With 15 minutes to go in the Final of the Manchester Premier Cup, Salford City looked out for the count. 2-0 down, barely a shot on goal and the Mossley management almost doing a victory jig on the touchline. But then, like so often this season, came the fightback…
Welcome to the Manchester Premier Cup Final at Stockport County's Edgeley Park. It's sponsored by Robinsons Brewery but all the bars are shut. Three sides of the ground are also shut, leaving one busy main stand, half full of Salford supporters and half populated by Mossley schoolboy hillbillies, letting off occasional flares as if lost in a sea of neon-lit civilisation.
Salford, twice finalists previously, were hoping to make it third time lucky – but luck completely deserted them after half an hour, when the referee, wearing his black Mossley supporter's kit , awarded a shockingly soft penalty, after a forward was slightly brushed by Ammies defender Harry Bockarie. 1-0 to the referee.
And that was it in a first half of no action, when neither keeper had a proper shot to save. Salford began the second half brighter, Adrian Bellamy heading just over from a corner, but five minutes later Mossley doubled their lead, a shot from an attacker lurking unmarked at the far post.
Now 2-0 down, Salford began the fightback – just like in loads of recent games. First Aaron Walters, on as the third sub, forced a sprawling save from the Mossley keeper. Then, with 15 minutes to go, Brad Robinson latched onto a Walters through ball and chipped a great strike over the keeper. 2-1. Game on and the Salford City supporters found their voice…
With less than ten minutes to go, Danny White drilled home from a Rob Kinsella header to make it 2-2. And Salford started to believe the Cup was coming to Moor Lane.
Jamie Rother hit a dipping, curling shot that the Mossley keeper just scrambled out for a corner, and in the last minute Nathan Taylor was hauled down in the area, only for the referee to wave play on. Mossley finished the game desperately hanging on for the draw. Had the match gone into extra time the Ammies would have slaughtered the hillbillies, but for some reason, it went straight to penalties.
In the shoot out, Adrian Bellamy's vital spot kick was saved and Mossley got the Cup. They also got one hell of a fright from a Salford City team that almost clawed victory from the jaws of defeat.
Photos by Gareth Lyons and Andrew Goudie
Main photo by Gareth Lyons