ENGLISH SCHOOLS’ F A TROPHY 3rd ROUND
SALFORD BOYS 5 WAKEFIELD BOYS 1
After two away victories at Lancaster and Harrogate in the preceding rounds, Salford Schools’ under 15s were rewarded with a home Third Round tie against West Yorkshire side Wakefield in the English Schools’ Trophy competition at Lower Broughton on Saturday morning.
An evenly contested opening first half gave little indication of what was to be in store for Salford supporters after the break. From the first minute of the second period a comprehensive all-round display from the home side allied with some scintillating goals combined to set up a quarter final tie away at either East Riding or Chester-le-Street in a fortnight’s time.
There was very little between the two sides for the first half hour of this ESFA Trophy encounter. Weather conditions were decent for a game of football but both Salford and Wakefield struggled to get into a settled pattern of play early on with loose passes being the order of the day.
Goal scoring opportunities were limited with neither keeper being severely tested. This changed in the 34th minute when a looping shot from distance from Salford’s Ted Lavelle was palmed onto the woodwork by the visiting keeper, Salford’s Sunyol Koo was quickest to react to the rebound and gladly directed the ball into the back of the net to give Salford the lead.
The opening goal seemed to enthuse the home side and minutes later Adam Pike brought a great save from the keeper at the expense of a corner. From the resulting corner kick Pike again tested the keeper with a close-range header. So, the teams were separated by Koo’s goal as the half time whistle blew.
Salford showed their intent from the opening minute of the second period. Zack Stritch, who had just entered the fray, struck the base of the upright with an excellent, low strike from well outside the penalty box. Ten minutes later the Wakefield keeper parried a shot from Salford’s Callum Scruton and there was uncertainty as to whether the ball had crossed the line before being cleared but the referee’s assistant deemed it hadn’t.
Home supporters hadn’t long to wait though for their lead to be doubled. It came through an Adam Pike pile driver of a shot from all of twenty-five yards on 55 minutes. With Salford’s next attack Sam Inwood almost increased the goal margin from an acute angle but his effort came back off the upright. Two minutes later and the game was wrapped up. First, the lively Stritch slid the ball beyond the visiting keeper and within sixty seconds rammed a shot into the Wakefield net putting Salford four goals in front and doubling his own tally for the afternoon.
Wakefield were struggling to make any headway against a resolute home defence but they did find the back of the net on 62 minutes when their centre back converted a header from a corner kick. Any thoughts they entertained of the possibility of a comeback though were smashed immediately when Salford broke from the restart and Callum Scruton fired a fierce drive wide of the keeper from outside the box.
To their credit the visitors refused to give up and went close on two occasions, Salford’s crossbar was rattled from a corner kick and home keeper, Jaylan McCaffery made a great save pushing a shot over his crossbar. Not to be outdone however Salford went back on the attack and were denied a sixth goal due first to the visiting keeper denying Stritch his hattrick with a fine save and then a shot from Pike rebounding off the base of the post.
All in all then, a well-deserved victory for Salford’s under 15s.