Salford City progressed to the Emirates FA Cup Second Round for only the second time ever with a 2-0 win against Hartlepool United, after extra time.
Bruno Andrade scored his first Ammies goal towards the end of the first period of extra time, with Mani Dieseruvwe finishing the job in the final minute.
Hosts Salford dominated the first half in terms of possession and chances, although Pools went closest to breaking the deadlock when Claudio Ofosu’s deflected shot came off the inside of the goal frame.
The visitors, who are chasing promotion from The National League, improved after the break and tested Salford more often with no luck in front of goal themselves and the game entered extra time with no replays in this season’s competition.
Salford finally seized the initiative, led by Brandon Thomas-Asante who nicked possession off a dithering Ryan Johnson and won a throw-in which he took quickly. Ian Henderson was the recipient in behind the Pools defence, and his squared ball found an unmarked Andrade to tap-in.
Lewis Cass missed a couple of great opportunities after the restart, and as Pools pushed for an equaliser they were caught on the break in the last minute much like they did to Salford in 2015’s Second Round replay. Oscar Threlkeld initiated the move, shifting possession to Ash Hunter and a perfect ball found Dieseruvwe who set himself for a shot into the far post.
It took it’s time but Wellens was happy to pick up a win after an intense start to his tenure.
“I think first half we was pretty good at times, complete control of the game, I thought in transitions that was really the only problems we had but in the second half we weren’t great, we gave the ball away far too many times, it was open, easy passes.
“But the biggest thing to be pleased with today is we showed a winning attitude, especially the last five minutes, putting bodies on the line, defending it, Bruno Andrade’s scoring at one end then he’s clearing a header in the six-yard box.
“It’s been a really tough three days for me, you can tell by my voice it’s gone, emotionally I’m quite drained but it’s a good start.
“The attitude of the players was really, really good. They’re a good group, I’m going to start demanding more off them, and again someone like Andrade and Mani who’ve not been involved in recent weeks, they come on and affect the game which I’m really pleased about as well.
“I have to give credit to Warren who in the last two or three days has been a pleasure to work with; he’s very knowledgable, probably more passionate and talks about football more than me which is pretty hard, I’m really pleased with how it turned out, he made that decision that won the game.”
The Portuguese bagged his first goal since signing from Lincoln in January, and says he hopes to kick-on from here.
“I feel like it’s been a long time coming, frustrating time as well but I’m just glad that I got one under my belt and hopefully now more will come.
“The last couple of weeks has been a frustrating time for myself, having little niggles here and there and obviously the transition of the manager as well, so I’ve just been trying to show what I can do and watching the game today I was just itching to come on and do something, make an impact and I think I’ve done that today.
“It’s always nice to see how far you can get and test yourself against different opponents, so I’m just glad we’re through and look forward to seeing who we’ve got.”
The draw for the next round takes place on Monday night, live on BBC 2 after 7pm. Next up for Salford is a crunch game at Rochdale in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday night (KO 19:00).