Salford City 2-0 Darlington
Goals in either half saw Salford City stun Darlington in a feisty encounter at Moor Lane, which also saw Darlington end the game with 9 men and manager Martin Gray and his assistant sent to the stands.
Darlington’s big money signing Nathan Cartman was hoping to add to his impressive goal tally so far this season, which also includes four against Salford whilst at Harrogate Railway, and he could have quite easily been playing against Darlington had new managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley decided on a second bid after Salford had already had one offer rejected before they took charge.
Instead the new management duo signed Jordan Hulme and Phil Dean from their old club Ramsbottom United and both were instrumental in Salford’s 2-0 victory.
The game started brightly, just like the winter sun that shone over Moor Lane. Half chances for either side in the opening minutes without really threatening the opposing keepers along with some meaty challenges setting the early tone.
Darlington’s best efforts coming from Cartman, while Seddon and Webber were both off Target for Salford.
Jay Lynch returning in the Salford goal after over 3 months out through injury had a lucky escape midway through the first half as he slipped with Nathan Cartman bearing down on his goal, as he regained his footing he appeared to foul the Darlington striker, and after consulting with his linesman Lynch received a yellow card from the referee and Darlington were awarded a free-kick just outside the area.
Just after the half hour mark Salford got the all important breakthrough. Man of the match Phil Dean received a Gaz Seddon flick on and his pin point cross found Danny Webber unmarked at the far post, where he had enough time to take a touch before finishing past Peter Jameson in the Darlington goal.
Webber strokes home to put Salford 1-0 up.
The second half was a much tighter affair with both teams knowing the next goal was crucial.
Darlington were a threat from set-pieces but didn’t really offer much else as they searched for an equaliser, and the job was made more difficult when Alan White was dismissed on the hour mark as he received a second yellow for foul and abusive language.
Although now comfortable with the lead and a man advantage, Salford couldn’t kill the game off.
It took till the introduction of Matt Chadwick on 75 minutes to spark The Ammies back into life as he, Phil Dean and Webber all came close, while Gaz Seddon had his header ruled out for offside.
Seddon sees his header ruled out for offside!
With the 90 minutes almost up Salford made a double change which saw the introduction of top scorer Sam Madeley, and ultimately it was he who killed the game and made sure of the 3 points for Salford in injury time. Dean again the provider, crossing the ball across the six yard box leaving Madeley a simple tap in.
There was time for more drama as Darlington sub Adam Mitchell saw red in the aftermath of Salford’s celebrations for what one must presume was more obscene language to the referee.
Salford took the 3 points and return to the top of the NPL First Division North, and although the game was hardly a title decider in January, it goes someway to showing Salford’s credentials.
Darlington remain third, but with 5 games in hand and only six points behind, you’d have to think it is there’s to lose.
Full album set on Flickr here: https://flickr.com/photos/107678360@N03/sets/72157650160513919