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Salford City can take positives away from defeat

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.

First Half

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.

Second Half

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.

Three players that have to start tonight for Salford City against Middlesbrough

Salford City will face Championship side Middlesbrough in their toughest game of pre-season.

It is likely that a strong side will be playing against Middlesbrough tonight, as Salford have rotated heavily in previous pre-season games.

Salford’s biggest season as a football club is around the corner. It is important for Alexander to nail down his tactics within the squad and iron out any issues. Against Woking, Salford struggled tremendously defending set-pieces but looked brutal on the counter-attack and around the box. It is clear that Salford is great on the attack, but need work done in the defence in order to cope in League Two.

Their last match was at home, against Woking. Salford City suffered a 3-1 defeat despite looking the better outfit throughout the game.

Three players, in particular, stood out for Salford City and should feature against Middlebrough as manager Graham Alexander looks to settle on his best eleven…

Richie Towell

In the game against Woking, new signing Richie Towell ran the centre of midfield and was the stand-out player all game. He even bagged Salford’s only goal with a brilliant strike. His high work rate and quality will be important the Salford City this season and is likely to play against Middlesbrough.

Emmanuel Dieseruvwe

In Salford’s 3-1 defeat to Woking, their forwards faced two towering defenders. The height difference made it very difficult for the Ammies to challenge in the box. Dieseruvwe himself stands at 6ft 4 and was much more of a threat against Woking’s big defence.

Danny Lloyd

Lloyd’s low centre of gravity and fantastic close control makes him a fantastic attacking-midfielder for Salford City. The number 10 is constantly finding pockets of space and relaying the ball to his teammates. He is crucial to the way Salford attack. In a game against Middlesbrough, Lloyd can truly test himself against a Championship side.

Salford’s biggest season as a football club is around the corner. It is important for Alexander to nail down his tactics within the squad and iron out any issues. Against Woking, Salford struggled tremendously defending set-pieces but looked brutal on the counter-attack and around the box. It is clear that Salford is great on the attack, but need work done in the defence in order to cope in League Two.

3 players that should use pre-season to impress for Salford City

As Salford City head into their new and exciting League Two campaign. The Football Manc Cave have selected three players who will be aiming to impress before the season starts.

Graham Alexander’s team managed to secure promotion from the National League to League Two at the end of last season via the playoffs. I think it’s safe to say that all of the team, including new signings, will all be out to impress and aim for another promotion.

Salford won a pre-season friendly 4-0 this week against SAK 1914. There’s been no confirmation of goal scorers yet, although newly signed players have been seen with the squad.

With that in mind, here are 3 players that will want to show they can step up and prove, that they’re worth taking a chance on this coming season.

Oscar Threlkeld

The Bolton born man spent a lot of his career shuffling between Bolton Wanderers and Plymouth Argyle. He’s only signed for the Ammies this summer and fans are excited to see him in action. Threlkeld will be looking to break into the squad as soon as possible. He’s very versatile, as he’s a known midfielder who can also play in defensive positions. I think he’ll make a big impact on fans and the team next season.

Joey Jones

Previously being a part of Arsenal, Leicester City, Yeovil Town, Woking Town and Eastleigh. The 25-year-old will be looking to make an impression. Salford hasn’t been strangers to signing players this summer, so he will have a fight in his hands if he wants to get games. If he can get the chance to prove that he is worth being in the Salford defence, he will want to go all out as he’s been subject to a lot of free transfers over the years.

Mani Dieseruvwe

A player who has been in the squad for a few years now. He broke into the squad last season in the team’s campaign to win promotion. I imagine he will now be hungry to prove that he’s worth a shot, whether it be bringing him off the bench in desperate times or starting him. Salford had another friendly with Atherton recently, where Dieseruvwe scored the only goal of the game. I think he’s trying his best to put his name out there already.

How Salford City’s starting 11 could look like against Stevenage Boro

Salford City gave an insight to their new line up and strategies going into their new season after beginning their pre-season games.

Salford City recently enjoyed a 1-0 victory over Atherton Collieries in a pre-season game where they alternated the squad heavily throughout.

New signings Dan Jones and Richie Towell made their first Salford City appearances, and Towell enjoyed a high energy game where he played a vital role in the centre of midfield, possibly beginning to cement his place in future first-team selections.

The 6ft 5″ powerhouse Mani Dieseruvwe cemented the win for Salford City with a late strike, proving how clinical he can be in front of goal.

With regards to recent performances and recent transfers, what could Salford City’s line up look like going into their first ever season in the EFL League Two, see below…

In a 3-4-3 formation, it allows the solid centre backs to guard the goal. Whilst the talented full backs Touray and Threlkeld whip up and down the wings, providing crosses for Dieseruvwe with the goal getting a duo of Rooney and Gaffney hang around the edge of the box looking for loose balls or knock-ons.

Touray and Threlkeld’s attacking abilities can make the difference between Salford City and their competition, Touray’s first season with Salford saw him assert his place as first choice left-back. Chipping in with the most assists in the team, nine. Salford then went on to win the National League North.

High energy midfielders Towell and Joey Jones can support both the attack and defence throughout the game, and as the squad have depth in these positions. They can always bring in other midfield talents off the bench, such as Whitehead and Glynn. Maynard can also perform in this role.

The forward three would allow more movement and a more exotic display of football, which would shock any League Two teams that may see Salford City as an easy 3 points.

Salford City in The National League…Completed It Mate

Salford City were on the verge of club history, and well ahead of their projected league status as they entertained AFC Fylde in the National League Play-Off final at Wembley.

Having overseen three promotions in an amazing four seasons, many would have backed Salford to make it a fourth and second on the bounce into League Two. The opposition had been going great guns in the league, however, do have the distraction of the FA Trophy final back at Wembley next weekend.

The Ammies crowd outnumbered, outsang and nearly outfought the security, as they looked to drink up every second of the biggest game in their 79-year history. There was plenty of noise made by the Salford lot and you could feel the anticipation amongst the crowd.

Salford dominated from start to finish, with Fylde not really causing much concern for Graham Alexander’s backline. The early pressure paid off when a free kick bounced off a couple of Fylde players and, landed at the feet of the Mani Dieseruvwe, the striker duly put it away from around 8 yards out.

The men in yellow and black staged a little fightback, going close on a couple of occasions but nothing to nail-biting in all fairness.

Half time whistle went and Salford went in the happier, the crowd moved a little towards the centre of the goal as they looked to suck the ball in for that second goal, the goal that could really settle the nerves.

Up stepped Carl Piergianni with a bullet header from a corner, the Salford crowd erupted and chants of ‘Salford’s going up’ rang around the stand. Every time, I’ve watched Piergianni this season he has impressed me, he looks like a player that may be in demand once he gets in the spotlight of league football. Salford have got a proper defender there, and one that is always down for the cause.

With still over thirty minutes left of the match to play, Salford put themselves in easy mode and cruised to the final whistle. Things got a little bit more celebratory on the hour mark when Ibou Touray, was left to wander down his left flank from inside his own half to the 18-yard box. He put in one of his trademark crosses but surprised everyone, including himself by finding the far corner of the goal and it bouncing in off the post to settle the tie at 3-0.

A lot can be said for Salford meteoric rise through the non-league divisions since the class of 92 took over. However, what you can’t fault is the player’s effort and commitment to keep Salford striving forward.

This really is a fairytale, Roy of the rovers type stuff, and one that certainly grabs the imagination. I can predict a few disgruntled League Two fans next year when Salford hog the limelight, and it will certainly be a scalp most teams will want to add to their bow.

However, Salford has to be applauded for the way it’s run, and the setup behind the scenes. As we have seen so much this season with badly run clubs near falling out of the league, Salford has the chance, and fair play they’re taking it with both hands.