Manager Graham Alexander has praised his Salford City side after they progressed to the Third Round of the Leasing.com Trophy with a 3-0 defeat of Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Ammies coasted to a comprehensive victory, with ‘keeper Kyle Letheren forced into only one save by the Wolves youngsters in front of 505 spectators at a mild Peninsula Stadium.

 

The travelling Midlands outfit had the first attempt of note shortly before the half-hour mark, when Elliot Watt set his sights from 30-yards with a free-kick, but Letheren proved untroubled.

With two minutes until the interval, Salford took the lead when Luke Armstrong converted on the rebound when Andreas Sondergaard parried Jake Jervis’ strike.

The Ammies tightened their grip on the tie soon after the restart; with Armstrong and Jervis combining again, as the former stooped to head home the latter’s cross and double his account for the evening in the process.

As the game opened up, Salford advanced in search of a third goal. Their domination was rewarded when Richie Towell topped off an impressive performance with an emphatic volley; three minutes before the final whistle.

Salford City Manager Graham Alexander (Credit: Salford City – Charlotte Tattersall)

A buoyed Alexander said: “To be honest, looking at how the team played and how we wanted them to play, they carried it off to the tee, I thought they were superb.

“Their intensity, pressing and discipline in the shape was excellent off the ball, and with the ball we created some good opportunities, played at a good pace and didn’t over-complicate things.

“I’m delighted to go through to the next round. I saw Wolves play against Blackpool a few weeks ago and they were really good. They move the ball well, they’ve got fast, strong players with a lot of technique, but I thought we managed their threats really well and deservedly won the game.”

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Alexander paid a tribute to forward Armstrong, whose double on the evening took his tally for the club to three, since his summer arrival from Middlesbrough.

He said: “I was delighted for Luke to get a brace, he works exceptionally hard on the training pitch and in the games, possibly too much sometimes, you want to calm him down and do his bit for the team and not try and do everything.

“But two quality finishes and topped off with Richie’s strike from outside the box, which was a really great controlled volley, so I thought there were some strong performances from everyone and when you get that from the majority of your team, the team plays well.”

Salford will learn their opponent in the next stage on Thursday evening, with only three victories needed to progress through the Northern Section and reach the Final at Wembley.

Alexander remained coy on looking too far into the future:

“The aim is to get into the next round and then compete as well as we did and try and win the next game. Every competition we enter, we try and win the game.

“It’s not a switch you can flick on and off when you go out to compete and you’re representing your club and the people of Salford. You have to go out there to try and win the game.

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“Whatever team we’ve put out in this competition they’ve gone and competed at a great level. We’re happy that we’ve won the three games; we don’t know who we’ll get in the next round, but we’ll be looking for a similar performance.

“And we want a similar performance on Saturday as well, because it’s the next big challenge (Colchester away) and I want to see that intensity and trust in each other and another result like that wouldn’t go amiss.”

Luke Armstrong in action (Credit: Salford City – Charlotte Tattersall)

Alexander, who had recently highlighted his side’s lack of goals at home, praised The Ammies’ clinical nature in front of goal versus Wolves.

“We’re trying to work on aspects we need to improve on and our home form, scoring goals at home has cost us points and if we can improve that then we’d be in a much healthier position in the league.

“We’re not far off the play-off and promotion picture, so if we can make a 5% increase and improvement in that aspect, I think it will improve our results, league position and our points tally.

“We had an end product and that’s what we’ve got to continue to do. We always try to play in an attacking way with attacking players, but we probably haven’t scored enough goals for our liking certainly at home, so if we can improve that, then it’ll be great for the team.”

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