An Adam Rooney hat-trick inspired Salford to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Aldershot Town at the Peninsula Stadium, as the Ammies climbed to second in the National League.
Rooney scored twice at either end of the first half and converted a second half penalty to make it 4-0 after Rory Gaffney poked home for Salford’s third.
His manager Graham Alexander was delighted with the striker’s performance.
Alexander said: “He has a great mentality and a great attitude and always works hard for the team.
“We know we’ve got a quality goalscorer, and while he was missing out, Rory (Gaffney) picked up the slack and scored five in four games. We are getting a healthy return from our strike partnership.”
The victory means Salford climb back into second and are still yet to lose at the Peninsula Stadium so far this season and are now unbeaten in 17 games.
Despite this however, Alexander thinks his team can still improve as they prepare for a FA Cup replay against League 1 Shrewsbury on Wednesday.
Great win today! Levi’s first game but I think Ezra has claimed the ball! ☺️ pic.twitter.com/o4LNeteuCs
— Adam Rooney (@17AdamRooney) November 17, 2018
He said: “We came off the gas a little at 2-0, started ignoring simple passes and weren’t creating easy angles for each other. We tried to complicate it.
“We’re always trying to better ourselves and be the best we can possibly be. I feel like we can still improve.”
It was a rather comfortable afternoon for the Ammie’s, who went 1-0 up inside two minutes after Rooney hit home from Ibou Touray’s powerful cross.
Whilst the summer signing from Aberdeen did score away at Shrewsbury last week, it ended four league games without a goal for the Irishman, who before this game hadn’t scored a home goal since the 25th of September.
— Danny Lloyd (@dannylloyd1) November 17, 2018
Rooney doubled Salford’s lead just before the break, again combining with full back Touray, who this time drilled the ball across the box and it was left for Rooney to tap in at the back post.
Minutes before, Aldershot however did miss a golden opportunity to level the game when captain Scot Rendell wasted an easy chance.
— Tim Burgess (@Tim_Burgess) November 17, 2018
Salford started the second half very much like they began the first. Danny Whitehead’s shot was kept out by Aldershot keeper Will Mannion however the resulting corner saw Mannion parry Carl Piergianni’s powerful header before Rory Gaffney picked up the pieces to continue his good form.
Salford’s fourth and Rooney’s third soon followed, after substitute Tom Walker was bought down inside the box and Rooney smoothly converted from 12 yards.
It’s now 15 league goals for Rooney, who only arrived at Salford this summer and finds himself as top scorer of the National League.
Salford are up to second and only a point off top of the table Leyton Orient however attention now switches to Wednesday night as they take on Shrewsbury for a place in the second round of the FA Cup.