Salford City bowed out of the EFL Trophy with a win against Manchester United’s Under 21 side on Halloween night.

The young Ammies side survived a scare from the Red Devils to come out 4-3 winners in a thriller at the Peninsula Stadium.

Starts were given to academy players, including Kelly N’Mai, Marcus Dackers, Ben Collins, Liam Humbles and Sandro Da Costa who faced up against a United side that fielded experienced names including Shola Shoretire and Kobbie Mainoo.

Salford City v Manchester United U21’s. Photo: James McMinn

Even after a bright start with N’Mai and Dackers threatening early on Salford found themselves behind after seven minutes when goalkeeper Joe Wright spilled a header and Kobbie Mainoo latched onto the loose ball laying it back to a waiting Shola Shoretire who blasted through a crowd of Salford players to give the Reds an early lead.

Despite the youthful nature of Neil Wood’s side, it was the returning Connor McAleny who levelled the score for the Ammies on 24 minutes, after a good run down the right the winger found himself in space on the edge of box and whipped a powerful strike low into the bottom right corner.

It didn’t stay level for long, only three minutes to be precise when on 27 minutes Matty Lund scored a carbon copy of McAleny’s goal to give the Ammies a deserved 2-1 lead that they would hold until the break.

United’s youngsters came out red hot in the second half and didn’t take long to level things up again when the ball fell to Omari Forson outside the box and his shot took a huge deflection wrong-footing the goalkeeper and again levelling the game after just a minute of the second half.

The Reds continued to push and four minutes later made their pressure pay again when good work from Sam Murray down the left wing and Shoretire yet again ended up with the ball at his feet inside the area and finished clinically low into the bottom right corner to give United the lead.

The game then reached a stalemate with both teams calling each other’s bluff until just five minutes remaining when the referee, who hadn’t been the most popular with the home supporters, pointed to the spot for handball giving Matty Lund the chance to level the game. Lund dispatched expertly sending Elyh Harrison the wrong way to yet again leave it honours even.

Salford City and Manchester United observing a minute’s silence in memory of Sir Bobby Charlton. Photo: James McMinn.

It looked like the game would end that way until the 93rd minute when substitute Junior Luamba was hauled down as he tried to latch onto Kelly N’Mai’s low ball into the box, and for the second time in less than 10 minutes, the referee pointed to the spot.

Lund stepped up again, same result this time high into Harrison’s top right corner, leaving no chance for the young United stopper.

The Ammies then weathered a late flurry of balls into the box to emerge victorious and bow out of this season’s EFL trophy on a high. It was not only a great result but valuable experience gained for the Ammies youngsters against tough opposition.

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