Portsmouth 0-0 Salford (2-4 pens): Class of '92's first major title

Portsmouth 0-0 Salford City (2-4 on pens): Jason Lowe smashes in winning penalty to bag Class of ’92 club’s first major trophy… with Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Roy Keane there to witness Papa John’s Trophy glory

  • Wembley hosted the EFL Trophy final, with Salford and Portsmouth clashing
  • Vaclav Hladky and Craig MacGillivray made some heroic saves to keep it 0-0
  • Salford made the most chances and deserved to seal the victory in normal time
  • Pompey missed their first two penalties before Lowe bagged the winning strike 

This was more wet weekender than Wembley Weekender – especially amid a half-time hailstorm – but Salford City will not care about the aesthetics after a penalty-shootout victory landed their first piece of Football League silverware.

Watched by co-owners Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes inside an empty and eerie Wembley, Jason Lowe struck the winning spot-kick after Portsmouth’s efforts from 12 yards had reflected the shoddiness of their previous 120 minutes.

This EFL Trophy Final should have been played 12 months ago and, in truth, it was not worth the wait – goalless and soulless just about captures it, at least until the euphoria of Salford’s trophy presentation. 

Salford City claimed their first major title by beating Portsmouth in the Papa John’s Trophy

Jason Lowe scored the winning spot-kick after the match went to penalties with a 0-0 score

Vaclav Hladky had a strong game to keep Pompey out as Salford took control of the game

From a Pompey perspective, the 50,000 supporters who got a refund on their tickets were the lucky ones. Perhaps drawing lots at the onset of last year’s pandemic would have made for more entertainment.

The League One club were the defending champions having beaten Sunderland here during a penalty shootout two years ago.

But they did not appear particularly motivated in retaining their crown and Salford, of League Two, were the deserved victors on the balance of chances created.

So Richie Wellens’ side are the new holders of the Papa John’s Trophy – at least until Sunday afternoon when this season’s final between Sunderland and Tranmere takes place. Hence, the “Wembley Weekender” big sell from the EFL. Let us hope that game offers more than this.

Paul Scholes, Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs were in attendance to see the Class of 92 take glory

Gary Neville was also at Wembley to oversee the match after buying the club in non-league

A division may separate these sides but you would not have known as much during a first half in which Salford played with freedom and purpose, while Pompey looked like a team who had lost five of their last seven.

Those on the pitch may have been lethargic and ponderous but their manager was readying a far more decisive act and Kenny Jackett made three substitutions at half-time.

By that point Pompey were lucky in the extreme to still be on level terms, and for that they had goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray to thank.

Twice inside the opening 25 minutes he denied former Manchester United striker James Wilson, who took aim from range before seeing a near-post flick clatter into the knee of MacGillivray.

Salford kept their cool from the spot and finally earned the deserved win in the shoot-out 

The keeper had shipped eight in his previous three matches but he looked determined not to be beaten here and he plucked Jordan Turnbull’s goal-bound hook from the bottom corner on 39 minutes.

Jackett’s interval shake-up brought a momentary improvement and substitute Ronan Curtis skipped clear within 30 seconds of the restart only for Salford goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky to block from the forward’s lofted finish.

That, however, was not a signpost for a period of Pompey pressure as Jackett would have no doubt hoped and they were soon on the retreat.

Neville was out of his seat and in the early throes of celebration when Salford skipper Ash Eastham flashed a header on goal from a set-piece. But he was soon slumped back in it when MacGillivray extended a forearm to save instinctively.

But as bad as Pompey had been, they should have won it 10 minutes from time when substitute Ben Close dropped a delightful pass into the unmarked Curtis eight yards from goal. He, though, opted for the spectacular when a routine finish was required and he ended up looking stupid as the ball was sliced wide.

Despite being a division above the Manchester side Portsmouth couldn’t impose themselves

There was still time for another MacGillivray stop before the end of 90 minutes, scooping from the bottom corner after substitute Bruno Andrade headed what he thought was the winning goal.

Another substitute, Mani Dieseruvwe, saw his volley clip the angle of post and bar in extra-time as Salford pressed for what would have been a worthy victory.

And they had that after a shootout in which MacGillivray was unable to repeat his earlier heroics. Ryan Williams and Curtis missed Pompey’s first two efforts and they failed to recover as Salford netted all four of their spot-kicks.

From a Pompey perspective, the 50,000 supporters who got a refund on their tickets were the lucky ones. Perhaps drawing lots at the onset of last year’s pandemic would have made for more entertainment.

The League One club were the defending champions having beaten Sunderland here during a penalty shootout two years ago.

But they did not appear particularly motivated in retaining their crown and Salford, of League Two, were the deserved victors on the balance of chances created.

Salford will be holders until Sunday when Sunderland and Tranmere play this year’s EFL final

So Richie Wellens’ side are the new holders of the Papa John’s Trophy – at least until Sunday afternoon when this season’s final between Sunderland and Tranmere takes place. Hence, the “Wembley Weekender” big sell from the EFL. Let us hope that game offers more than this.

A division may separate these sides but you would not have known as much during a first half in which Salford played with freedom and purpose, while Pompey looked like a team who had lost five of their last seven.

Those on the pitch may have been lethargic and ponderous but their manager was readying a far more decisive act and Kenny Jackett made three substitutions at half-time.

By that point Pompey were lucky in the extreme to still be on level terms, and for that they had goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray to thank.

Twice inside the opening 25 minutes he denied former Manchester United striker James Wilson, who took aim from range before seeing a near-post flick clatter into the knee of MacGillivray.

Pompey struggled to threaten Salford in the 120 minutes and still looked shaky on penalties 

The keeper had shipped eight in his previous three matches but he looked determined not to be beaten here and he plucked Jordan Turnbull’s goal-bound hook from the bottom corner on 39 minutes.

Jackett’s interval shake-up brought a momentary improvement and substitute Ronan Curtis skipped clear within 30 seconds of the restart only for Salford goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky to block from the forward’s lofted finish.

That, however, was not a signpost for a period of Pompey pressure as Jackett would have no doubt hoped and they were soon on the retreat.

Neville was out of his seat and in the early throes of celebration when Salford skipper Ash Eastham flashed a header on goal from a set-piece. But he was soon slumped back in it when MacGillivray extended a forearm to save instinctively.

But as bad as Pompey had been, they should have won it 10 minutes from time when substitute Ben Close dropped a delightful pass into the unmarked Curtis eight yards from goal. He, though, opted for the spectacular when a routine finish was required and he ended up looking stupid as the ball was sliced wide.

Salford’s charge up the leagues has been given a new boost with the superb achievement 

There was still time for another MacGillivray stop before the end of 90 minutes, scooping from the bottom corner after substitute Bruno Andrade headed what he thought was the winning goal.

Another substitute, Mani Dieseruvwe, saw his volley clip the angle of post and bar in extra-time as Salford pressed for what would have been a worthy victory.

And they had that after a shootout in which MacGillivray was unable to repeat his earlier heroics. Ryan Williams and Curtis missed Pompey’s first two efforts and they failed to recover as Salford netted all four of their spot-kicks.

Neville filmed the celebrations on his mobile phone – and at least they will make for better viewing than the football.

Neville filmed the celebrations on his mobile phone – and at least they will make for better viewing than the football.




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