Woodley Sports' ground development gave this game an unworldly feel, with the plastic pitch shining bright green in the middle of acres of mounds of soil hills and gravel. Surreal it might have looked but for Salford City it was the same old story.
Woodley took the lead after only 15 minutes, a header that should have been cleared by the centre backs. Except that Raphale Evans, the one true uninjured centre back that Salford have had this season, was playing for Woodley after leaving last month. And the other centre back, Danny Heffernan, was playing centre forward 'cos the other specialist centre forward, Gavin Salmon, is now playing for Warrington, having also left last month.
…Add to that an ongoing keeper crisis, with Chris Howarth, the one specialist goalie Salford City have, plagued by injury, and it's not hard to see how Salford City's play-off dreams have been shattered.
…And so it came to pass that, with Woodley 1-0 up, Chris Howarth's injury nightmare continued, unable in the 43rd minute to get a punch to a 50-50 ball with a Woodley attacker on the edge of the area. The forward gleefully headed it over Howarth's despairing hand to double the lead before half time. 2-0.
Howarth never returned for the second half, with full back Jamie Baguley taking the gloves. What was already a mission f**ggin hard on Woodley's unfair plastic pitch, became mission impossible. Baguley isn't the tallest of players, the goals suddenly grew in size and Woodley helped themselves to two further goals, both out of the reach of the stand-in keeper. 4-0.
Last November, Salford City hammered Woodley Sports 3-0 at home with two stand-in keepers, Danny Heffernan and Martin Parker, both outfield players. But with even more stuff conspiring against them, Salford City couldn't repeat the trick and build on the excellent 2-0 win at Ossett Town last Tuesday, which could have been 10-0.
Next up at Moor Lane is league leaders, AFC Fylde who have never beaten Salford City – an easy three points then, to ease the memory of this Woodley disaster…
Moor Lane Tuesday 20th March kick off 7:45pm v AFC Fylde (£7/£3)
Photos by Andrew Goudie and Gareth Lyons