Portsmouth 0-0 Salford City - Ammies secure first major trophy with penalty shootout victory
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 13: Salford City players celebrate with the EFL Trophy following their team's victory in the EFL Trophy Final at Wembley Stadium on March 13, 2021 in London, England. The teams were due to meet in April 2020, but the original final was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

League Two Salford City picked up their first piece of major silverware on Saturday afternoon, after overcoming League One Portsmouth on penalties.

It was a tale of two keepers, with Portsmouth's Craig MacGillivray and Salford's Vaclav Hladky the standout performers in what was one of the most thrilling 0-0 draws you will ever see.

It took 120 minutes and penalties to separate the two sides, with the Ammies coming out on top to secure themselves the Papa John's Trophy, some 13 months after qualifying for the final.

Pre-Match

League One Portsmouth entered the contest as the bookmaker's favourites, with the South Coast side looking to secure back-to-back EFL Trophies, having defeated Sunderland on penalties in the 2018/19 final.

Whilst Pompey are no strangers to a Wembley appearance - making their seventh appearance at the home of English football since 2008 - League Two Salford are quite the opposite.

Richie Wellens side has made just the solitary appearance at Wembley, seeing off Fylde by three goals to nil to secure their place in League Two back in 2019.

Neither side came into the final in great form, Portsmouth having lost their last three, whilst Salford have just the one win in their last five league outings.

Story of the Match

26 places separated the two sides coming into the clash, but it was the League Two Salford who began the brighter, with Pompey stopper MacGillivray called into action twice in the opening exchanges. 

Ammies forward James Wilson's long-range effort stung the palms of the Englishman, before Brandon Thomas-Asante's mazy run ended with a smart save from Portsmouth's number one.

The biggest chance of the first period came after 25 minutes as Ibou Touray's low cross from the right-hand side found the run of Wilson - who'd got goal side of Sean Raggett - but his first-time effort from 12 yards out was kept out by the legs of the Portsmouth keeper.

MacGillivray was in inspired form throughout the first 45 as the Salford onslaught continued. Jordan Turnball was the next to test the reactions of the 28-year-old with a snapshot from the edge of the box, but once again MacGillivary was equal to it, getting down well to push the ball away from danger.

Portsmouth failed to muster a single shot in target in the first half, so it came as no surprise to see Jackett ring the changes ahead of the second half.

Charlie Daniels, Harvey White and Jordy Hiwula all made way, with Lee Brown, Ronan Curtis and Marcus Harness coming on to replace the trio.

Jackett would've been looking for the fresh legs to make an impact early in the second period, and Curtis had a chance to do exactly that with what was virtually his first touch of the ball.

Jack Whatmough's ball over the top found the run of Curtis who cut in from the right and drew an important save from Hladky between the Salford sticks. 

The changes steadied the ship for a Portsmouth side who looked lost in the first half, though Salford still offered a threat on the counter-attack and once again the Leauge Two outfit were left lamenting the performance of MacGillivray between the Pompey sticks.

A freekick from the edge of the area was swung in by Touray and met by the head of Ashley Eastham some six yards out. However, a superb reflex stop by MacGillivray kept the scoreline level.

Despite being second best for the vast majority of the game, Portsmouth were handed a gilt-edged opportunity to win it late on. 

Curtis once again beat the offside trap to get on the end of Ben Close's lofted ball over the top, but, despite having an unmarked John Marquis on hand for a tap in, the substitute went for the spectacular acrobatic effort and scuffed it behind for a goal kick.

Both sides had opportunities to win the match in the dying embers of regulation time, Portsmouth's Brown dragging an effort inches wide of the upright before Richie Towell saw his close-range effort saved at the other end. Neither side could find the breakthrough though, with extra time required.

The first major chance of the first period of extra time fell the way of Portsmouth's Ryan Williams, who stuck a thunderous effort from 12 yards out, Hladky was equal to it though.

Despite looking weary as the tie wore on, Salford were inches away from taking the lead on the brink of half-time as substitute Main Dieseruvwe created a chance out of nothing, taking one touch with his back to goal before spinning and unleashing a volley that had MacGillivray beaten, but the woodwork denied the Englishman.

Portsmouth pushed for a winner as the second half of extra time wore on, but their lower league opposition hung on to send the final to the lottery that is a penalty shootout.

Portsmouth's shootout couldn't have got off to a worse start as Ryan Williams blazed the opening spot-kick over the crossbar. Luke Burgess sent MacGillivray the wrong way to give the Ammies the advantage.

Things went from bad to worse for Pompey as Ronan Curtis saw his effort saved well by Hladky before Dieseruvwe emphatically made it 2-0 to Salford.

Lee Brown and Sean Raggett both found the back of the net for Portsmouth with spot kick's three and four, but it was too little too late as  Thomas-Asante and Jason Lowe were both on target to send the Salford bench into hysterics and secure Salford City their first-ever piece of major silverware.

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