It’s just incredible how soccer can make one scratch one’s head in wonderment at the final whistle. Here was Salford in the tangerine jerseys pummelling away at the Garforth Town goal for the whole contest, yet the score stayed resolutely nil-all.
And how totally ironic that the Ammies should choose to launch their new range of key rings celebrating last season’s storming victory over Garforth to stave off relegation in what became known thereafter as The Great Escape. For surely the Great Escape this time soley belonged to Garforth.
In the first period alone Salford rained in shots and headers courtesy of home debut boy McAliskey, a strapping 6feet 4inched chap who makes bundles of space for himself with some neat footwork and clever flicks. He had at least four fine chances to tuck away the first goal but three shots and a header were all saved by splendid keeping from the Town goalie, Craig Ellison.
With another new Salford number 9, Domaine Rouse, showing what a tricky customer he can be and Rhodri Giggs, brother of the famous Wales international, flying through the centre, the Ammies had Town on the ropes throughout the first 45. But, alas, it wasn’t to be. While the Garforth ‘goalie could have been picking the ball out of the old onion bag six or seven times, the teams trooped off the field for their half time lemons with the scores even.
Drinking Bovril in the Salford clubhouse, all agreed that Salford had put in a jolly fine effort for no reward.
And so to the second period, Salford with the wind behind their backs attacking the end with the Garforth omnibus parked behind the goal. And it wasn’t long before the wind assisted a Salford corner on the right to swirl into the top corner of the net as a Garforth full back hooked the ball away. The referee waved play on…We all berated the linesman… “I say, I say…that ball was most definitely over the line…would you like to borrow our spectacles?”
Still Salford attacked the Garforth rearguard, with inside right, Craig Mahon, buzzing around the edge of the penalty area and Giggs continuing to probe the full backs’ resolve. With half an hour left Salford brought on substitute Phil Howard for the towering and tiring McAliskey, and his first shot on goal brought a tremendous flying save from Ellison.
By now, with the score still intact, Garforth were regaining their spirit and managed to venture on a few occasions past their own half way line, as the three Garforth fanatics huddled together in the shed began to find their voice…It sounded like `Baaa baaaaa’ but it couldn’t have been.
All went quiet in the shed as the game drew to a close with Salford continuing the onslaught. Another corner caused mayhem in the Garforth box and ended up being deflected onto the crossbar in the final action of what should have been a terrific Salford victory.
No goals, but a sterling performance by the Ammies that will give the team lots of encouragement as they trot out to meet favourites Hyde United on Tuesday evening in the Second Qualifying Round of the Football Association Cup.