Salford City manager Graham Alexander has quashed any talk of a late title charge, despite Saturday’s heroic comeback versus Bromley seeing them rise to second in the National League.
The Ammies, who scored in the 88th and 94th minute to secure a dramatic victory, are now only one point behind league leaders Leyton Orient.
With five matches remaining for Alexander’s side, do they have what it takes to secure promotion?
⏱ 84’ | Salford City 0-1 Bromley
⏱ 90+4’ | Salford City 2-1 Bromley
— Salford City FC (@SalfordCityFC) April 1, 2019
Salford’s dramatic comeback has seen them extend their unbeaten run to seven matches, winning six in that period.
Alexander commented after the Bromley battle: “I’m delighted, elated really with the result. From despair, the bottom of the barrel when they get that late penalty and go one-nil down, they were a difficult nut to crack all game.
“The players showed unbelievable spirit and ambition to get back in the game. Even when we got the equaliser, you could see the boys were after a winner and to win in that fashion, it’s the first time we’ve done that this season and it’s such a vital stage of the season. It’s to every credit to the squad.
“We just want to win our games. If we don’t win our games, then that’s not going to happen. We just need to concentrate on winning next week now.”
“We put ourselves under enormous pressure with the run we’d been on, but the players have constantly shown this season that they can come back from bad positions and turn form round. We’ve done that again today but in a five-minute period, it’s sort of an image of the whole season.
“Any supporter, member of staff, any player here today will have enjoyed that finish and it’s important that we continue to show that spirit as the games roll on.”
Despite such impressive form, if the table remains as it is, Salford will not be automatically promoted to League Two, with only first-placed guaranteed a spot in the higher division.
And after being asked about their title chances, Alexander was keen to remain grounded.
“We just want to win our games,” he said. “If we don’t win our games, then that’s not going to happen. We just need to concentrate on winning next week now.
“You want to win games all the season through but if you don’t win at this stage of the season, the opportunities to make up the points become less and less.”
Salford next travel to bottom of the table Maidstone United, who will be relegated to the National League South if they fail to secure victory on Saturday, and Alexander has hinted that he will rotate his side.
“We’ll have a bounce game for the players that haven’t been playing to make sure they’re all match-sharp, because we’ll need them from now until the end of the season to give us the best chance of success. It’s a big game and we have to follow up this run with another winning performance.
“We must make sure that we approach the game in the best fashion, and the players are doing that. They’re training especially hard and I think that’s shown in our results.”
He concluded: “It’s just about continuing to win our games and that will build pressure on other teams around us. But, we have to focus on ourselves. We can’t win any other games going on around the country, so we have to go to Maidstone with the same ambition, motivation and spirit, and approach the game in the same way as against Bromley.”
Listen to Graham Alexander’s full post match reaction and quotes below:
In comparison to leaders Orient, Salford have a favourable run-in. Not only are they facing sides who they have already succeeded in defeating in reverse fixtures, they only have one side in the top half of the table to face in their remaining five fixtures.
On the other hand, even though The O’s have two games in hand, they still have to face Eastleigh, Sutton United, Harrogate Town and Solihull Moors consecutively – all of whom are still competing for a play-off position.
If Salford can continue to extend their rich vein of form, and Orient fail to overcome tough opposition in quick succession, they have every possibility of clinching the title at the final hurdle.
Although Alexander is keen to remain coy on their title hopes, The Ammies have great momentum heading into the climax of a closely-fought National League promotion dogfight.
You can also watch the highlights from Salford’s heroic victory over Bromley at the weekend here:
Featured image credit: PA Images/Anthony Devlin/EMPICS Sport