FULL TIME: Salford City 0-6 Manchester United U21s
Salford City were at the wrong end of a 6-0 home thrashing tonight against Manchester United Under-21s in the EFL Trophy.
The visitors struck first inside 10 minutes, and went on to put two more past Ammies keeper Nick Hayes, who had a nightmare Salford debut, before half-time.
Salford came out a lot livelier in the second half, but three goals in four minutes from United put the game to bed at the Peninsula Stadium.
Salford manager Graham Alexander may have been thinking strategically with the SkyBet League Two opener this Saturday against Exeter City, giving out five debuts and not naming a single player from last weekend’s Carabao Cup victory over Rotherham United.
And the first goal of the evening came after eight minutes, United’s James Garner setting up Hannibal Mejbri for a rocket shot into the roof of Hayes’ net from inside the box.
United nearly doubled their lead 10 minutes later but Anthony Elanga could only find the crossbar with his volley from an Ethan Laird cross.
Just before the half-hour mark United did make it two – Elanga cut in from the right and found Arnau Pugimal who fired it past Hayes.
The Ammies nearly pulled one back minutes later from a Brandon Thomas-Asante free-kick that forced a low dive from United Under-21 goalkeeper Nathan Bishop.
A minute after referee Peter Wright signalled the start of the second half, United found the net again as Mark Helm bundled the ball over the line from a United free-kick to give his side a three-goal lead.
Salford responded well though with some good opportunities – the best coming on the hour when Thomas-Asante found the head of debutant Dan Hawkins with a brilliant cross, but Hawkins’ header went straight into Bishop’s arms.
And Charlie McCann thumped another United goal past Hayes in the 70th minute – Helm with the assist this time.
And United scored another two quick goals to complete the rout.
Helm picked up his second goal of the night after some great counter attacking football from United, moments after Momodou Touray, who had just come on for Salford in replace of Tom Elliot, hit the post with his first touch.
And Elenga, who had been a constant threat on both wings all evening, finished off a quality run down the left flank with a cool finish into the right of the net.
Two minutes from time Richie Towell almost claimed a spectacular consolation goal, but his shot grazed the crossbar from 25 yards out.
Salford’s next game in the EFL Trophy is on 29 September against Morecambe at home, but will be looking to Saturday and Exeter City in the league opener to bounce back from this harsh defeat.