In a surprise move by Salford City, fans' favourite Gavin Salmon returned to the team yesterday, and minutes after coming off the bench, hit the second goal to finally see off a Wakefield side that had been completely outplayed from the kick off.
For a long period it seemed that it would be one of those days for Salford City, with Wakefield playing two banks of four at the back that were hard to break down. In a goalless first half Salford, stroking the ball around with ease, couldn't make the breakthrough. And when chances came, Steve Yarwood just didn't have his shooting boots on, screwing three shots wide of the post. When he did hammer an effort on target, the Wakefield keeper was equal to it, pushing the ball away for a corner.
Almost total possession and total domination couldn't force the opening goal. As half time approached Osebi Abadaki went clear on the edge of the box, only for the keeper to fling himself at the ball to block the shot, flattening the Salford number 9 en route… Half time 0-0. Although the electronic scoreboard at the rugby ground home of Wakefield FC insisted it was Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 48 Castlefield Tigers 28.
The second half looked to be more of the same, silky Salford moves breaking down with desperate Wakefield defending in the final third of the pitch. Around the hour mark, however, Salford finally got the goal their play deserved, the rampant Abadaki hitting a low cross that seemed to squirm through a zillion players queuing up in the six yard box before Rob Kinsella drove it in. 1-0.
Salford City went for the Wakefield jugular, Steve Yarwood curling a shot over the bar, Jimmy Holden smashing a shot over the bar, Danny White only thwarted by the keepers' legs and Osebi Abadaki cutting in from the left and rattling the far post with a trademark wonder shot.
The second goal just wouldn't come, and Wakefield, with virtually their only attack of the game, bar a few long range Wildcat style hoofs, could have levelled but their forward mishit the ball wide when it looked easier to score. The Salford City bench had seen enough and on came The Fish.
Gavin Salmon. A player who plays with a smile on his face. A forward who comes with his own `feed The Fish and he will score' song. A player who lends himself to fishy clichés in match reports. A fans' favourite from last season who will always have a plaice in the hearts of… (enough – ed).
Anyway, on came Gavin Salmon, and with the Salford supporters first `Feed The Fish' chorus almost still ringing out, Salmon broke clear, hit a shot that the keeper could only parry and stroked the rebound into an empty net (I said enough of the clichés – ed). 2-0.
Adrian Bellamy wrapped up the scoring, turning in a corner for a 3-0 result that flattered Wakefield, who could have lost by seven or eight. No wonder the scoreboard people preferred to stay with the rugby result from the summer.
Salford City move up to sixth in the league with games in hand, and a win at Prescot Cables on Tuesday night could see the Ammies go third. As the season progresses, Salford City's squad is getting stronger. The only way is up…
Next Salford City home game v Warrington Town Saturday October 13th 3pm
Further details www.salfordcityfc.co.uk
Photos by Andrew Goudie