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Salford City football Club

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Team Sheet

Craig MacGillivray
Tom Naylor (c)
Jack Whatmough
Ryan Williams
John Marquis

Jacobs 106'

James Bolton
Yellow card for James Bolton
George Byers

Close 73'

Sean Raggett
Charlie Daniels

Brown 46'

Harvey White

Curtis 46'

Jordy Hiwula

Harness 46'

Salford City FC
Vaclav Hladky
Ibou Touray
Yellow card for Ibou Touray
Jason Lowe
Yellow card for Jason Lowe
Ash Eastham (C)
Tom Clarke

Loughlan 115'

Ash Hunter

Andrade 73'

Jordan Turnbull
Richie Towell
Yellow card for Richie Towell

Dieseruvwe 99'

Oscar Threlkeld
James Wilson

Burgess 86'

Brandon Thomas-Asante
Lewis Ward
Lee Brown
Yellow card for Lee Brown
Ben Close
Ronan Curtis
Rasmus Nicolaisen
Marcus Harness
Michael Jacobs
William Evans
Bruno Andrade
Luke Burgess
Mani Dieseruvwe
Liam Loughlan
Sam Fielding
Dan Hawkins
Manager - Kenny Jackett
Manager - Richie Wellens
Match Officals
Referee - Carl Boyeson
Assistant Referee - Michael Webb
Assistant Referee - Craig Taylor
Fourth Official - Trevor Kettle

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Salford City captain Ash Eastham lifted the EFL Trophy at Wembley this afternoon, and my word didn’t the Ammies deserve it? League One promotion contenders Portsmouth were entirely outplayed during the first half and although Kenny Jackett’s men improved after the interval, Salford still looked more likely to break the deadlock. Only during the last 10 minutes of extra time did Pompey grab the initiative but if would have been a gross injustice had they pinched a winner during virtually their only period of dominance.

Seven years ago, almost to this day, Ossett Albion left Moor Lane with a 3-0 Northern Premier League First Division win under their belts, leaving the majority of a 128 crowd disappointed. Today Salford City have won a Wembley final as an EFL club – an unbelievable rise, capped by an unforgettable afternoon.

We’d waited almost a year for the delayed 2019-2020 EFL Trophy Final to take place and it would prove to be worth it, although it’s a great shame that the game had to be played at a virtually empty Wembley Stadium.

We should perhaps be grateful that football has continued at all, but there would be a handicap for the Ammies when the EFL announced news of player eligibility for the final. Any player who had represented another club during this season’s competition would not be allowed to participate in last season’s final. That left Salford manager Richie Wellens losing the services of Paul Coutts, Robbie Gotts, Di’Shon Bernard, Tom James and George Boyd, with Portsmouth able to choose from their entire squad.

That meant a recall to the defence for skipper Eastham and with Ian Henderson unavailable due to illness, James Wilson was brought in to lead the line. Amongst the substitutes were development squad players Liam Loughlan, Dan Hawkins & Sam Fielding.

Portsmouth were the holders of this trophy, but right from the start of the game it was the Ammies who looked the better side. Pompey looked a little tentative, especially at the back, and in the 7th minute a crunching Oscar Threlkeld challenge dispossessed James Bolton. Wilson picked up the loose ball then advanced on a right of centre run before hitting a rising 20-yard drive. Not for the last time this afternoon Craig MacGillivray came to his side’s rescue, diving left to push the effort behind.

A couple of minutes later the Ammies had a penalty shout after Richie Towell curled a cross from the right towards the far post. Ibou Touray had stolen a yard on Ryan Williams and seemed to be shoved by the Pompey man as he stooped to get his head to the ball.

The referee waved play on, but Salford were already taking a grip on proceedings. They’d settled into the game much better than their opponents and were soon back on the hunt for a goal.

In the 14th minute Towell was harshly booked following a collision with John Marquis, but otherwise the game’s pendulum was definitely swinging Salford’s way. On the quarter hour Brandon Thomas-Asante nicked the ball away from Charlie Daniels wide on Salford’s right before cutting into the penalty area. A good low shot followed with MacGillivray getting down low to his right, pushing the ball away to safety.

Another quality save from the Pompey custodian, and his team seemed to be playing their way back into the game as the 20 minute mark approached. Even so, Václav Hladký in the Salford goal hadn’t yet been tested at all, and it would be the second half before he was.

Salford continued to play good attacking football and on 26 minutes Wilson got to Ibou Touray’s low cross from the left ahead of Raggett. From the near angle of the 6-yard box the former Manchester United man got in a first-time left-footer that deflected to safety off MacGillivray’s knees.

Wilson had another go a couple of minutes later, cutting inside from the right before hitting a low left-footer from 25 yards. This one was simpler for MacGillivray who was able to gather at his left-hand post.

It was all Salford at this stage and 13 minutes before the interval a cross-field Wilson pass to the right was touched into the box first-time by Thomas-Asante. MacGillivray advanced to meet Lowe but didn't look like getting there. The midfielder squared a low ball into the middle, only to see it cleared by a Portsmouth defender.

Thomas-Asante had a shot charged down as Pompey were forced to get numbers behind the ball. Another Touray cross from the left was aimed low at the near stick, with Daniels forced to poke behind for a corner just before Thomas-Asante could get there.

Ash Hunter delivered the corner, with possession falling to Jordan Turnbull as Portsmouth struggled to clear their lines. With back to goal the Salford central defender executed a smart turn before drilling in a low 17-yarder that seemed destined to pass inside the keeper’s right-hand post. Once again MacGillivray had other ideas, stretching low to push the ball away to safety. The keeper probably didn’t know too much about the block that kept out Thomas-Asante’s close-range follow up, but the offside flag had gone up in any case.

There was little chance for Portsmouth to do anything but defend, and the pressure would continue right up to the end of the half. A long Turnbull ball forward was chested down by Thomas-Asante on the edge of the box, forcing Raggett to prod behind for another corner.

Pompey defender Raggett hadn’t enjoyed the best of halves and 3 minutes before half-time he had his pocket picked outside the box by Thomas-Asante. Wilson carried the ball into the right-hand side of the box before slamming in a low, angled right-footer that beat MacGillivray then Hunter’s sliding lunge before rolling outside the far post.

During the half’s final minute Wilson and Towell worked possession out to Thomas-Asante on the right and he darted towards the line before squaring a low ball across the face of goal. A decent chance but there was no red shirt on hand to provide what surely would have been a simple tap in.


The only question that could be asked at the end of the first half was “How are Salford not ahead?”. The Ammies had outplayed their opponents in all departments only to be denied by a keeper in great form. True to footballing tradition, they could have fallen behind to a sucker punch during the second half’s very first minute.

Portsmouth manager Jackett had made 3 changes at half time in an effort to relieve the relentless pressure his side had been under. Within seconds of the restart Jack Whatmough, in the right-back position, launched a mighty cross-field ball to the left. Lowe couldn’t quite cut it out, then lost his footing as Ronan Curtis made his way into the penalty area. A low, hard shot followed but many a striker has found out that if you get past Salford’s mean defence you still have to beat Hladký. Curtis became the latest of many to fail as the keeper got strong hands on the shot, pushing it beyond the far upright.

There looked to be more dynamism about Pompey’s game as the second half developed and they began to give Salford’s defence something to think about. Even so, Salford soon recovered from that early fright to re-establish their defensive composure.

The Ammies still looked dangerous in the final third too, and in the 52nd minute Thomas-Asante squared from the right for Towell. The Irish midfielder was right in front of goal but Bolton did just enough to prevent him from controlling the ball sufficiently to get a shot in.

A low Marquis 20-yarder flashed wide of Hladký’s right-hand post 10 minutes after the restart and after that Salford once again began to press forward with real purpose.

Wilson slid a nice pass into the left-hand side of the box for Hunter, but Bolton did well to get there and then shepherd the ball back for MacGillivray.

Thomas-Asante did well, turning away from his marker before advancing on the right. An exchange of passes left Wilson with a chance to shoot, but his angled effort from the right was deflected away for a corner. A minute or so later Threlkeld’s dinked cross from tight to the line on the left was just too high for Thomas-Asante in the middle.

Their domination perhaps wasn't as marked as during the first half, yet Salford were still looking the more creative of the two sides. With 25 minutes of normal time to play Thomas-Asante got in a cross from the right although it was too pacey for Wilson to reach.

MacGillivray hadn’t been rigorously tested since the second half got underway but that situation changed in the 66th minute. Touray delivered a free-kick from wide on the right and Eastham got up to meet in 3 or 4 yards out and centrally positioned. The header had power but MacGillivray reacted instinctively to push the ball away to his right where a defensive colleague cleared.

Eastham will probably think he should have buried that, but credit is due to the keeper who pulled out a top class save to deny him.

Salford fans can be forgiven for fearing the worst when their team dominates games without managing to score a game, yet at this stage there was little sign of a Pompey revival. The pressure continued to come from the men in red and Wilson’s long run took him into the left-hand side of the area. The pull-back was decent too, but Whatmough had anticipated to get in a clearance.

Hunter tried a low shot from 20 yards and right of centre out only for the effort to clear the far post. It was Wilson’s turn to threaten again next as he turned to hit a 25-yarder that was saved – almost inevitably – by MacGillivray.

Bruno Andrade replaced Hunter with 16 minutes to play and the former Lincoln man would go close to getting the goal that had somehow evaded the Ammies so far.

In the meantime, Portsmouth began to show signs of attacking intent, and with 10 minutes left substitute Ben Close swung in a cross from the right that dropped to the far side of the box. Curtis was underneath it and elected to try an acrobatic effort that spun well wide of the post. Marquis was unmarked in the middle and a simple squared pass to him may have been the sensible option.

Williams made ground on the right and his low ball inside seemed likely to pick out Marquis until Hladký advanced at speed to smother the danger.

With 4 minutes to play Curtis tucked a pass out to Marcus Harness on the right and his cross dropped for Lee Brown. From 15 yards out and left of centre the Pompey defender hit a low, first-time effort across goal and just wide of the far upright.

That one could have gone in, but it would have been extremely cruel on a Salford side who had performed so well for much of the afternoon. More fitting would have been the Ammies nicking a goal right at the death, and they almost achieved that feat in the 89th minute. Touray used a little burst of pace to get away from Harness on the left and his cross dropped just beyond the far post. Raggett couldn’t get to it but Andrade did, rising to get in a close-range downwards header that MacGillivray managed to shovel away at the base of the upright.

Another good save to thwart Salford and it seemed as if the final would be heading to extra time. There would be one more half-chance before that, and it went to Pompey as Bolton pushed forward to get in a cross from the right. Williams had to adjust his position to get his head to it and in the event the ball dropped for Hladký to pick up wide of his right-hand post.

That was it for the 90 minutes and Salford had to go again, despite having deserved to secure the trophy already.


Half an hour of energy sapping extra time it was then, and the first period started encouragingly for Salford as Towell had an early shot blocked.

In the 94th minute Close played a ball across the Salford box, with a combination of Lowe and Clarke doing enough to block Curtis’ shot.

Both sides were looking to get forward in search of a winner, but chances were – unusually for this game – becoming relatively rare. 9 minutes into added time Salford introduced striker Mani Dieseruvwe for Towell, but the game’s next big chance went the way of Portsmouth.

Harness got in a cross from wide on the right, with Curtis playing the ball back inside from beyond the far post. Touray tried to get in a clearance but Williams got there first to crack in a shot that was expertly parried by Hladký. A scramble ensued around the keeper’s right-hand post, with the grounded Marquis trying to force the ball home from close range. Williams had a go too, but in the end it Hladky who dropped onto the ball and brought a panic stricken few seconds to an end.

The Ammies countered immediately with Andrade heading for the line on the left before squaring a low ball across the 6-yard box. Again a virtually open goal beckoned but with legs growing heavy there was no Salford player on hand.

The last incidents of note from the first period of time added on came during injury time as Curtis played a pass into the left-hand side of the box for Marquis. Lowe got back to pressure the Pompey striker and he was off-balance as a shot went wide of the near post. At the other side Salford went even closer as Andrade’s run ended with a cross that was volleyed onto the angle of post and bar by Dieseruvwe.


Close again for Salford and we had 15 minutes to get a winner before the final would be decided on penalty kicks.

In the 109th minute of a marathon afternoon Lowe tried a left of centre 20 yarder only to see the low effort drift comfortably wide of MacGillivray’s right-hand post.

Soon after that Michael Jacobs delivered a corner from the left for Pompey, with Whatmough heading back inside for Tom Naylor to get in a shot. Thomas-Asante – back helping the defence – blocked that one before the ball deflected away off Touray.

Portsmouth were cranking up the pressure late on and Harness found Curtis in the edge of the box. Turnbull did well to block the shot and Close’s follow up effort suffered a similar fate.

There was a blow for the Ammies with 5 minutes left as injured Tom Clarke had to leave the field, with Liam Loughlan coming on as a replacement.

Close was looking lively and advanced as soon as play resumed, nudging a pass to the left for Wiliiams whose shot was blocked by Lowe.

Salford had been under the cosh for a while but, perhaps fittingly, the last chance of the afternoon went to them. Dieseruvwe’s pass to the right found Andrade on the edge of the box but he could only lift an effort high over the bar, effectively ushering in penalties.


An entertaining game, largely dominated by Salford, with Portsmouth looking stronger during the second period of extra time. Now it was all down to a penalty shoot-out – the method Salford had used to book their place in the final following a goalless draw at Newport almost 13 months ago.

Pompey went first, but probably wished they hadn’t as Williams lifted his spot-kick over the bar. First up for Salford was LUKE BURGESS, who had come on for Wilson just before the 90-minute mark. The youngster made no mistake, slotting a low finish inside MacGillivray’s left-hand post, with the keeper committed the other way.

Curtis stepped up for Pompey, but Hladký’s leapt to his right, extending his left arm to make a good save. DIESERUVWE hit his penalty right down the middle to put the Ammies 2-0 up.

BROWN pulled one back for Portsmouth, lifting a finish high to Hladký’s left. The two-penalty lead was restored as THOMAS-ASANTE tucked the ball inside MacGillivray’s left-hand post, with the keeper going the other way.

RAGGETT had to score and did, beating Hladky’s dive to the right.

It was all down to LOWE, a player who the commentator reminded us hadn’t scored a competitive goal since 2013. This one won’t count as a goal either, but it secured silverware for Salford as a finish was lifted high to the despairing MacGillivray’s right.


A campaign that started with a 2-0 win over Aston Villa’s Under 21s in September 2019 ended this afternoon with another memorable chapter written into Salford City’s history. Following on from the play-off win at Wembley almost 2 years ago, the Ammies have maintained their 100% record at the national stadium.

They richly deserved the win too – it’s probably not unfair to say that an uninformed spectator would have assumed that the team in red was the one from a higher division.

Salford carved out a number of good chances, only to be denied by a keeper in inspired form and Pompey only looked capable of taking control of the game during that difficult 2nd period of extra time.

A hearty congratulations is due to Richie Wellens, his coaching staff and the players on duty today. Neutral observers cannot have failed to be impressed by the way they played, against a side a full division above them in league status.

We shouldn’t, of course, forget Graham Alexander and the lads who got us this far in the first place. This is very much their achievement too.

It’s taken a long time, but in the end we’ve got there – little Salford City have a proper cup in the cabinet, even if it’s for less than 24 hours.

A grand achievement and another stepping-stone for a club very much on the way up. The next comes on Tuesday when Colchester visit the Peninsula Stadium for an EFL League Two fixture. Another performance like this one would be just the ticket…