Match 53
12th March 2022
Salford City (h)

Exeter City 0 Salford City 0

George Barnes reports:-
A damp afternoon at SJP ended in a goalless draw with City having to settle for the one point in an entertaining encounter.

The first half presented chances for both sides, with the visitors rattling the woodwork twice in the opening fifteen minutes. The Grecians came into the match after a nervy start, creating chances to threaten the Ammies defence. The home side took their earlier momentum into the second period, with promising crosses from wing backs Josh Key and Jack Sparkes troubling the Salford defence. Despite the best efforts of the Grecians, a dominant second half failed to find the back of the net.

Matt Taylor opted for the experienced centre-back Alex Hartridge as a result of Jonathon Grounds injury against Swindon Town on Tuesday night. The first chance of note came in the 4th minute for the in-form Jevani Brown following a troubling long ball into the box from Hartridge, firing over from with an awkward half-volley effort. Both teams applied pressure for the opening ten minutes with Salford having the majority of possession. An early opportunity for the opponents came through Matty Lund, who rattled the crossbar with a towering header following a cross from the left. After a short stoppage in play, another significant chance fell to Salford. This time it was defender Theo Vassel hitting the right post following a corner from the same side. A shift in momentum saw the Grecians with a couple of corners of their own. After initially playing the ball short, the ball worked its way to Jack Sparkes just outside the box, whose low driven effort tested the reactions of Salford keeper Tom King. By the 25th minute momentum had turned in favour of Matt Taylor’s side with multiple crosses from both sides testing the Salford back line. The Ammies were able to finally break away on the 27th minute as some quick feet from Ryan Watson allowed the winger to break free of Josh Key and produce a teasing cross but only finding the empty space, resulting in a goal kick for Cam Dawson. On the 29th minute, Sam Nombe went down fell to the ground after picking up a knock. The striker was quickly replaced by the on-loan target man Oz Zanzala. The following ten minutes saw the hosts stay firmly on top. However, the Salford defence were proving stubborn to break down with continuous corners and crosses proving ineffective. After a second short stoppage in play, the first minute of added on time saw Sparkes produce a dangerous cross but falling at an awkward height for Jevani as his volley fired wide of the target. A positive start to the second half saw Josh Key work a low cross into the path of Zanzala, but King once again was able to deal with the danger. Sparkes’ presence down the left-hand side was starting to produce problems for Salford after ten minutes of the second period, as a ball towards the back post found Brown before finding its way to Tim Dieng in the middle of the box. The midfielders ambitious bicycle kick from close range failed to find the target. After a quiet spell of possession for the Grecians, some promising play down the right-hand side found Key whose cross found Dieng in acres of space in the centre of the box, unfortunately for City only finding the grateful gloves of King. A dominant second half display from City was creating multiple chances for the Grecians with Josh Key finding Matt Jay from another dangerous cross, although once again unable to trouble the Salford defence. As City continued to press for a late winner, Brown was able to break clear of the Salford pressure to produce a low curling effort in the direction of the right post, out frustratingly for City barely testing the Salford shot stopper. The 89th minute saw referee Andy Woolmer award a rare free-kick to the Grecians on the left side of the box with Jack Sparkes whipping in a teasing ball to the far post, but some outstretched City legs were unable to connect with the promising delivery.

Exeter City: Dawson, Sparkes, Stubbs, Sweeney, Hartridge, Key, Collins, Dieng, Jay ©, J. Brown (Coley 86’), Nombe (Zanzala 31’)

Subs: S. Brown, Diabate, Caprice, Taylor, Zanzala, Coley, Phillips

Salford City: King, Vassell, Ndaba, Turnball, Shepherd (Bolton 44’), Watson, Smith (Hunter 81’), Lund, Lowe, Kelly, Thomas-Asante

Subs: Torrance, Love, Golden, Bolton, Loughlin, Touray, Hunter

Attendance: 5,775 (90 away)

Related Resources



Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>