Salford City kept up the pressure on leaders AFC Fylde as they edged a 1-0 win over languishing Stalybridge Celtic in the Vanarama National League North on Saturday.
The Ammies lost 3-2 to Gloucester City last weekend and were looking to reclaim second spot from rivals Kidderminster Harriers.
AS IT STANDS | We move up to 2nd in the league table after the 1-0 against Stalybridge Celtic! pic.twitter.com/mr8Gdo1ovy
— Salford City FC (@SalfordCityFC) February 18, 2017
The first ten minutes of the game offered very little for both teams.
An attack by Salford forward Mike Phenix nearly broke the deadlock on 11 minutes but Stalybridge goalkeeper Grant Shenton was first to the ball and scooped it up.
Stalybridge were next to attack and on 13 minutes found themselves deep in the Salford half.
Forward Daniel Wilkins launched a shot at the Salford goal which was only just tipped over by goalkeeper Jay Lynch.
The Celts were back on the attack soon after and on 24 minutes forward Daniel Pilkington was two on one with keeper Lynch.
The attack was quelled however as defender Scott Burton tracked back and made a goal saving tackle.
The half-hour mark saw a rejuvenated Stalybridge put Salford on the backfoot.
After a piece of shoddy defending from the Ammies, a header by Stalybridge midfielder Gary Gee just went past the post in what should have been a definite goal.
The rest of the first half offered little more for the paying faithful to digest and was played out mostly in the midfield.
A cross from Jordan Hulme was almost converted by a volley by forward Mike Phenix, but the shot went wide.
With both teams needing a victory to push forward their chances of promotion and survival respectively the second-half began at a higher tempo.
Stalybridge were first to have a chance – on 47 minutes they won a free-kick just outside the box, but the shot by Kieran Dunbar was pushed over the bar by Jay Lynch in goal.
The deadlock was eventually broken on 53 minutes however.
A scramble inside the Stalybridge box resulted in Phenix getting a foot to the ball and jabbing it home to put the Ammies in front – and a wild Salford faithful reacted in raucous fashion.
From there on in Salford seemed to take more control of the game.
They continued to hold the ball in the Stalybridge half and gave the opposition no way out.
On 68 minutes, acclaimed forward James Poole made his entrance into the game and instantly breathed new life into it.
The forward, known to be one of the main figureheads behind Salford’s successful promotion effort last year, received a warm welcome by the Ammies fans.
But this wouldn’t last for long as less than 15 minutes later the forward would be substituted again after picking up a knock.
He was substituted for Sam Walker, but it only seemed like a slight knock and no doubt the striker will hope to be back very soon.
After a very uneventful game the full time whistle blew and signified yet another win for the Ammies.
The result sees Saflord move back into second place in the league on goal difference.
It takes them one step closer to to the play offs nd perhaps yet another promotion.
Jay Lynch, Michael Nottingham, Patrick Brough, Scott Burton, Simon Grand ©, Billy Priestley, Jordan Hulme, Brad Barnes, Mike Phenix, George Green, Josh Hine
Subs: Steve Howson, Nick Haughton, Richie Allen, James Poole
Grant Shenton, Danny Morton, Daniel Wisdom, Matthew Hughes, Fraser Horsfall, Aaron Chalmers, Kieran Dunbar, Gary Gee, Rio Ahmadi, Daniel Wilkins, Daniel Pilkington
Keano Deacon, Lee Gaskell, Darren McKnight, Kristian Platt, Mathias Bakare
Referee – Peter Gibbons
Corners – 4 Salford 3 Stalybridge