Below-par Durham City fail to shine

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DURHAM City were nowhere near their best at New Ferens Park and Salford City were good value for a 4-2 victory in the Evo-Stik League Division One North.

From the kick-off, the visitors looked sharp and City goalkeeper Lewis Graham was at full stretch, saving from Rhodri Giggs.

Gavin Salmon missed a good chance for Salford who was then denied by Graham. The keeper then kept City level with excellent saves from Jamie Rother and Craig Flowers.

It was no surprise when the visitors went ahead on 23 minutes. Giggs capitalised on a defensive lapse despite the efforts of defender Gary Shaw, who only just failed to keep the ball out of the net.

Durham, though, hit back with two goals in five minutes. Salford keeper Chris Howarth parried a shot from David Dowson and Andrew Stephenson pounced, equalising with a low drive.

Salford had enjoyed much more of the possession and it was against the run of play when they went behind after 28 minutes.

Dowson produced a thunderous shot from fully 25 yards which rocketed into the roof of the net giving Howarth no chance.

Salford though always looked good for more goals. They relentlessly attacked and only superb saves by Graham kept out efforts from Salmon and Giggs.

Although Gary Brown was agonisingly close to a third goal for City, the visitors looked by far the more likely to score and they levelled midway through the second period.

Steve Murty split the home defence and Cayne Hanley drove low into the net.

Two minutes later City’s defence was all at sea as Murty put Salford ahead when he lobbed over the head of Graham.

The keeper then saved at full length from Giggs and as they pushed players forward in an effort to equalise, Dickie Ord’s side was exposed at the back in stoppage time. Adam Morning took advantage to make it four and Durham could have few complaints.

Durham City: L Graham, Stephenson, Shaw, Davis, Wilkinson, Arjun Purewal, Home Jackson (Pounder), Brown, Dowson, Thompson, Cutts (Greulich Smith).

Att: 145.