Did Curzon Ashton actually have three proper shots at goal? Probably not. But the Tameside robbers stole three points to keep themselves at the top of the Evo-Stik First Division, while unlucky Salford can only rue mistakes and bad luck.
From the kick off to the final whistle Salford City ran rings around Curzon with some neat incisive football that belied their mid-table position in the League. Even a draw wouldn't have seen justice done – but a defeat? In the last second? With a lucky deflected goal? It's too, too much to take…
From the off there was only one team in this match, Gavin Salmon flashing a shot just wide after only a couple of minutes. And five minutes later Salford City took a deserved lead, Salmon drawing a save from the keeper with Jamie Rother following up to make it 1-0.
And that's how it stayed until half time, with the Ammies totally in control, and Ashton reduced to their usual niggling fouls and player wind ups.
The second half was only ten minutes old when an innocuous Curzon excursion found their winger with the ball on the left, outside the penalty area. New Salford keeper, Josh Welsby, came out to maybe narrow the angle but got his bearings all wrong, leaving a gaping gap in the goal. The Curzon winger joyfully grabbed the gift, his shot trickling over the line to equal the scores. It left the large Moor Lane crowd totally stunned. This was Ashton's first shot on target.
Rhodri Giggs' team picked themselves up and continued to attack the Curzon goal, Scott Metcalfe drawing a good save from the one time Salford goalkeeper, Josh Ollerenshaw. The Ammies' total possession was rewarded when another ex-Salford player, Jordon Goodeve, handled in the area and Gavin Salmon smacked home the resulting penalty to make 2-1.
The lead didn't last long, with another goal keeping howler gifting Ashton another equaliser. This time the keeper came out to meet a cross on the edge of his area, completely missed it and the Ashton forward headed home to mug a second goal. 2-2.
Again Salford City continued to attack in droves, Jamie Rother almost getting a deserved winner in the last seconds of normal time, only to see the Curzon keeper pull off a top save to rescue the rubbish table toppers.
A draw would have been bad. But in injury time Ashton had almost their first proper shot at goal, that was going a mile wide until it took a nasty deflection off a Salford player and ricocheted into the net to give jammy Ashton the luckiest victory they will have all season.
The final whistle left Salford City fans speechless. It was a fantastic performance by the team. And to end up with nothing was gut wrenching.
The Curzon team left the field with smiles as wide as Moor Lane to cries of `You know you don't deserve it' and `You're staying down with the Salford'.
Salford City have now played all the top teams in the League and none have impressed. The Ammies should be up there. And the fans know it.
Photos by Andrew Goudie
Sentiments by Fabio Capello