Match reporting by Andy Giblin
Richie Allen’s extra time goal last night saw Salford City FC progress to the fourth and final qualifying round of the FA Cup for the first time in the club’s history.
The win against Bradford Park Avenue – their 16th away victory on the trot – puts the Moor Lane side up against Southport on 24 October for a place in the first round proper of the historic cup competition.
A crowd of 426 watched both sides battle hard with multiple chances on goal.
Avenue could have taken the lead within three minutes after Luke Dean managed a good cross into the box but skipper Simon couldn’t keep his header down.
But Salford continued to defend with vim and vigour, cancelling out wave after wave of Avenue attacks.
There was a close call 12 minutes from the break when a Bradford corner left a loose ball for Craig King, but his shot went a yard high and wide of Jay Lynch’s left-hand upright.
The second half was decidedly more open than the first and the chances came thick and fast.
The home side could have gone ahead within a minute of the restart when right-back Elliot Kebbie failed to clear, leaving Jason St Juste’s low shot heading goalwards, but Chris Lynch cleared from the goal-line.
The next chance came at the other end three minutes later after Richie Allen’s powerful free-kick from the edge of the ‘D’ was blocked by Bradford’s wall.
In the 52nd minute there was more pressure on Salford’s goal when Danny Schofield had an effort blocked by a defender and when the ball went dangerously loose Chris Lynch was there again to slide in with an immaculately timed challenge.
Joe Mwasile was introduced for Jordan Hulme with Avenue making a couple of changes as both sides went in search of that elusive – and probably match-winning – goal.
But the game would go to a tense extra-time even after repeated shots on goal from both Avenue and The Ammies.
Right from the start of the first period there was an assuredness about Salford that inspired fresh confidence among the travelling support and justification arrived in the 94th minute.
Mwasile had given the Bradford defence plenty to think about since coming on and he advanced on the right before playing a low cross into the middle.
Stopforth’s touch found Allen, centrally placed and 15 yards out and he adjusted his footing expertly before directing a cool low finish past Stewart.
With two minutes to play a long ball from the back was chased towards Salford’s penalty area by Walshaw but Jay Lynch raced out of his goal to make a clearance.
That was about that for Avenue and the referee’s final whistle initiated scenes of celebration among the history-making Ammies and their vocal travelling fans.
Salford now take on Southport in nine days’ time at Moor Lane to see if more history can be made.