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Salford City football Club

Under-18s

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Harvey Walsh was the hero as Salford City’s Under-18s qualified for the FA Youth Cup Third Round for the second season running.

The young Ammies had led 2-0 against Port Vale at The Peninsula Stadium thanks to goals from Lucas Kirnon and Ben Finley either side of half time.

A James Plant brace though, with the second goal coming in the fifth minute of injury time from the penalty spot, pulled the visitors level to force extra time.

The game had few chances throughout but after coming on as a substitute Walsh took his when it came to him in the second half of extra time from a fantastic free kick, sending Salford into the Third Round.

The visitors have had a mixed start to the season, but made a bright start to the game and in the first minute won a free kick on the left. A decent delivery allowed Ellis Jones to have a go with his head, but the captain glanced it over. Salford struggled to clear their lines and Vale won another free kick, more central this time, but Tommy McDermott’s delivery floated out of play.

In the ninth minute the Valiants had a slice of fortune as Kyle Cooper’s clearance came off Alfie Henderson and ran down the right for James Plant, but although he got plenty of power behind the near post shot Brad Rose did well to save.

Salford had taken an unusually long time to settle or even get going, but in the 26th minute started to find their feet. A pass through to Stephen Padrao on the left allowed the winger to cut back and pick out Henderson but his attempt to place the ball into the top right curled over.

That instigated a period of pressure by Salford on Vale’s defensive third, but still clear cut chances remained a rarity. From a corner just past the half hour mark Kirnon had a shot blocked at close range with possession coming to Djavan Pedro outside the area, but on the turn he could only fire over. Joe Collinge made a disaster of the ensuing goal kick though, playing it straight to Finley on the right who advanced with Pedro in the middle, however he couldn’t pick out his team mate and the ball flashed just past the far post.

Finley’s influence on the game was starting to grow and a good touch in the middle let him set up Padrao to cross for Pedro in the middle, but Emanuel Igiehon’s header took it away from the lurking striker. However a goal did eventually come for Salford in the second minute of stoppage time as Vale couldn’t clear their box of a corner, with Kirnon forcing the ball over the line from a couple of yards out.

HALF TIME: Salford City Under-18s 1-0 Port Vale Under-18s

It could have been a classic case of “half time at the wrong time” as Salford finished the half better than they started, but fortunately it wasn’t and the home side came out still on the front foot. Another poor Collinge clearance in the 49th minute again came to Finley who picked out Liam Humbles at the top of the box, but the midfielder’s low shot was wide of the left post from just left of centre.

Another decent opening came five minutes later when Pedro escaped on the right and squared a pass into Finley, but his touch was straight at Collinge who made the point blank save. Finley’s moment would come two minutes later though and again Pedro was the architect as he flicked a throw-in from the left onto his fellow forward, with Finley taking a touch to get half a yard and fire past Collinge.

Vale got the ball forward from the restart and Abdi Osman stretched to head a cross that went up into the air and dropped flush onto the crossbar. It bounced straight back up but Brad Rose was on hand to catch the dropping ball.

The visitors were starting to find a foothold back in the game, and they made that just a bit firmer in the 68th minute after Plant was played into the area on the right, and on contact went down to win a penalty. His first attempt wasn’t great and lacked power which allowed Rose to drop to his right and block, but Plant followed in to lift the follow-up over Rose and pull a goal back for Vale.

It wasn’t exactly the moment that spurred the visitors into action and the game settled back into one without much flow or rhythm. Finley’s powerful effort off the let that was smothered by Collinge was about the most that happened of any note before injury time.

Play was heading Salford’s way as Donovan Lescott hit a shot from the edge of the box that was saved and gathered by Collinge, with possession subsequently ending up in the corner with Pedro. Some confusion over a decision resulted in a goal kick for the visitors, and with the ball rolling up the right Collins and Osman chased 50/50. The ball continued to roll as Lucas Berry came across to see it out for a goal kick, but a tangle between the other two ended up with Vale being awarded a second spot kick and this time Plant put a bit more power behind his effort that crept under Rose.

FULL TIME: Salford City Under-18s 2-2 Port Vale Under-18s

Extra time took its time to liven up, and it wasn’t until the last five minutes of the first half that anything started to happen. Pedro did well on the right to get past Igiehon in the 103rd minute, but still under pressure sliced his shot over the bar. Following that was a patient move that Humbles tried to end with a shot from the edge of the box that was blocked at close range, and initiated a Vale break. Plant picked up possession around halfway and ran forward, to the right of the area, and shot but Rose stuck a strong hand out to tip it away and Salford cleared.

It was still rather chance-less when Collins was tugged back in a central position as he roamed forward in the 110th minute. Up stepped Walsh to take, and an exquisite strike that was judged perfectly dipped between keeper and bar, and sent Salford through.

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