Salford City kept an impressive clean sheet against top of the table Stockport in a goalless draw to earn their first point in four league games.
On a cold night at Edgeley Park Alex Cairns was the Man of the Match for the Ammies after a string of saves that kept the tie level.
Despite facing a Stockport side who are still five points clear at the summit of the table and who – until their defeat at Newport last Saturday – had matched a League Two record of twelve consecutive wins, the visitors’ defence stood firm.
The Hatters were profligate in front of goal and should have put themselves ahead before the break.
First, the crossbar came to the rescue for Salford, as Nick Powell’s first time shot from a Macauley Southam-Hales drilled cross rattled the crossbar from six yards out. The former Manchester United midfielder then wasted another opportunity, heading former Salford captain Ibou Touray’s cross wide to the dismay of the home fans in the Cheadle End.
In the final minute of the first half, Alex Cairns produced a remarkable save to keep it level, tipping a point blank Paddy Madden header into the bottom right corner around the post.
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The Ammies had chances of their own. Conor McAleny tested Ben Hinchcliffe and on his league debut, Junior Luamba volleyed just wide from a Matt Smith knockdown. Kelly N’mai also looked bright down the left wing, drawing a number of fouls from the Stockport defence.
Despite Neil Wood only being able to name five substitutes – including four youth players and a goalkeeper – due to ten first team injuries, Salford’s defence remained strong. Theo Vassell cleared a Fraser Horsfall shot off the line early into the second half, and the visitors then prevented the home side from any clear chances.
Salford will leave South Manchester the happier side, after preventing the league leaders from winning at home for the first time since 2nd September.
Next up for the Ammies is a visit to Valley Parade to face Bradford City as they look to move up from 18th place.