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Salford stun Barrow with 5-3 win

Updated: Jun 6

17th February 2024 - From the Peninsula Stadium Press Box

Salford looked to extend their seven game unbeaten run under new manager Karl Robinson following a midweek draw on Tuesday to Doncaster Rovers which finished 2-2 with a late equaliser coming from Luke Garbutt in the 89th minute. Barrow came to M7 off the back of two successive losses to Forest Green and AFC Wimbledon, despite that they still sit fifth in EFL League Two in contrast to the Ammies in nineteenth.

Karl Robinson made one change to his starting eleven with number eighteen Conor McAleny coming in to replace Callum Morton on the left of the attacking trio including Matt Smith and Junior Luamba. However for Barrow, Steve Cotterill named five changes to his starting players from their 2-1 loss to Forest Green with Ogungbo, Spence, Aquah, Warren and Feely all starting for today’s game at the Peninsula Stadium. 

Salford City sat 11 points off the League Two play off places and with new manager Robinson having won the league one playoffs with MK dons and got them there a further two times as well as managing Oxford to another two playoffs in the third division also. Barrow came to Greater Manchester in fifth position but following their recent lack of form, find themselves struggling to cling onto a place in the promotion race. However, Salford had gone five games without keeping a clean sheet which is sure to be a priority of new manager Robinson if the Ammies are trying to secure league one football next season. However, Salford have scored in the 80th minute or later in five out of seven of Robinson’s unbeaten games in charge so Salford are definitely leaving everything on the pitch for the full ninety under their new boss.

Prior to kick off, Barrow packed out the away end and were in fine voice ahead of the clash but the Salford faithful also had a good turn out with an undeniable sense of optimism around the ground thanks to the bounce from the success of new manager Robinson.

Salford Starting XI

Cairns (GK), John, Watt (C) , Watson, Hendry, Tilt, Smith, McAleny, Garbutt, Vassell, Luamba

Salford Substitutions 

Torrance (GK), Mariappa, Lund, McLennan, Chesters, Nmai, Morton

Barrow Starting XI

Farman (GK), Ogungbo, Ray, Canavan (C) , Spence, White, Gotts, Acquah,

Warren, Stockton, Feely

Barrow Substitutions 

Lillis (GK), Campbell, Worrall, Newby, Foley, Whitfield

Kick Off

The game opened lively with quick chances for Salford but with Cole Stockton for Barrow getting free on the left but was easily dealt with by Salford number one Alex Cairns. Shortly after, Garbutt swung a promising ball into the Barrow box but was caught safely in the hands of Paul Farman. Number eighteen Conor McAleny made the first real long range shot of the game pulling the trigger on the edge of the left side of the Barrow box despite some power behind it, Farman saved. Is this possibly why Robinson brought McAleny back into the starting eleven? 

Salford continued to press earning them a free kick towards the centre of the box taken by Garbutt but it just sailed wide. Barrow worked their way into Salford’s box resulting in a close shave for Cairns with the ball bouncing close to the goal link put out for a corner by Salford. However, the corner ball sent to the far post was again dealt with by Cairns. Both sides started the game very strong, counter attacking continuously but nothing to separate the sides quarter of an hour in. Salford conceded another corner taken by Gotts swung into the far post which was picked up by Cairns yet again. Salford quickly returned to the attack with Luamba taking a well worked shot but again saved by the safe hands of Paul Farman. 

Despite the amount of pressure from the opposition both keepers showed a remarkable sense of composure especially Alex Cairns kept his cool and organised his players from the back. The visitors continued to cause Salford problems with the left sided duo of Acquah and Gotts giving the Ammies defence issues whilst squaring the ball to Kian Spence who took a shot from long range yet again stretching Alex Cairns who made another fantastic save. Despite this, Salford continued to work the ball around the Barrow defence until Callum Hendry took the ball on the edge of the box with a well aimed and powerful shot into the back of the net to put the Ammies one goal up with his fifth goal of the season at 26 minutes played, assisted by Junior Luamba. 

Following the opener, Barrow seemed well and truly on the back foot following their lively start with Salford defending well and pushing the opposition out again and again to try and maintain their lead before the break. Robbie Gotts was once again causing problems for the Ammies defence with another free kick this time on the left at relatively close range but again swung into the hands of Cairns who was quick to save. Salford’s Garbott came into possession in the Barrow box yet again and hit the woodwork as the ball just fell short of the net, failing to put the Ammies two up before the half was over. Barrow came back however with Cole Stockton curling in a shot into the bottom corner past Cairns who had been having an excellent half and was unlucky to concede just before the referee called for half time. 

Half Time Salford City 1-1 Barrow 

Barrow looked to kick on early with Salford conceding an early corner with Tyrell Warren converting seconds into the second half taking the ball and heading it into the net. Not an ideal start for the Ammies who have conceded twice in the last ten minutes played. Salford looked to return with an answer to Barrow going one ahead with Hendry looking to get on the score sheet again with a central shot on the edge of the box but it flew into the gloves of Farman to the reds misfortune. Elliot Watt also tried his luck from distance but placed it wide, disputing that it was a corner to the referee earnt the captain a booking. 

Despite Salford’s best efforts, Paul Farman helped Barrow massively to hang onto their lead, the Ammies still resilient in their hunt for an equaliser . Shortly after, Salford’s Conor McAleny converted a low shot into the visitors net finally beating Farman upon his return to the red’s starting eleven making it all square yet again. Salford took yet another corner from skipper Watts which was tussled around the box with Barrow lucky to keep the ball out the net. 

At sixty three minutes played, Robinson made his first two substitutions with a double change with Garbutt and Wattson making way for Nmai and Chesters. Both sets of fans made their voices heard at the clash with 3,446 in attendance at the Peninsula Stadium including 903 travelling Barrow fans. Minutes after the changes, Hendry bagged his second goal of the game for the Ammies putting them ahead for the second time receiving the ball from Curtis Tilt in the area. 

Barrow manager Cotterill made his first change of the afternoon following Salford going in front with Sam Foley coming onto the pitch to replace Robbie Gotts. Salford also made their final substitution with two time goalscorer Hendry making way for Matthew Lund. Salford’s Nmai also tried to get in on the act attempting to curl the ball from the left of the pitch into the top right corner of the goal but it wasn’t to be to extend the Ammies lead. With his twentieth league goal this season, Matt Smith looked to have sealed the win putting Salford City 4-2. The final changes to the teams came for Barrow with Cotterill making four changes for one final throw of the dice with Warren, Ogungbo, Acquah and White all making way for Worrall, Newby, Whitfield and Campbell to play the last ten minutes.

It looked like a certain win for the Ammies but striker Matt Smith wasn’t finished, converting from a late corner at the front post got him his second of the afternoon making it 5-2 to Salford who made an astounding comeback from 2-1 down to secure all three points stay in M7. A late consolation goal came for Barrow making it 5-3 with Cole Stockton netting for the second time on the afternoon however it wasn’t enough to get Barrow back in the game in the ninetieth minute despite five additional minutes of stoppage time.

Full Time Salford City 5-3 Barrow 

Catch the full, post match interview with Karl Robinson live on Shock Sport on Monday 19th February at 7pm.

Match Report by Jodi Keen

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