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Manager Gary Bowyer was encouraged by the performance of his young Salford City side, despite defeat to Tranmere Rovers.

The much more experienced Rovers won 2-0 with goals coming in each half from Ryan Watson and substitute Stephen Walker, securing progression from the group for last year’s finalists.

Watson’s header in the 16th minute gave the visitors the advantage as they controlled the first half, and Zach Jeacock prevented it from being more as he saved from Paul Glatzel and Nicky Maynard, while Mark Duffy and Joe Maguire also had decent sighters.

After the break though Salford started to play with more enthusiasm and after Donald Love volleyed wide, Brandon Thomas-Asante lifted a free kick over the bar and Tylor Golden had a pretty convincing penalty shout turned down following a clumsy challenge in the box. 

Ben Rydel’s swinging free-kick then drew a decent save from Joe Murphy, who also had to be alert to deny Kelly N’Mai from a tight angle late on, and that left the platform for substitute Walker to finish clinically on the break.

The Ammies need to beat Leeds United Under-21s, a four-goal swing in goal difference, and Oldham to lose at Tranmere in the last group game to progress, but the Gaffer says that what he has learned about his younger players is valuable.

“We made the decision that we were going to make the amount of changes that we did, we made nine changes from Saturday, and it was pleasing from a club point of view today that we had six players that have either developed from the Academy or the B-team playing tonight.

“That shows the progress that the club’s made already that this is our third season as a Football League club, to have that many already that have come through your own system and played in that tonight, and some of them have given really good accounts of themselves,

“They’re playing against a really experienced Tranmere team which has been a real good test for them so lots of positives to take from that. Obviously we were disappointed with the manner of their two goals, and we felt we might have had a penalty in there tonight but the lads kept going and I was pleased with some of the things that they did.

“Throughout the course of the season you always look at who you can rely on and who you can trust, and I think the big thing for us is that word trust, and some tonight have shown that we can, we can trust them and that’s the big bonus for us.”

Our final group game against Leeds takes place on Tuesday 2nd November, KO 19:00. Tickets will be available from Monday 11th October online or from the ticket office.

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