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Papa Johns Trophy

Match report: Salford City make history at Wembley

The Ammies win the 2020 Papa John's Trophy at Wembley Stadium!

13 March 2021

Salford City won their first trophy as an EFL club in dramatic fashion, beating League One Portsmouth 4-2 on penalties following a 0-0 draw after extra-time at Wembley Stadium.

The Ammies were deserving of the victory, more than matching their opponents throughout, and might have won the game in normal time but for an incredible individual performance from Pompey goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray. 

With the scores level after 90 and then 120 minutes, Richie Wellens' men scored all four of their spot-kicks as Portsmouth faltered from 12 yards, in turn winning the Trophy for the first time in their history, and at the first attempt.

The first of two Finals in an historic weekend of football at the National Stadium, the match was about more than just a game of football.

Exactly one year on from football being postponed in England and Wales, Portsmouth and Salford were finally able to compete for silverware on the hallowed turf of Wembley, both looking to write their names in the history books.  

Holders Portsmouth were looking to become the first-ever side to win back-to-back Finals and retain the trophy, while Salford were looking to lift the trophy for the first time in their history and at the first time of asking. With just one division separating the sides and both in the hunt for promotion, it was set up to be an exciting contest.  

It was the League Two side who started brightest, James Wilson with the first chance of the game. Oscar Threlkeld dispossessed the Portsmouth midfield, allowing Wilson to run into space before unleashing a powerful strike at MacGillivray in the Portsmouth goal, who strongly palmed the shot behind for a corner.

From there, the Ammies enjoyed a spell of both possession and pressure. Pompey were again caught in possession as Brandon Thomas-Asante dispossessed Charlie Daniels at left-back, allowing Salford another chance to run at goal. His low shot across goal was pushed away by MacGillivray to deny the Ammies the opener. It was a busy afternoon for MacGillivray who was one again called into action to deny Wilson, this time getting down low to stop the striker's effort. 

Hungry for a first major trophy in English football, Salford came closer and closer and almost broke the deadlock as Ash Hunter came just inches away from turning in Wilson’s shot across the goalkeeper. 

An impressive spell of pressure from the League Two side and, after two minutes of added time, Kenny Jackett’s side welcomed the half-time whistle.  

Three changes for Portsmouth at half-time signalled a sign of intent from Jackett, with Ronan Curtis involved in the action straight away. The Pompey winger got the better of his defender, before unleashing a right-footed strike in the penalty area. Hladky was well positioned however, and able to make the save to deny Portsmouth the opening goal. 

Curtis continued to look lively for the holders, but it was matched by the Ammies who continued to pose a threat through Thomas-Asante down the right-hand side. Wellens’ side very nearly went ahead as captain Ash Eastham met an inviting Ibou Touray cross, but MacGillivray was there again to pull off an outstanding reaction save from point-black range, keeping Jackett’s side in the game. 

It was Portsmouth’s turn to apply the pressure next, Curtis again involved, as a lofted ball in from substitute Ben Close found the winger in acres of space inside the area. As the flag stayed down, it looked to be a certain goal but Curtis unable to make clean contact on the volley saw his effort sail over the bar. 

The holders almost went ahead minutes later, this time Lee Brown saw his side-footed volley from just inside the area go inches wide of the post. 

The hero of the 2019 Final here at Wembley, MacGillivray looked set to repeat his heroics. With extra-time looming, the impressive keeper was called into action once more for Pompey, this time to deny Bruno Andrade, whose header inside the six-yard box looked destined for goal. An eighth save of the game for MacGillivray. 

With nothing to separate the sides after 90 minutes, it was extra-time at Wembley. 

Curtis was involved again following the restart, as he met a squared ball across the area from Close, only to see his effort well blocked by the Salford defence. There were more goalkeeping heroics to come, this time from Hladky in the Salford goal as Portsmouth went agonisingly close on the stroke of half-time in extra-time following an effort from Ryan Williams.  

Just as Pompey looked to be taking control of the game, Mani Dieseruvwe of Salford saw his volley from the edge of the area clip the outside of the post, in what would have been an outstanding finish. 

Williams came closest to scoring in the second-half of extra-time, only to see his effort from inside the area well blocked by a resilient Salford defence.

And so to penalties...

Ryan Williams stepped up first for Portsmouth, and set the tone for what was to prove a disappointing shoot-out for Pompey, putting his effort well over the bar. It was followed by Curtis' effort being well saved, as Salford kept their cool. 

It was left to Jason Lowe to score the winning penalty, sparking scenes of celebration among the Ammies ranks. History made, in a day all associated with the club will never forget.

Portsmouth: MacGillivray, Naylor (c), Whatmough, Williams, Marquis (Jacobs 105'), Bolton, Byers (Close 73'), Raggett, Daniels (Brown 45'), White (Curtis 45'), Hiwula (Harness 45')

Subs not used: Ward, Nicolaisen


Booked: Bolton, Brown


Salford City: Hladky, Lowe, Eastham, Clarke (Loughlan 115'), Turnbull, Touray, Threlkeld, Towell (Dierseruvwe 99'), Thomas-Asante, Hunter (Andrade 73'), Wilson (Burgess 86')

Subs not used: Evans, Hawkins, Felding


Booked: Towell, Lowe, Touray

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