Salford secure promotion to Football League with Beckham watching at Wembley
Emmanuel Dieseruvwe fired Salford in front.
David Beckham watched on at Wembley as Salford secured their Football League place with a 3-0 win over AFC Fylde in the Vanarama National League play-off final.
The former England captain joined some of his fellow co-owners from Manchester United’s ‘Class of 92’ to cheer on Graham Alexander’s side as the club secured promotion to the Football League for the first time.
Emmanuel Dieseruvwe fired Salford in front in the 15th minute following a defensive mishap, with Carl Piergianni’s second-half header and a somewhat fortunate third by full-back Ibou Touray completing what was in the end a comfortable victory.
Salford, who finished the regular season in third place, beat Eastleigh on penalties to book their place in the final, while Dave Challinor’s Fylde side first came through an eliminator against Harrogate and then won 1-0 at Solihull.
Alexander was forced into a change as striker Adam Rooney was sidelined by injury, so Danny Whitehead came into the Salford side.
Fylde made a sharp start as the ball flew across the face of goal, just too far ahead of Alex Reid.
At the other end, Gibraltar international Scott Wiseman drilled a 25-yard effort just wide.
Salford broke the deadlock in the 15th minute when Dieseruvwe made the most of a fortunate break in the penalty box.
Devonte Redmond’s free-kick was kicked out by Danny Rowe, but the ball struck Luke Burke and dropped back goalwards, where Dieseruvwe slotted into the far corner.
Defender Burke was soon forced off with what looked like a hamstring problem he had picked up earlier, and former Salford man Nick Haughton came on.
Salford almost grabbed a second in the 24th minute when Nathan Pond’s diving header from a corner was just wide.
📷 Whiskers away from Andy Bond, in what was probably Fylde's best effort yet. (0-1) pic.twitter.com/N6EFX2FDjc— AFC Fylde (@AFCFylde) May 11, 2019
The Coasters should have been level when Andy Bond was played into the right side of the penalty area by Haughton, but he clipped his angled shot over the crossbar.
Fylde pressed again before the break, with Salford keeper Chris Neal pushing away Ryan Croasdale’s curling shot.
Jordan Tunnicliffe received treatment for a head injury, which saw six minutes of time added ahead of the interval.
Salford doubled their lead early in the second half.
A quick short corner saw the ball swung into the six-yard box from the right, where defender Piergianni arrived to power a header into the top corner.
Any hopes of Fylde mounting a comeback were effectively ended on the hour as Salford enjoyed another slice of good fortune.
Full-back Touray charged down the left and clipped the ball back across the face of goal, where it dropped over the goalkeeper and in off the far post.
Fylde, set to return to Wembley for the FA Trophy final, looked for a consolation late on, but James Hardy sent his effort into the side netting.