Salford City beat Workington to secure Evo-Stik Premier Division promotion

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SALFORD CITY will be playing Vanarama National League North football next season after a late turnaround to beat Workington 3-2 in the Evo-Stik Premier Division play-off final at Moor Lane.

It took the visitors only five minutes to score the opening goal of the game, when Workington defender Kyle May got space in the box and headed past beleaguered Salford goalkeeper Jay Lynch.

Being the final and easily most important game of the season, both teams were offering no reprieve and possession early on was shared equally between both teams.

Salford star strikers James Poole and Danny Webber were both hot in form, and were testing the Workington defence on regular occasions, and a free kick from Poole on 10 minutes almost found the goal.

The attack finally paid dividends for the Ammies on 13 minutes however, when from a John Johnston cross, full back Stephen O’Halloran headed in an equaliser which sent the home fans into raptures.

The celebrations didn’t last long though, as on 19 minutes the Workington Reds were back in front through the third headed goal of the game by forward Gareth Arnington.

Play between the two teams remained balanced through the rest of the first half, with Salford creating more chances on the whole – however their lack of clinical finishing let them down, and they and the loyal Ammies fans went into half-time disappointed.

As the second-half began, both teams started the way they finished – Salford were making chances but not finishing them, and this become painfully evident on 52 minutes when James Poole was through on goal only to have his attempted lob saved by Workington keeper Alex Mitchell.

Ex-Manchester United star Danny Webber also wasn’t having the best of games, and was replaced on 63 minutes by Gareth Seddon, the star who put the Ammies through to the final with his wonder strike last Wednesday.

By the hour-mark of the game, it appeared that Workington were well on their way to shockingly-securing a place in the National League North, with them managing to maintain the Salford pressure, and being able to quell any danger before it got too close to their goal.

The Ammies continued to press, and made another substitution on 77 minutes by bringing on winger Liam Clarke in place of John Johnston. This appeared to be the game changer – with Salford revitalised with the introduction of two new players, they continued to press on and were making serious chances.

Their attempts then proved fruitful on 79 minutes, as after a cross from Clarke, defender Billy Priestley headed to the goalkeepers right and once again, blew the proverbial roof off of Moor Lane and put the Ammies back on level terms.

Now with the game completely back in the balance, Salford and Workington were now neck and neck pushing for the win, and after an attack by the visitors – it was the home side who got the all vital fifth goal.

After a throw-in just in line with the penalty box, a goalmouth scramble in the area resulted in a goal by experienced Ammies forward Jordan Hulme. The late goal not only put Salford well in contention for promotion, but by listening to the home fans at Moor Lane, you’d be fooled to think the game was already over!

The final six minutes were relatively simple for Salford to hold onto the lead, and other than some slight pressure outside the Salford box on 89 minutes, promotion was secured and in the bag for the Ammies.

Another brilliant season for Salford, and another step closer to achieving the dream of reaching the football league. Now only two divisions away from league football, are Salford City already daring to dream of yet another promotion next season?

Teams:

Salford City:  Lynch, Gumbs, Howson (c), Priestley, O’Halloran, Stopforth, Burton, Johnston (Clark ’77), Poole (Moses ’89), Webber (Seddon ’63), Hulme.
Subs not used:  Mswalie, Dootson.

Workington:  Mitchell, Simpson, Smith, May, Calbert, Wright, McGee (Hebson ’23), Wilson, Allison, Arnison, Tinnion.
Subs not used: Tymon, Hammel, Jamieson, Studholme.

Referee:  Matthew Dicicco (Cleveland)
Attendance:  1597

By Dan Willis at Moor Lane
@DanJWillis_

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