Salford City continued their unbeaten start to life in the National League North with a convincing 4-0 win over Stalybridge.
The Ammies were in control from start to finish and met only marginal resistance from the Celtic’s defence.
But the game was mired in controversy in its closing stages as a Salford tackle lead to confrontation from the two teams, with Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley well out of their technical area whilst both teams crowded the referee.
The Ammies controlled the opening 10 minutes and were mere inches from the line.
A low cross found Phenix in the box who blasted a shot that looked destined to end up in the bottom left corner, however a desperate clearance on the line from the Stalybridge defender kept the ball from going over the line.
Stalybridge had a chance of their own on a quick counter-attack seconds later, but striker Henoc Mukendi blasted his shot well wide.
Phoenix’s second shot of the game came on 12 minutes as he drifted wide before cutting in and beating Peter Wylie, but his shot couldn’t test George Willis.
Salford’s next chance came after 20 minutes through James Poole.
Receiving a long throw from Michael Nottingham, the former Macclesfield attacker fired a thunderbolt shot from 25 yards that went only just wide.
The Celtic had the best chance of the half through Jimmy Ball. A Stalybridge long throw found the midfielder in the box; his powerful header had Lynch well beat, but clattered against the crossbar.
A charging Willis though almost cost Staly their first goal of the game, after Salford launched a devilish counter attack.
The goalkeeper went far out of his box, but was less Manuel Neuer, more Manuel from Fawlty Towers, as Poole ghosted past him to see the ball stopped by Kristian Platt on the line again.
Eventually though the deadlock was broken, a short corner from Nottingham fell to Mike Phenix who blasted his shot into the top right corner, a shot that was impossible for Willis to stop.
Salford got their second of the game through Matthew Warburton who picked up the ball outside Staly’s box before firing off a beautiful outside of the boot shot that not even a world class goalkeeper could stop.
Two minutes later and Salford scored again to kill off any chance of a Stalybridge comeback, this time through James Poole who drifted past the centre backs before side-footing his shot into the bottom corner.
Stalybridge continued to have a miserable afternoon when they conceded a penalty near the 70 minute mark.
James Poole was clear on goal when Nick Ryan took his feet away and the referee had no choice to point to the spot.
Sam Walker converted the chance as Willis got down well but couldn’t prevent it from going in.
Salford will next be in action on Tuesday night when they meet FC United of Manchester at Moor Lane.
Salford (4-3-3): Lynch, Nottingham (Clark ‘72), O’Halloran, Burton, Grand (c), Priestly, Warburton, Walker, Phenix (Allen ‘74), Poole, Hulme (King ‘74)
Subs not used: Barnes, Johnston.
Stalybridge Celtic (4-3-3): Willis, Wylie, Wisdom, Hughes (c), Ryan, Platt, Pilkington (Sherlock 79), Ball (Shaw ‘76), Farrell, Bagshaw (Owens ‘45), Mukendi
Subs not used: Tames, Lattany
Referee: Mr B Khabib (County Durham)
All images by @SalfordFCPhotos/Charlotte Tattersall