Sunday, 3 April 2016

Salford City - Industry, Integrity and Different Gravy

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Saturday 2 April 2016 at Moor Lane
Salford City 5 Grantham Town 0
Northern Premier League (Step 3)
Ground 583, my first match of 2016 (work reasons) and chosen for convenience from my hoppriority list of ten unvisited Step 3 grounds because I am in the area for other reasons.
Pre-match preparation
I have been paying just enough attention in recent months to notice that Salford are having a good season, and had a decent FA Cup run with TV exposure too.  They are now in a good position to make the playoffs.  One of the co-owners, a certain Gary Neville, may be at a loose end this weekend after leaving Valencia.  This game might not be as easy as the league table suggests as 3rd play 14th.  Salford have won five and drawn one of their last seven league games, and have not conceded a goal in four.  Grantham are unbeaten in their last eight, and have five odd-goal wins and three draws.  I am expecting a competitive, close encounter rather than a one-sided goalfest.
This match in one sentence
A one-sided goalfest.
So what?
The title remains a mathematical possibility but that will probably go to either Blyth or Darlington, depending on the latter’s games in hand.  Salford’s playoff place is in their own hands now with four games to go as they sit 3rd. Grantham look to be safe in mid-table, remaining 14th today,
The drama unfolds
14 mins: a cross from the right-wing was only partly cleared and the ball fell nicely for James Poole who finished beautifully from the 18-yard line.  1-0

27 mins: the hosts doubled their lead with an even better goal from Danny Webber, who curled a right-footer beyond the reach of the Grantham keeper Jake Turner.  2-0
37 mins: the first real chance of note for Grantham Town but Jay Lynch made the block save at his near post – a goal there might just have changed the game.  2-0 at half-time
51 mins: a good tip-over-the-bar save from Turner as Salford continued to threaten.
67 mins: Turner makes two saves in quick succession but eventually pressure led to a brave headed goal by Jordan Hulme.  3-0
79 mins: Grantham were not coping with Salford’s one-touch play in an around the box and another teasing right-wing cross was headed home by Hulme.  4-0
87 mins:  Salford were in no mood for scoring scruffy goals and sub Evan Gumbs fires a grasscutter from distance into the corner.  5-0
This was a very impressive performance from Salford.  Hulme was denied his hat-trick first by Turner then by the post in stoppage time.  Grantham’s day was worsened by a late injury to Lee Shaw which looked like it ended in a visit to hospital.  Final score 5-0
Ground Pix
Forget everything that we thought we knew about Northern Powerhouse economics.  With a price structure like this we should all be selling the Bolivian zinc and investing in the Northern Gravy futures market.

Match Pix

Something You Don’t Get in the Premier League
I can only assume that this is traditional solid Northern careers advice for any youngsters tempted by a move to that London town:

Goalkeeper Top Colour Stats
Blue beats purple and has a clean sheet too.  Updated points table at some unspecified point in the future!
What Next?
Watch @GrahamYapp on Twitter for details!  I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed my first game of 2016.  One day I will restore some work-life balance and pick up the random groundhopping trail again.

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