Salford City victorious as Ammies cruise through Play-Off final


AFC Fylde were left to rue their many missed chances as Salford City won 3-0 at Wembley in the National League Promotion Final.

The Coasters came agonisingly close to opening the scoring in the first minute, but Mani Dieseruvwe’s clever finish after a defensive mishap between Danny Rowe and Luke Burke separated the two sides at the interval.

A thunderous header from Carl Piergianni doubled the Ammies’ lead midway through the second half before Ibou Touray’s cross crept over the line with the assistance of the post, sending Salford into the Football League for the first time in the club’s history.

It was a day of celebration for the Ammies supporters who had made the 213-mile trip to Wembley; however, it could have been a much different story had Fylde taken their early chances.

The Coasters were presented an excellent opportunity to open the scoring in the first minute when Dan Bradley’s low-cross flew across the face of goal, but Alex Reid was a pace behind play and unable to convert at the far-post.

Luke Burke’s overlapping run behind Reid tested Salford’s defensive capabilities once more, but Carl Piergianni stood firm to Reid’s eventual attacking effort.

And Fylde were made to rue their missed chances when, on fifteen minutes, Devonte Redmond’s freekick fortuitously fell at the feet of Dieseruvwe who made no mistake from three yards after Rowe and Burke failed to clear their lines.

Burke’s attacking drive moments before the opening goal proved to be at a gear too high, however, as Fylde were forced into an early change with the full-back suffering from cramp.

The introduction of Nick Haughton ahead of Burke only boosted the Coaster’s hopes of drawing a leveller, however, as the attacking midfielder ramped up Fylde’s attacking prowess.

Having netted 27 goals for the Coasters this term, Rowe was unable to convert any of Haughton’s excellent passes into space, instead wastefully shooting over on three different occasions.

The Coasters best chance to open their account occurred twelve minutes before the break as Haughton and Andy Bond linked-up just inside the box, although the experienced defender was unable to keep his effort low and fizzed over.

Haughton featured once more when he squirmed into the box, but the substitute’s shot from a tight angle was blocked well by the leaders as Fylde entered the break knowing they had plenty to do.

If Fylde were going to achieve promotion before the 2022 ambitions, as signalled on their shirt’s sleeves, Dave Challinor’s side desperately needed to make their chances count in the second half.

Graham Alexander guided Salford City to the Football League. Credit: Matt Lee

But it was the side owned by Manchester United’s famous Class of 92 who looked the more likely to score after the break.

Daniel Whitehead teed up Lois Maynard on the edge-of-the-box which Zaine Francis-Angol reacted quickest to defend against, but the Coasters were unable to keep their opposition at bay for much longer.

Ibou Touray’s pin-point corner swirled into the box and Piergianni rose virtually unmarked to power a header past the helpless Lynch.

And things turned from bad to worse for the Coasters as Touray switched from providing the goals to getting the goals as his cross from the left crept over the line at the far post.

Fylde could do very little to overturn the three-goal deficit but came close to grabbing a mere consolation goal when Danny Philliskirk forced a low save from Chris Neal.

The Coasters thought they had got the sole goal to send their supporters home with at least a glimmer of a smile, but their cheers were sarcastically echoed by the Salford fans after substitute James Hardy curled into the side-netting.

It was just not to be for Challinor’s side as Salford’s took full advantage of the Coasters’ wastefulness by scoring three without reply and securing their promotion into England’s elite top-four divisions.


About Author

When not busy covering local news for EssexLive, Matt Lee can be found in the press box at Portman Road covering Ipswich Town's return to the Championship and push for the Premier League.

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