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Shaky Salford City winless in four with Brackley draw

Salford are now without a win in four league games after drawing with Brackley Town 1-1 at Moor Lane on Saturday.

The visitors started the brighter of the two teams, with Steve Diggin opening the scoring, before a Mike Phenix header leveled things up.

Despite pressure from Salford to get a second, the Northamptonshire club held on to draw.

The result keeps Salford and Brackley outside the play-off spots, although either team could have moved into the top five with a win.

After their last three games ending without victory, managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley opted to chance formation; switching to a 4-4-2 with Mike Phenix and Jordan Hulme up front.

Meanwhile Brackley, aiming to catch The Ammies on the counter, lined up in a 4-3-3 with Steve Diggin and Adam Walker operating inside to support Lee Ndlovu.

It was Brackley who got the first break of the game in the opening five minutes, when a clearance fell to Diggin, the forward beat Billy Priestley for pace before squaring to Jimmy Armson in Salford’s penalty area, however the box to box midfielder’s shot was poor and trickled wide.

The visitors went on to open the scoring in bizarre fashion, as Ndlovu went down outside the box, many of the players from both teams assumed referee David McNamara had blown for a free kick, all except Diggin who curled a shot into the bottom left corner past a stationary Jay Lynch.

Despite both teams sharing an equal amount of possession for the rest of the half, the only other action of note was Lee Worley being booked for a bad challenge.

It lack on any clear cut chance forced Salford’s joint managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley to return to the 4-2-4 which overpowered many of the Evo-Stik Premier teams last season.

John Johnston and Richie Allen came on as genuine wingers, replacing Matt Warburton and Craig King.

The changes almost had an instant impact, as a long throw by Michael Nottingham found the head of Mike Phenix, who drove the ball into the ground, but also inches wide.

Phenix however wouldn’t be denied, as moments later a set-piece lead to the target man scoring his first goal in three games, and The Ammies securing an equaliser in the opening ten minutes of the second half.

The Ammies almost took the lead minutes later in the exact same fashion, however a last gasp goal line clearance from Luke Graham denied Salford a 2-1 lead.

Headers from set-pieces were becoming a major problem for Brackley, with Worley and Priestley adding another two from Salford corners in the space of a minuite, as the visitors struggled to cling on to a potential point.

After that brief moment Salford put Brackley under siege, their play became much less fluid, as misplaced and mistimes passes denied The Ammies multiple goalscoring opportunities.

That didn’t stop Richie Allen having the best chance of the last half hour though, with the winger having a blast from 30 yards out; a thunderbolt strike that went just over the bar.

Salford once again take a break from league football in their next fixture, as they play Stockport County in the FA Cup third qualifying round next..

Salford City (4-4-2): Lynch, Nottingham, O’Halloran © (Hine’ 90), Burton, Worley, Priestley, King (Johnston ‘45), Walker, Phenix, Warburton (Allen ‘45), Hulme.

Subs not used: Wellens, Barnes.

Booked: Worley ‘35

Brackley Town (4-3-3): Walker, Myles, Gudger, Byrne, Graham, Dean ©, Walker, Armson (Lowe ‘74), Ndlovu (Moyo ‘62), Diggin (Pitt ‘74), Walker.

Subs not used: Dias, Lowe, Bowen.

Referee: David McNamara (Lancashire)

Attendance: 1072

Main image: @SalfordCityFC

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Oliver is an aspiring young journalist currently studying at Salford University. He covers non league football and local politics for multiple outlets.