Going to Clitheroe on a summer's day is bad enough. Going up there in mid December enduring driving rain, a gale and a bunch of hillbilly supporters is the opposite of joy. That was until the 89th minute when sub David Chadwick ghosted in to head a well deserved equaliser that sent fans and players home happy. Happy with the the draw. And happy to get the hell out of Clitheroe.
It looked likely to be a long afternoon as it took Salford City ages to come to terms with the conditions - and a sagging, sloping pitch where a mountaineer kit would come in handy to reach the summit of the corner flag in the far right corner.
The corner flag's own micro-climate must have affected the linesman's brain ten minutes into the match, as Ammies players stopped for offside on the by-line near the flag. The liner, obviously suffering from vertigo, somehow didn't give it and a Clitheroe player crossed for his centre forward to slot home. 1-0.
Salford battled on and, after twenty minutes, Danny Browne dribbled through the heart of the Clitheroe defence, only to take on one too many defenders as the ball was scrambled clear.
Eight minutes later Browne caused chaos again on the wing and put in a great cross that was headed out for the ball to fall to Matthew Purcell, just inside the area. Usually these first time efforts fly into orbit but Purcell got his foot over the ball and hammered in a stunning controlled shot that nearly broke the back of the net. 1-1.
Just before half time Salford could have taken the lead but the Clitheroe keeper saved well with his legs from Mark Battersby. Half time 1-1.
The first period of the second half was almost a carbon copy of the first, as, after ten minutes, Clitheroe took the lead with both Salford players and managers screaming at the ref for offside. The Salford managers were so incensed by the decision that the ref had to have a word but the dodgy goal stood. 2-1.
Fired up by the injustice, the Ammies piled forward and controlled the game for long spells but couldn't break through the massed Clitheroe defence. It looked like another case of 2-1 to the referee, until the 89th minute when sub David Chadwick ghosted in at the far post to head the equaliser, sending players and fans delirious. 2-2.
With four minutes of injury time added, Salford went looking for the win and Mark Battersby was unlucky as he burst clear and skipped past the keeper, only for ball, feet and mud to get entangled, allowing the goalie to recover and smother.
A well deserved draw, and another battling performance by the Ammies who have now lost only one of the last six league games.
Next match at home to Prescot Cables Sat 21st December 3pm
The Christmas fixture list sees Salford away at Ramsbottom on Boxing Day and away at Darlington on 28th December (there's a supporters coach going to this – contact the club asap to book a place).
New Year's Day sees Salford City take on Radcliffe Borough at home 3pm
For more details see the official Salford City FC website – click here
Photos by Gareth Lyons
Main photo shows scorer David Chadwick