Mani Dieseruvwe scored his penalty during Salford's shoot-out win over Portsmouth
13 March 2021

Salford hold their nerve to claim first major trophy on penalties

13 March 2021

Salford won the first major trophy in their history as they deservedly won the 2020 Papa John’s Trophy by seeing off Portsmouth on penalties.

With Salford co-owners and Manchester United’s Class of ’92 members Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs watching on while Gary Neville provided television punditry, Jason Lowe would hammer home the decisive penalty to secure a 4-2 win in the shoot-out following a goalless draw which they dominated.

Taking place 342 days after the original date for the tie due to the coronavirus pandemic, both sides had to wait a further 120 minutes to decide who would be victorious, with Sky Bet League One Pompey falling to their rivals from the fourth tier.

Salford may have secured a first piece of major silverware – but they will only have their hands on the trophy until they depart Wembley, leaving with a replica as the original is sanitised and prepared for either Tranmere or Sunderland – who meet in Sunday’s 2021 final.

Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett was taking charge of an unparalleled third EFL trophy final but came into the game under pressure following a poor run of league form which has seen the south coast side slide out of the promotion picture for the time being.

His Salford counterpart, Richie Wellens, said the rearranged game was a “distraction” and a “hindrance” in his side’s league campaign as they target a spot in League One next season – but the performance from his players suggested it meant plenty to them.

Salford started the quicker of the two sides and James Wilson’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was pushed behind by Craig MacGillivray – who would go on to have a man-of-the-match display in the Portsmouth goal.

Portsmouth had begun like a team who had lost their last three and Salford got another chance as Brandon Thomas-Asante forced a low save out of MacGillivray.

Salford continued to create the chances, Jordan Turnbull the next to be kept out by MacGillivray, this time the Scottish shot-stopper getting down to his right to prevent the Ammies taking a deserved lead.

Jackett responded with a triple half-time change as Lee Brown, Ronan Curtis and Marcus Harness were introduced.

MacGillivray kept his man-of-the-match performance intact with another fine save, pushing away a close-range header from Salford skipper Ash Eastham at the midway point of the second half.

Brown guided a side-footed effort wide of the post as Portsmouth ended the 90 minutes on top – but still MacGillivray had to be at this best, this time scooping clear a downward header from Bruno Andrade.

Vaclav Hladky would be called into action as the first period of extra-time wore on, matching the magnificence of MacGillivray to keep out Ryan Williams.

Salford substitute Mani Dieseruvwe struck the angle of the goal frame with a vicious strike, with their efforts summed up by the fact they lost both Richie Towell and Tom Clarke through injury in extra-time.

As with the initial 90 minutes, it was the holders who were looking most likely to win it at the death but, as with the 2019 final some 713 days ago, the contest would be decided on penalties.

If MacGillivray had been the hero during the goalless two hours, his counterpart Hladky would surpass him in the shoot-out.

Williams ballooned Portsmouth’s first spot-kick over the crossbar with Luke Burgess sending MacGillivray the wrong way to give Salford the early advantage.

Hladky would make a superb stop to save Curtis’ effort and Salford would move further clear through Dieseruvwe’s cool penalty.

Brown made no mistake with his emphatic penalty but Thomas-Asante would score for Salford, maintaining their perfect run.

Raggett had to score for Pompey and obliged with a good strike, meaning Lowe could win it for Salford.

He would lash it home to win the shoot-out for the League Two side, leading to jubilant celebrations on the Wembley pitch.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox