Salford’s Carabao Cup journey comes to a close at the first hurdle, though it was a thrilling 90 minutes and penalties at Pride Park.
The Ammies pushed their Championship opposition right to the wire. With the score 3-3 at full time, spot kicks were the only way to separate the sides. Five flawless strikes from The Rams denied Salford progression after Luke Burgess’ effort was saved.
Josh Morris had the ball in the back of the net three times during the game, getting off the mark in Salford colours. His first, a dipping effort from range leaving Derby goalkeeper Ryan Allsop with no chance. After a slick interchange down the right with Tylor Golden, the space opened up for the 29-year-old. Cutting in on his left, the ball was struck sweetly and rippled the net in the bottom left corner, to the delight of the travelling Ammies.
Then followed two penalties, one in the second half to put Salford 3-2 ahead with 10 minutes to play and the second coming in the shootout. The winger was left with mixed emotions.
“Obviously gutted to lose it the way we did. I thought in the first half we were very good for most of it. We conceded at a bad time just before half time but we were right in the game and I thought we played some really good stuff.”
The start from Salford was lightning quick, with two goals inside the first quarter of an hour. Jordan Turnbull nodded the ball home from an early corner where Morris turned provider, whipping in a pacy ball to the front post. Ash Eastham managed to get ahead of his man, glancing the ball onto his defensive partner to put Salford one up.
Morris’ game is all about getting and assisting goals, so he was impressed by his personal performance.
“I’ll take that, it’s what I’m in the team to do, to score and set people up and I thought the two of mine were very good. We also mixed it up when we had to and coming here it’s not an easy place to come but I thought we more than held our own here.
“It’s nice to get a few goals so early in the season and hopefully I can keep helping the team the best I can.”
After a physically and mentally tasking game there were still plenty of positives to take away from our journey on the road.
“We’ve come here and scored three goals at the end of the day. Obviously we’re disappointed to concede the way we have so we need to work on that and let’s have it right we should have won really on another night. It’s just one of those things, we have to take the learning points from today and make sure we can put it right come Saturday.”
Salford will be looking forward to the weekend where they welcome Sutton United to Moor Lane. The fixture was reversed last week following pitch problems so the Ammies can take some home advantage and hope to record the first three points of the year in a winnable encounter against newly-promoted opposition. Morris said:
“It’s another important game for us, we need to make sure we put tonight’s result behind us and concentrate on the league on Saturday.
“It was great to get the fans here tonight, it doesn’t get better as a professional footballer, there’s nothing worse playing in empty stadiums. To have the atmosphere here tonight and meeting the fans on Saturday was special.”