The Non-League Football Paper - - NATIONAL LEAGUE - By Machel He­witt

GRA­HAM Alexan­der was de­lighted with his Sal­ford City charges af­ter stretch­ing their un­beaten run to eight matches, while serv­ing an omi­nous warn­ing to the rest of the National League.

Goals in ei­ther half from Rory Gaffney and Tom Walker com­pletely a com­fort­able vic­tory over the Ravens to take them up to fourth in the ta­ble.

“It’s an­other win on the road and an­other clean sheet,” Alexan­der beamed.

“It was a dif­fi­cult game for us and we strug­gled in the first half but we got the goal at a good time in the first half. The sec­ond we played and did things much bet­ter, we con­trolled the half and ul­ti­mately de­served the win.”

The two goals sand­wiched the con­tentious sec­ond-half send­ing off of Brom­ley’s Adam Mekki that proved to kill the game as a con­test. Mekki was ad­judged to have gone in dan­ger­ously on Nathan Pond and af­ter heavy protests from Sal­ford play­ers, ref­eree Adrian Quelch pro­duced a red card to the shock of the home fans.

Ravens boss Neil Smith could not hide his frus­tra­tion at the de­ci­sion at full time, com­ment­ing: “We were well in the game at half time, de­spite be­ing a goal down, but I don’t think that was a red card for Mekki, I’ve watched it back and he got the ball. He gave the ref­eree a de­ci­sion to make but for me it was a yel­low at best. The send­ing off killed the game and 2-0 wasn’t an ac­cu­rate re­flec­tion of the game.”

The first half was an evenly bal­anced af­fair, perhaps just shaded by Brom­ley but won by Sal­ford with their only shot on tar­get of the half.

An ex­cel­lent cross­field ball from Walker found Adam Rooney in space at the back post, his header across the goal was bravely headed past David Gre­gory by an on­rush­ing Gaffney to give the Am­mies the lead.

With the sec­ond fol­low­ing a sim­i­lar pat­tern, Mekki’s send­ing off six min­utes into the res­tart handed Sal­ford a nu­mer­i­cal ad­van­tage that they seized on to full ef­fect.

Min­utes later, the ex­cel­lent Gaffney crossed for Danny Lloyd but the tal­ented winger some­how side-footed wide when it seemed eas­ier to score.

Gaffney was to be at the heart of the sec­ond goal too when his left-wing run cul­mi­nated with an­other dan­ger­ous cross that an un­marked Walker tapped in from 12 yards.

Ten-man Brom­ley threat­ened to work their way back into the game but missed a golden op­por­tu­nity 20 min­utes from time. Ge­orge Porter did well to work space be­fore stand­ing up a cross that Ju­nior Ogedi-Uzokwe planted inches wide with Chris Neal beaten.

That was to be as good as it got for the home side as Sal­ford com­fort­ably saw out the game to send out a mes­sage to their pro­mo­tion ri­vals.

STAR MAN: Rory Gaffney (Sal­ford) ATT: 2,020 EN­TER­TAIN­MENT: ★★★★★ REF­EREE: Adrian Quelch 7/10

PIC­TURES: Ed Boy­den

NET GAIN: Rory Gaffney, of Sal­ford, City is over­joyed at scor­ing against Brom­ley

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