Gary Bowyer said he will leave Salford with mixed emotions after confirming his stint as manager had come to an end after the Ammies narrowly missed out on the League Two play-offs.
A comfortable 3-0 victory against Leyton Orient proved to be in vain in a fixture where Salford learned of their fate at half-time, with kick-off having been delayed by an hour due to adverse weather conditions and play-off rivals Forest Green victorious.
Despite George Boyd’s early missed penalty, Leeds loanee Robbie Gotts gave the home side a parting gift with an accurate effort from range to put Salford ahead on the stroke of half-time.
Brandon Thomas-Asante’s second-half double – which included a mazy solo run with a clinical finish – then completed a comprehensive win.
April’s League Two Manager of the Month Bowyer, whose side missed out on the play-offs by two points, said of his future: “The agreement was until the end of the season and unfortunately today’s the end of the season, so I’ll be with Derby’s under-23s on Monday night at Manchester United.
“It’s a mixture of emotions, it’s like getting one of those fake lottery tickets. You can’t say ‘it was down to that game’, it was over the course of the season and unfortunately, we’ve just fallen short.
“I think the response from the players in how they’ve been in their day-to-day work and in games has been fantastic. ”
Bowyer took charge in March following the departure of Richie Wellens, with Salford ninth in the table, six points off the play-offs.
He added: “I think we’ve lost three games since we’ve been here and all three were 1-0 so that shows you how tight the games were and how hard they’ve pushed.
“We got ourselves in a really good position last week (1-0 defeat at Colchester) but unfortunately a sending off which was very harsh shaped that game, but you can’t just say it’s down to one game.
“You’re in this sport for the competition and the way we’ve been brought up, whatever we played whether it was tiddlywinks with my little nephew or whatever, you beat him, so we’re disappointed that we’re not in there (play-offs).”
Orient’s defeat was their fourth on the trot and left them 11th in the table, 10 points behind eighth-placed Salford.
A frustrated Jobi McAnuff said: “I’ve got a little bit tired after the last few games being disappointed with the manner of the performance.
“I didn’t think we looked like we came here with a real intent to win the game – that’s the biggest thing that’s disappointed me.
“I’ve turned up in the times that we’ve needed them, we’ve tried our best, we’ve tried to drive the group as best we can in the last few weeks in the circumstances, but it’s been tough at times.
“From our point of view, I’m just really disappointed after getting to a place where we were winning games and certainly on an upward curve, so for me to finish off the 16 games with today was really disappointing.”