Salford City v Manchester United U21s

Goals from Ian Henderson and Ash Hunter helped Salford City gain their first point of the new SkyBet League Two season against fellow promotion contenders Exeter City at the Peninsula Stadium.

The Ammies struck first in the early minutes with a Henderson header, before goals from Matt Jay and Joel Randall gave Exeter the lead at half-time.

Salford made some substitutions in the second half and played some better football, resulting in a equaliser from Hunter 20 minutes from time to give both sides a point on the opening day of League Two.

The game saw Salford boss Graham Alexander revert back to the team that beat Rotherham United in the second round of the Carabao Cup just over a week ago, with Salford playing a 4-2-3-1 formation.

It was certainly the home side who started brightly and found themselves in front after just three minutes, thanks to new signing Ian Henderson’s second goal in as many starts.

A cross from the right by Jason Lowe found the head of Henderson, who’s header took the slightest of deflections to beat the Exeter keeper Lewis Ward.

Salford carried on controlling the pressure and tempo of the game for the first 15 minutes, until defender Ashley Eastham’s slip allowed Exeter back in the game after 22 minutes.

The Ammies captain slipped unopposed in front of his own box, allowing Jay to race in and slot past Václav Hladký in the Salford goal to level the score against the run of play.

The equaliser gave the visitors new-found confidence as they started to dominate possession in search of another goal.

And Exeter did find the lead on the 34th minute thanks to a short corner that was well worked by the visitors to force Hladký into a smart save, only for Randell to nod the ball into a empty net.

But the introduction of ex-Millwall target man, Tom Elliott, seemed to swing the game back in Salford’s favour and the pressure counted when Ash Hunter equalised in the 70th minute.

A well worked move by Salford saw Hunter meet sub Richie Towell’s cross with a left foot volley which hit into the ground and looped up over the helpless Ward.

The last 15 minutes saw both sides in search for an winner but to no avail as the points were shared at the Peninsula.

Speaking after the game, Graham Alexander called for the experienced heads to stand up and be counted when it matters most and said:

“I actually believe we’ve got real good experienced players in there who do know [how to win a game], they’ve got to come out of their shell now and actually make sure their voices and their characters are heard. They’re here for a reason, and we’ve got to see it.”

Salford’s next game is a trip to Goodison Park to face Everton in Round Two of the Carabao Cup.


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