Salford (A) Match Report

Salford City v Tranmere Rovers – Match Report

@Peninsula Stadium

English Football League Two

Saturday 10th October 2020

Mike Jackson’s men show that their qualities stretch to the characters that they are, in an amazing comeback to equalise against league title candidates Salford City despite the squad being affected by COVID-19. 

Murphy – nelson clarke ellis monthe – morris spearing lewis khan – burton woolery

kyle hayde, danny walker-rice, george nugent, ethan gouldbourne, jamie timlin 

A very peculiar team line-up, one that no Tranmere supporter would have predicted. The line-up saw a great number of academy products involved as the news broke that there had been an outburst of the global pandemic through the squad. The story of today’s game is one of much more than the scoreline, Tranmere’s story this season is certainly one that will hopefully hurt the EFL.

The game started evenly, the Tranmere side aimed to show their attacking quality ‘from the off’ but it was their defensive quality that was soon questioned as their hosts opened the scoring in the opening three minutes. Ritchie Towell’s shot deflected over goalkeeper Joe Murphy and went into his net. Otis Khan soon searched for a response, as he broke through the Salford defence but saw his shot beaten away by ‘the ammies’ keeper. The fast forward was booked quickly after for what looked like a good sliding tackle on Touray.The next attack was that of the host’s as Tranmere goalkeeper Murphy parried away Hunter’s curling effort from the left. Ellis nearly evened the scoreline as he met Khan’s corner at the back post but his header was blocked and scrambled away. The next period of attacking domination was Salford’s, Tranmere midfielder Jay Spearing came across well to block Golden’s cross as he got into the box just before former Manchester United striker James Wilson doubled the hosts lead. The striker was able to find the top corner from the edge of the box. There was nearly an instant response from Tranmere after the host’s second goal of the afternoon. The ball dropped to central defender Mark Ellis in the box but his powerful volley was blocked. Khan soon tried to thread a ball through to Woolery but opposition goalkeeper Hladky was off his line to claim. Woolery was again in action when Clarke aimed to find Woolery over the top but he couldn’t quite beat Touray to it. Midfielder Paul Lewis soon tried his luck from 25 yards but his shot whistled past the post. The first Tranmere substitution of the afternoon saw an academy product replace another as winger Danny Walker-Rice came on for stiker Jake Burton. The young striker excelled throughout the first half yet this substitution was done for a strong and successful tactical purpose. The first half soon finished without much further action, the hosts leading 2-0.

In my opinion, we had performed well yet the inability to play ‘proper’ full-backs was clearly affecting our performance. Salford’s first goal, Murphy couldn’t do much about as he had dived before the ball took a deflection which helped it end up in the back of the net. For the second goal, Murphy again couldn’t do much about it as it was a beautiful strike from the Salford goalscorer. The midfield and frontmen played well, Jake Burton looks like a very promising young forward as he raced into areas that the Salford defenders were able to affect and Kaiyne Woolery also managed to impress. 

First half general statistics: Possession – 48.3%   Total shots – 7   On target – 1   Clear-cut chances – 0   Successful crosses – 2/8   Successful dribbles – 2/2   Corners – 2   Offsides – 2

Tranmere’s defence again had their character strength challenged with another period of domination by the Salford attackers. Towell’s powerful shot from distance was blocked by the head of Ellis before Salford man Hunter’s dangerous cross was volleyed away by Rovers centre-half veteran Peter Clarke. However, Tranmere would soon go on to dominate the game, with many attacking chances beautifully carved out as the defence stayed strong. Kaiyne Woolery broke into the Salford box but his run was judged to be offside. Manny Monthe beat his man down the left but sliced his cross behind for a goal kick. Khan’s free kick from the edge of the box dipped over the bar. Walker-Rice cut inside but his cross was unable to pick out a Rovers shirt in the box. Khan chipped a ball towards Clarke who saw his downward header saved. Khan’s corner dropped to Monthe in the box who attempted an overhead, the ball ended up firing over the bar. Lewis soon got his head to a long ball into the box but was unable to trouble the keeper. It was in the final ten minutes that Rovers had their best chance of the afternoon, Ellis was able to meet a wonderful cross from forward Otis Khan to the back post with his head but the keeper managed to save. After dominating, Tranmere soon found their breakthrough. An unbelievable strike from Kieron Morris in the final five minutes from 25 yards out, his strike was able to fire past the Salford goalkeeper and reach the top corner. Tranmere weren’t finished yet and the quality that the team had shown throughout the game certainly deserved more. Scenes of delirium came in the last minute of stoppage time, Tranmere had searched and fought for another after opening their half of the scoreline. The Salford defence were unable to clear their lines in their box and the ball soon fell to Paul Lewis who struck home from close range to send the Tranmere players and the supporters,watching at home, into a state of delirium. The performance had deserved at least a point, they wanted more but didn’t manage to score another as the final whistle soon blew.

Full time … result: Salford City 2 Tranmere Rovers 2 

A brilliant point for Tranmere on the road, as their showing of strong character and high quality continues their unbeaten away record in the league. In my opinion, and in the opinion of many others, that was an amazing performance ‘from the off’ by the Tranmere team. The defence kept strong all game, despite the opening two goals which came in the first twenty, the midfield helped the defence and was able to create many wonderfully carved out chances and the forwards who played ran the Salford defensive line ragged all game in the search for goals. A very pleasing afternoon for the Tranmere faithful and the players who had worked extremely hard.

General statistics – overall: Possession 48.9%, Total shots 16, On target 5, Clear-cut chances 0, Successful crosses 7/18, Successful dribbles 4/6, Corners 4, Offsides 6.

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  1. Thanks. Much appreciated. I think we’ll hear a lot more about the Covid politics in the weeks to come.

    1. Thank you, it’s been an eventful week with COVID and the ‘project big picture’

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