SALFORD City reached the FA Cup first round proper for the first time in their history with a shock 1-0 win over National League strugglers Southport at a packed Moor Lane.
A spectacular lob from Manchester City scout James Poole in the second half proved the difference as the play-off chasing Evo-Stik Premier Division side earned their place in Monday’s draw.
Analysing the form book before the game, The Ammies were in irresistible form and hadn’t lost a game since 19 September when they lost 3-1 at home to Rushall Olympic.
Southport on the other hand had been in miserable form and have only picked up one victory in their last 10 games.
The opening ten minutes of the game saw both teams get an equal share of the possession and chances, the first real chance of the game fell to Southport striker Louis Almond however his shot was saved by Salford keeper’ Jay Lynch.
Salford found their way into the game more after that and began to press more up field as forwards James Poole and ex Manchester United striker Danny Webber both nearly got themselves on the scoresheet.
The remainder of the first half offered a few chances for Salford with skipper Chris Lynch almost getting his touch from a corner successful however he fluffed the shot and it went wide. The Ammies also won a free-kick on 35 minutes, but Danny Webber’s cross wasn’t met by a head and went out of play for a goal kick.
Southport nearly managed to score against the run of play on 37 minutes when winger Cole Stockton’s shot was saved easily by keeper’ Jay Lynch. This was to be the last real chance of what was a fairly uneventful half.
The second half started much like the first and remained without any real play until Southport midfielder Andy Bishop picked up a yellow card after a foul on Richie Allen. Bishop was then substituted a few minutes after, and was replaced by substitute Jack Ryan. Possession was continued to be shared equally between the two teams with no real chances until Salford striker James Poole just narrowly missed the target and shot past keeper Max Crocombe.
Salford forward Richie Allen was substituted on the hour mark and was replaced by Jordan Hulme to offer Salford a fresh pair of legs going forward. Lewis Hardcastle nearly put The Ammies in-front on 66 minutes but his shot sailed over the bar much to the disappointment of the home faithful, who had shown their voice fiercely throughout the game offering The Ammies what is so commonly referred to in football as the ‘12th man’.
It was on 69 minutes when the Salford fans were sent into raptures, as forward James Poole who took the ball down from 50 yards out and found keeper’ Crocombe way off his line to loop it way out of reach and into the back of the net, a goal which has definitely gone down in history as one of their biggest moments to date.
This offered a shock to the system of The Sandgrounders and it wasn’t long after the goal that Southport were back on the attack, however forward Charlie Joyce couldn’t convert his chance and the ball went out of play for the goal kick.
Danny Webber was substituted on 75 minutes and was replaced by Luke Clark, a move from Salford which showed their intent on holding onto their precious lead. Not many chances were generated from either side in this period and Southport forward Charlie Joyce was substituted and replaced by Paul Rutherford, which was a questionable choice after Joyce was easily Southport’s best player throughout the game.
As the game approached the 80 minute mark, Southport were desperately pressing more forward and Salford were doing everything they could to keep the ball in Southport’s half. The Salford City fans continued to be feverently behind their team and to say they played in part in the victory is an understatement, as their grit and determination showed itself to be apparent from the first whistle to the final whistle.
However it was to be a historic day in the history of Salford City FC, as they hold out for a victory which has helped them qualify for the Emirates FA Cup First Round for the first time in their history. Part-owner and Salford City fan Gary Neville was in attendance and just like the strong faithful at Moor Lane, was overcome with jubilation at the final whistle.
This memorable win offers Salford City the chance of a possible game with teams the size of Sheffield United and Wigan. Who could Salford draw in the first round?
Salford City: J Lynch (GK), Kebbie, O’Halloran, Stopforth, Howson, C Lynch ©, Hardcastle, Burton, Webber (Clark ‘74), Allen (Hulme ‘56), Poole (Sharp ‘81).
Subs not used: Mwasile, Giverin
Southport: Crocombe (GK), Challoner, Beesley, Nolan, Foster ©, Wright, Stockton, Bishop (Ryan ‘53), Jones, Joyce (Rutherford ‘79), Almond.
Subs not used: Brewster, Viscosi, Jones.
Referee: Steve Rushton (Staffordshire)
By Daniel Willis at Moor Lane