Despite playing some skilful football, Salford City have hit a skid patch that has seen them go out of the FA Cup, lose their home and away unbeaten league record, and today lose in the FA Trophy first round at Northwich Victoria. The skill just doesn't seem to count at this level against big, ugly, organised teams.
In a relatively even first half, Vics took the lead in the 34th minute, a green and white hooped attacker tapping in a rebound after another green and white hooped attacker had hit the bar with a header.
Nelson Mota almost hit back for the Ammies with a sweetly struck shot that the Vics' keeper parried but recovered to block Gary Prescott's follow up shot from a tight angle. Half time 1-0.
After the interval Salford almost equalised when Nelson Mota bemused defenders all over the place on the left wing before putting in a cross that Gary Prescott met without quite enough power to beat the Vics' keeper.
Instead, Vics' increased their lead when a soft free kick was awarded on the edge of the Ammies' area. A green hooped someone hit the ball and it took a deflection to whizz past stranded Salford goalie Kieran O'Boyle. 2-0.
Down the other end, Nathan Bond blasted a half chance over the bar but shortly after Vic made it 3-0. Late on, Salford got the goal their efforts deserved when sub Eder Ruiz latched onto a through ball and swept it past the despairing keeper. 3-1.
As Ruiz rushed to retrieve the ball from the net, a green hooped defender blocked him. Some terribly bad language was used by the said green hooped defender but inexplicably the referee chose to book Ruiz, which led to both player and manager having a word with said ref at full time.
All in all, a dour game that burst into life during the the final 180 seconds - and for 180 seconds after the final whistle.
Hopefully the Ammies will put this run of iffy form to bed this Tuesday night when they play Bamber Bridge at Moor Lane 7:45pm kick off.
Photos by Andrew Goudie