Connor McAleny scored twice as Salford City defeated Notts County 2-1 in an action-packed game at Meadow Lane.

The Ammies arrived in Nottingham buoyant following an impressive 3-1 win against Morecambe in their last match and would stave off early pressure from the Magpies to establish a 1-0 lead at the break thanks to a brilliant individual goal from McAleny.

However, Notts County came racing out of the traps and would regain parity soon after the interval as Dan Cowley volleyed home the equaliser. Despite Notts’ improved 2nd half display, Salford were not to be denied all 3 points as Conor McAleny struck the winner late on.

McAleny was reintroduced into the starting eleven for the match, replacing midfielder Matty Lund. Matt Smith was also brought as a swap for Callum Morton.

Salford City would begin the game on the back foot and would have to battle through an early onslaught from the home side.

Salford City would successfully absorb the Notts County pressure. (Credit: Edward Hayton)

Malta international Jodi Jones twice went close in quick succession inside the opening ten minutes, on both occasions the winger cut in off the right-hand side but would fail to beat Cairns in the Salford City goal striking the ball down the throat of the goalkeeper.

Despite Notts County’s impressive start, Karl Robinson’s side grew into the game and managed to successfully stifle the attacking threat of League Two’s 2nd highest-scoring team.

The Ammies were rewarded for their valiant defensive effort as the away side made the breakthrough against the run of play in the 31st minute. McAleny benefitted from Matt Smith’s defensive endeavour, latching onto a breaking ball from the striker’s sliding challenge to drive forward and fire past goalkeeper Sam Slocombe.

At half-time Salford City had effectively weathered the Notts County storm, however, their advantage would not last for long as the home side made a much-improved start to the 2nd period.

Roared on by more than 9,000 home fans, The Magpies pilled on the pressure. League Two’s leading scorer Macauley Langstaff fired narrowly wide within 60 seconds of the restart.

Despite their dominance, Notts County would require a bit of fortune to find a way past Cairns. The leveller came on 57 minutes as Dan Crowley benefitted from a Langstaff miskick in the box, the midfielder rifled the ball into the Salford City goal from close range.

Throughout The Ammies’ underwhelming campaign, the side have often wilted under the pressure and struggled to battle back against teams playing with momentum.

Salford successfully negotiated the Notts County onslaught (Credit: Edward Hayton)

Yet under Robinson, Salford City have looked like a more resilient team, and today successfully limited Notts County to strikes from the edge of the box from the equaliser until the 84th minute.

The energetic and skilful Jones beat Theo Vassell on the wing, leaving the covering centre-back for dead before crossing low across the face of the goal. With the goal gaping, David McGoldrick could not stretch to turn the ball home from yards out.

With time running out, against the run of play, McAleny once again produced a moment of real quality. The attacking midfielder broke from deep to get on the end of substitute Callum Morton’s clever chest into space. McAleny remained composed when bearing down on goal and rolled the ball low into the bottom corner to restore Salford City’s advantage.

However, the game was far from over. With seven minutes added on, The Ammies went in search of a third goal to kill off the game, Morton was unlucky to see his low shot deflected onto the post.

Salford City were almost left to rue that near miss. The home side came close to finding an equaliser with seconds left on the clock, the usually so reliable Macauley Langstaff squandered a gilt-edged chance in the 97th minute. Langstaff found himself clean through racing onto a long ball forward but could not lift the ball over Alex Cairns.

A late equaliser by the striker would have been harsh on The Ammies who defended bravely to battle to the 2-1 win.

This victory sees Karl Robinson’s side move up to 19th in the League Two table.

Salford City will be looking to build on this win, the team face 23rd-place Sutton United in their next match this Friday. (Kick-off is at 3 pm).

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