are used to give as many players as possible the chance to warm up before the season starts and this was no different. One of the biggest changes came in keepers as Kyle Letheren started the game.
Middlesbrough opened up the game with a series of chances and they looked impressive, they just couldn’t find the back of the net.
At the 10 minute mark, Richie Towell stood out for me again as he created Salford’s first chance of the game. It, unfortunately, went a couple of yards in front of Mani Dieseruvwe which put it out of his reach.
20 minutes in and a Mark Shelton corner found Liam Hogan who managed to head the ball into the middle, and find Louis Maynard who headed it home. Salford was 1-0 ahead and fans were happy with their team’s performance so far.
The Ammies didn’t give much away as they deserved to be on top. New keeper, Kyle Letheren was given a chance to shine in the 23rd minute. Middlesbrough player, Ashley Fletcher, received the ball at the top of the area and was denied by a fantastic first save from Letheren. He blocked another shot immediately from Assombalonga, even though he was offside. This also resulted in Salford fans singing, “Championship, you’re havin’ a laugh,” which probably came too soon.
The drinks break was exactly what Boro’ needed as a few minutes later, as they won a free-kick. It was taken quickly, a cross from Marvin Johnson came in from the right, and Assombalonga’s header found the back of the net with a header.
With two minutes to half time, they created a chance as their equaliser inspired them to push for another. After a big push forward, in the 45th minute, the Ammies thought they’d taken the Championship club to the halfway point at a draw. Unfortunately, Britt Assombalonga’s powerful volley found the back of the net again. It was a fantastic goal that even the Salford fans clapped along with.
Going into the second half, Graham Alexander made a couple of changes. Mark Shelton and Kyle Letheren’s chances were up as they were replaced by Joey Jones and Chris Neal.
It took a while for the half to get going with the subs and both teams were head to head.
This didn’t throw Boro’ off their game as the 66th minute came around, and another brilliant goal from Britt Assombalonga completed his hat trick. This 3rd goal caused the Ammies to shake up their side again as fans were becoming frustrated.
The starting eleven that were struggling to pass before were now replaced, with a team of players who were creating great passes and skill, Threlkeld especially for me. The 89th minute saw Salford push for a second goal with Rooney on the ball, he went straight for goal instead of passing, even though Tom Walker was stood in a perfect position, unmarked and screaming for the ball. Walker ended up punching the ground in frustration as the fans were screaming.
There were a few scrambled chances before the final whistle, however, Salford ended up losing 3-1 again.
Salford looked a lot stronger and you have to credit their efforts seeings as they were playing a Championship club. They’ll need to tighten up their defence and passing ability before the start of the season. Some positives, however, Ritchie Towell looks really promising. He scored against Woking and tried to win every ball in this game too. He’ll be one to watch.