A resolute Crawley side took a point from Salford City this afternoon in a goalless affair at the Peninsula stadium. Salford applied most of the pressure throughout the course of the game but a solid Reds team managed to defend well up until the final whistle to take away a point up north.
Debutant Manny Adebowale and David Sesay were the two new faces going into the game replacing the suspended Josh Doherty and Bez Lubala respectively in the starting XI. Both Adebowale and Sesay could well be up for man-of-the-match nominations after solid defensive performances all afternoon claiming a well-deserved clean sheet on the road for their efforts.
In the opening half hour of the game Salford were certainly piling the pressure on as Glenn Morris was constantly kept on his toes springing low to deny a flurry of early efforts.
Salford then found a lot of space on the flanks with the likes of wing-back Ibou Touray bombing forward delivering many crosses that tested debutant Adebowale at the heart of defense, but the reds were able to hold strong and defended resolutely to deny any real danger, winning the majority of aerial duels through Adebowale and Tunnicliffe.
Former Millwall striker Tom Elliott was also proving a handful from the off, forcing an acrobatic save from Morris who was there to tip away his headed effort.
On the brink of half-time Ashley Hunter received the ball on the edge of the area with space to shoot at Morris who dived well once more to beat away, consequently taking the level scoreline into the break.
As the second-half got underway it looked as if Yems had made a slight tactical change with Jamie Sendles-White moving into the midfield alongside Bulman and Francomb.
On 54 minutes Sesay received the first yellow card of the afternoon for a collision with Adam Rooney which looked to be harsh on the full-back.
Shortly after, Dacres-Cogley was brought down savagely by Hunter which led to an altercation on-field between the players of both sides, with the likes of Palmer and Francomb involved. In the end Palmer and Hogan were booked for their reactions with Hunter also seeing yellow for the initial challenge.
Substitute Craig Conway almost an immediate impact after the hour mark as the ball was worked from left to right before the winger found space inside the box to shoot only inches past the far post.
Salford remained on the front foot in the game, again finding space out wide and dispossessing Crawley without struggle, with Andrade bursting forward on two separate occasions. However the Portuguese-born winger had no luck delivering into the box, both times being dispossessed by Adebowale and then Grego-Cox minutes later who slid well to poke away.
After a fantastic defensive performance, Adebowale had to make way after 75 minutes with injury, allowing the creative Jack Powell into the midfield with Sendles-White dropping back into defense.
As the full-time whistle approached the hearts of the 290 travelling Crawley supporters were beating faster than ever when Asante sprung forward finding a good position to shoot before pulling the trigger, but yet again Morris was there to deny a well-struck effort that was heading for the top corner.
More one-way traffic was expected in the five additional minutes indicated by the fourth official as Crawley were proving incapable of finding any more fortune going forward. Substitute Conway was involved again for the home side firing towards goal with ‘The Cat’ Morris again on call to dive across and beat away.
In the end the five added minutes were not enough for either side to snatch victory as the points were shared after the full-time whistle.
The Reds travel to Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday evening before we return to The People’s Pension Stadium to face Carlisle next Saturday.
Crawley Town: Morris; Dacres-Cogley, Tunnicliffe, Adebowale (Powell 76’), Sendles-White, Sesay; Francomb (Allarakhia 73’), Bulman, Grego-Cox (German 84’); Nadesan, Palmer.
Attendance: 2385 (290 Crawley)