Salford City Under-18s came from behind to win 2-1 against Tranmere Rovers and book a place in the FA Youth Cup Third Round for the first time ever!
Despite an early setback when Ryan Stratulis drilled in a free kick after four minutes, the young Ammies levelled things up before half time when Jaden Timmis scored from an Anton Smith corner.
Tranmere stopper Ben Jones had made a number of decent saves, but was culpable for the winner after trying to keep out a Ben Finley cross with his feet, only to see the ball spin away to his left and cross the line.
Victory means we will host our neighbours and 10-time winners Manchester United in the next round.
Visitors Tranmere started on the front foot, relatively fresh off a defeat in the EFL Youth Alliance at the weekend. In the fourth minute Demetrius Rhami was brought down 30 yards from goal as he lined a shot up, and Stratulis stepped up to drill a low shot under the wall, deceiving Hayden Evans to open the scoring.
Salford took control and created a couple of half chances, without seriously testing Ben Jones, before Ben Rydel hit a decent looking chance that the stopper gathered. He was at his best in the 22nd minute to deny Tom Shepherd from a drilled shot.
Stratulis was the danger man for Tranmere and on the half hour played in Michael Quinn whose rising shot was caught by Evans. The visitors could have doubled their in a good little spell that saw Rhami denied by Cerny Ando, and Cameron Ferguson hit a low shot with not enough conviction to beat Evans.
Those missed opportunities soon came back to roost as Salford pushed on late in the half. Finley advanced on the right and won a corner which was cleared to Rydel who tried an ambitious shot that was deflected for a second corner. Smith delivered from the right and it dropped for Timmis who glanced a header that may have taken a decisive touch off Louis Shead, but either way looped over Ben Jones and in for the equaliser.
The Whites again made a good start in the second half and Stratulis hit a free kick from the left touchline that forced Evans into a save, with the resulting corner cleared.
A succession of chances before the hour mark should have seen The Ammies re-take the lead; Smith took a corner short to Shepherd who whipped in a shot from the left that was saved by Ben Jones. Lucas Berry picked up possession on the right and curled a cross in that Ben Jones pushed away from a corner which came to Rydel whose dipping shot hit the stanchion behind the goal.
The visiting keeper then nearly had a huge slice of luck as he slammed a clearance upfield which was caught in the wind, but the back-peddling Evans kept the freak effort out. Moments later he was in action to deny substitute, and First Round hero, Djavan Pedro twice from close range.
15 minutes from time came the decisive moment, and it came from a poor error of judgement. Sam Carr’s committed challenge conceded a free kick wide on the left which Stratulis decided to shoot from, and Evans made a comfortable save. From the back it was worked up the right where Finley drove forward and into the area before slamming in a low cross that Ben Jones turned into his own net.
With only a couple of minutes to go Tranmere had a chance to level things up after Pedro swung at a bouncing ball and caught Ethan Jones. From a central position and a good 30 yards Stratulis went for the shot, but it was a comfortable height for Evans and Salford progressed to the Third Round.
SALFORD: Evans, Kirnon, Perry, Rydel (c), Berry, Ando (Carr 46’), Shepherd, Timmis, Ghaly (Pedro 58’), Smith, Finley.
Subs: Rose (GK), Roberts, Carr, Pedro, Collins, Jones, Bartram.