Salford City 2-2 Stockport County

The Hatters undertook their shortest away-trip of the season to play live before the television cameras, and, in the proverbial ‘game of two halves’, fought back from two goals down to earn a precious point at Salford.

In what was a rare Thursday night outing, and County’s first since visiting Cambridge United for a televised Conference National (as was) contest in 2011, two first-half goals put the hosting ‘Ammies’ in charge of proceedings at the break, but a first goal as a Hatter for substitute, and ex-Salfordian, Ibby Touray, followed by Tanto Olaofe’s equaliser, ensured a share of the spoils that put the second-placed Hatters two points behind leaders Mansfield with a game in hand.

Some intermittent drizzle had fallen in M7 during the early evening, before County took to the field for a slightly late 8pm kick-off – and showing three changes from the starting line-up against Newport at Edgeley Park five days previously. Odin Bailey, who had joined the Hatters from Salford earlier in the season, Callum Camps and Olaofe constituted the recalled trio – replacing Myles Hippolyte and Connor Lemonheigh Evans (both of whom were named among the substitutes), as well as the injured Nick Powell.

In addition to Bailey and Touray, one other member of the County squad – namely, Fraser Horsfall – could count Salford among his former clubs. And the Hatters’ bench also featured Todd Kane, who, earlier in the week, had arrived in SK3 on loan from Manchester City.

The hosts, without a victory in four games, fashioned the contest’s first chance inside the opening minute, when a dangerous long throw by Luke Garbutt from the right was met by the joint-leading League Two scorer, Matt Smith – but the home striker’s header was comfortably caught by Ben Hinchliffe in front of the near post.

Seven minutes later, however, Garbutt made an even more telling contribution when, having received the ball in space from Declan John, he unleashed a long-range thunderbolt of a shot that flew into the top left of the goal to give Salford an early lead.

The Hatters earned three corners over the five minutes or so that followed, but had to wait until just the other side of the first half’s mid-point for their inaugural attempt on target – when Paddy Madden, after cutting in from the right, saw his low shot kept out by the legs of goalkeeper Alex Cairns.

Just over 10 minutes later, County lost the services of Ethan Bristow, after the Minnesota United loanee fell awkwardly on his shoulder and, despite a lengthy spell of treatment, was unable to continue.

And the first half, alas, became worse for the Hatters before it concluded. Half a dozen minutes ahead of the break, Curtis Tilt doubled Salford’s advantage by nodding home at the far post after Smith, to the right, had connected with a Garbutt free-kick and headed across the goalmouth.

Seven minutes were added on – primarily on account of the Bristow injury – and, in the second of those, Hinchliffe, at full stretch, dived to parry around the right post a strike by Connor McAleny.

HALF-TIME: Salford 2 (Garbutt, 8; Tilt, 39), County 0. 

County made a double-change upon the resumption – introducing Kane and Rico Richards. And, within five minutes, good work by the latter teed up Olaofe whom Cairns denied at point-blank range.

But just one minute later, the Hatters had halved the arrears, as Touray latched on to Madden’s through-ball, before slotting home against his former club. And shortly afterwards, Madden headed narrowly shy of the far post, following a Richards corner from the right.

Richards was proving to be something of a live-wire – heading one effort into the arms of Cairns, and firing another over – but the next strike of note, courtesy of Olaofe, was sensationally to get the Hatters back on level terms. Fed by Kyle Wootton, and shaking off the attentions of Tilt in pursuit, County’s top scorer raced almost half the length of the pitch before converting past Cairns for his 19th goal in all competitions.

Isaac Olaofe. Salford City FC 2-2 Stockport County FC. Sky Bet League Two. Peninsula Stadium. 14.3.24

The game rather ebbed and flowed following that – without any clear-cut chances to speak of during the remainder of normal time. After seven minutes’ time added on at the end, Kane went closest to troubling a ‘keeper, when his deep, in-swinging corner from the left was caught near the line by Cairns.

FULL-TIME: Salford 2 (Garbutt, 8; Tilt, 39), County 2 (Touray, 51; Olaofe, 64).

Team (4-1-2-1-2): Hinchliffe; Cass (Kane, 46), Horsfall, Pye, Bristow (Touray, 34); Camps (Hippolyte, 82); Sarcevic, Bailey (Richards, 46); Madden (Capt.); Olaofe, Wootton.

[Debut for Todd Kane, with a unique SCAN [Stockport County Appearance Number] of 1469.]

Unused Subs: J. Smith, Byrne, Lemonheigh Evans.

Booked: Horsfall, Touray.

Attendance: 3,827 (1,355 away).

Reporter: Gareth Evans.

Photographer: Mike Petch.


Keep Up To Date With All The Latest News And Special Offers...

Your email address will not be shared with any 3rd parties

    Opening Times Newsletter Signup