Crawley fell to a 1-0 defeat to Port Vale despite a spirited second half performance at Vale Park. Luke Hannant’s 20th minute strike was enough to seal victory for the Valiants, who made it two out of two on home soil in League Two.
Town came into the game with a point to prove after two consecutive defeats and Harry Kewell made changes to the team, handing first league starts to Rob Milsom and Reece Grego-Cox.
The Reds started well and were playing some nice passing moves, particularly down the right hand side with George Francomb and Lewis Young. The pair linked up well and worked on the overlap to send a dangerous ball into the area, but Vale were able to clear.
Ricky Miller was Vale’s best performer in the first half, and after missing a glorious chance to put them ahead with a long range chance, he was influential in putting the hosts ahead. It was his lay off to Dave Worrall that forced a brilliant save from Glenn Morris, before Luke Hannant was first to the rebound to make it 1-0.
Ollie Palmer was using his strength well up front, and did brilliant to force a save out of Scott Brown from close range.
Filipe Morais then set up a wonderful opportunity to level the game, when he found Lewis Young waiting on the edge of the six yard box, but under pressure from a defender, Young could only find the woodwork.
Town ended the half brightly with a flurry if possession, but couldn’t break down a firm Valiants defence.
The second half saw the Reds dominate proceedings for a majority of the 45 minutes, but their hard work couldn’t produce an equaliser.
Filipe Morais was working wonders and his ever effective balls into the box were proving hard work for the Vale defence to deal with.
Palmer was denied twice in quick succession, first by a block and then secondly by the hands of goalkeeper Scott Brown.
The introduction of Ashley Nathaniel-George was instrumental in the good passing play the Reds showed off in the second half, with his ability to drop the shoulder and cut inside causing issue for Vale.
Town thought they’d scored when Morais pulled the trigger from almost 30 yards, but to the agony of all in a red shirt, it only found the side netting.