Salford City gained notoriety thanks to the BBC documentary “Out of their League” following the Class of ’92 takeover. Televised FA Cup ties against league opposition Notts County and Hartlepool garnered further press attention, meaning that Salford became one of the most talked-about non-league clubs in the country.
Despite full houses for some big games, including the aforementioned cup ties, the average attendance for league games at Moor Lane is 640, the third best in the league. However, if you put that into perspective it’s a healthy figure compared to the pre-takeover average.
Salford City FC, also known as The Ammies, were founded in 1940 and given the nickname after earning quite the reputation on the local amateur scene. Semi-professional football followed in 1982 and the club are now playing at their highest ever level, hoping for a second successive promotion this season. If they were to be successful, the Ammies would only be two further promotions away from league football, and given the ownership of Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim and the football knowledge and drive of the Class of ’92, few would dare to bet against them climbing the league ladder.
The visitors, Nantwich Town, were founded in 1884 and like their hosts plied their trade in the amateur scene before becoming a founder member of the North West Counties Football in 1982. The Dabbers, so called after the town’s tanning industry, moved into their new their new £4m stadium, the Weaver Stadium, in 2007, a year after the club lifted the FA Vase at Birmingham’s St Andrew’s stadium.
Neither team had a lot to play for going into Saturday’s game, Nantwich comfortable in mid-table with Salford assured of a play-off berth. However, the hosts would’ve wanted to keep the momentum going and finish with a bang, especially considering this is the last league game in front of the home fans.
Salford controlled the opening exchanges and looked to take advantage of their territorial dominance. However, the cutting edge was lacking and the hosts took the lead against the run of play, thanks to a neat header from Josh Hancock after 24 minutes, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the small band of travelling fans making a racket with their drum.
Five minutes into the second half the goalscorer Hancock was given his marching orders after a melee and the hosts looked to press home their numerical superiority with 40 minutes to spare. On 70 minutes Salford were awarded a penalty, which former Premier League striker Danny Webber stepped up to take. His spot-kick struck the post and trickled out for a goal-kick, summing up his poor afternoon where he took too many touches in vital areas.
Webber was replaced shortly after by Richie Allen and it was to be an inspired substitution. Allen struck a beautiful shot into the top corner from the edge of the box and Salford could have won the game in injury time when a free-kick crashed off the cross bar.
Salford, watched by co-owners Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, deserved to win but the lack of cutting edge meant they had to settle for a point. The fairly muted crowd, and the team, will have to raise it if the Ammies are to succeed in the play-offs and gain promotion to the Northern Premier League.
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