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Match Reports

REPORT | Salford City 3 Rovers 1

18 March 2023

Match Reports

REPORT | Salford City 3 Rovers 1

18 March 2023

Errors were punished as Rovers fell to a 3-1 defeat on their first ever visit to Salford City.

All three of the hosts’ goals came from lapses in concentration as Rovers were punished, with Luke Bolton netting twice and Stevie Mallan once for Salford.

George Miller had equalised for Rovers during what was a competitive first half at the Peninsula Stadium.

But they failed to show the required threat after the break to see the hosts comfortable in their victory on an afternoon where Harrison Biggins and Miller were both forced off with injuries.

Danny Schofield made two changes to the side that started the win over AFC Wimbledon the previous week. Emergency loan signing Stuart Moore replaced Jonathan Mitchell in goal on his debut while Kyle Hurst came into the side in place of Charlie Lakin, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.

The visitors produced the afternoon’s first sign of threat as Louie Barry fired wide from the corner of the box.

There was a frantic nature to the early minutes of the game and Rovers soon produced their first opportunity as Ben Close latched onto a Tommy Rowe throw in only to see his first time strike blocked.

Rovers fell behind 12 minutes into the game. Joseph Olowu was caught on the ball inside his own box by Callum Hendry, who drew out Moore before squaring to Bolton, who lashed into the top corner.

But Rovers responded superbly and were level inside two minutes. Luke Molyneux carried the ball forward before drilling into the box where Miller fired a first time effort home.

Salford produced the better of the opportunities in the remainder of the half. Jason Lowe could not keep his header down as he met an Elliot Watt corner at the near post.

Moore was called into action with a first testing effort midway through the half and responded well, pushing Hendry’s low angled drive onto the far post.

And Moore was involved again soon after as he got down well to hold a low strike from Barry.

Rovers produced some crisp passing play to carry the ball forward but struggled for sight of goal. Charlie Seaman smashed a shot over the bar after moving inside off the right.

The hosts were almost gifted the lead just after the half hour mark when Hendry latched onto a poor clearance but struck over.

Rovers did find themselves behind once more on 38 minutes - and again of their own fault. Mallan found space 30 yards out and smashed a shot on goal that Moore appeared to have covered, only to drop his catch over the line.

Rovers immediately switched to a defensive three in a bid for a change in fortunes. And they were quickly on the front foot with Close flashing a ball across the face of goal.

It was Salford who came out the stronger at the start of the second half and they gave Rovers plenty to think about in the early stages. The danger came from the wide areas with both Barry and Bolton cutting inside and firing wide.

Doncaster-born Salford keeper Alex Cairns was forced to punch away a dangerous delivery from Close with Ben Nelson lurking at the far post. And Olowu powered a header wide from the subsequent corner.

The hosts extended their advantage on 58 minutes. Barry found acres of space in behind the Rovers defence and flashed the ball across the face of goal for Bolton to slot in his second of the game.

Theo Vassell should have further widened the margin when meeting the ball in front of goal but scuffed his attempt to sidefoot home.

Rovers rallied and produced their most sustained period of pressure of the game. Twice Miller was played in behind but each time he was forced wide and the danger was snuffed out.

Substitute Caolan Lavery fired wide with a first time strike after racing onto a Close cross.

But the threat could not be sustained and Salford secured the victory.

Salford: Cairns, Lowe, Vassell, Leak, Touray (McLoughlin 82), Watt, Galbraith (McAleny 88), Bolton, Mallan (Lund 82), Barry (Smith 77), Hendry (Morton 77). Subs not used: Bellagambi, Shephard.

Rovers: Moore, Brown, Olowu, Nelson, Rowe, Close, Biggins (Ravenhill 53), Seaman, Molyneux, Hurst (Lavery 70), G Miller (T Miller 77). Subs not used: Oram, Long, Barlow, Agard.

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