Crawley claimed another fantastic win as a Tom Nichols goal secured three points against promotion hopefuls Salford City. A piece of individual brilliance from Nichols in the first half secured the Reds their second win on the bounce.
The visitors almost took first blood early on as there was a miscommunication between Jordan Tunnicliffe and Joe McNerney. Ian Henderson and Brandon Asante combined as a ball was delivered into the box, George Francomb blocked well.
Ashley Nadesan looked to cause his usual trouble in behind the Salford defence and very nearly gave the Reds the lead inside the opening ten minutes. Jack Powell’s first-time ball found Nadesan, who was one-on-one with Vaclav Hladky, the goalkeeper spread himself out and was just able to divert Nadesan’s effort around the post.
Salford came straight back at Crawley as Henderson forced Glenn Morris into his first save of the evening. Asante beat Tunnicliffe to the ball and slid in Henderson, who had only Morris to beat, the striker failed to convert as Morris saved well with his feet.
Both sides looked dangerous on the counter-attack, but it was Crawley who took the lead with another piece of individual brilliance from Tom Nichols. Tom brought the ball down excellently, and with the deftest of touches, was able to take it around his maker on the edge of the box. Hladky saved on the first occasion, but Nichols was alert and touched home the rebound.
Henderson again troubled Morris on the half-hour mark, the Salford talisman disappointed in his final effort. Ash Hunter got the better of Archie Davies on the edge of the box and found Henderson who was unmarked on the penalty spot, the striker’s toe-poked effort barely troubling Morris.
Salford came flying out for the second half as Hunter and Henderson both went close inside the opening two minutes. Morris saved well from Hunter’s effort from range, the rebound fell to Henderson, who was no more than five yards from goal as the striker somehow nodded wide.
Jake Hesketh then came agonisingly close to his first Reds goal as the midfielder failed to hit the target from the six-yard box. Nichols found Nadesan inside the box with a pinpoint pass, Nadesan set the ball back to Hesketh first time, but Jake skewed his effort wide of the post.
Jake Hessenthaler then struck the woodwork after poor communication from the Salford defence. Hladky failed to tell his defender he was en route to claim a Reds Free-kick as the ball subsequently fell to Hessenthaler on the edge of the box, who fired at goal on the half volley as the ball cannoned off of the post.
Nadesan continued to cause the Salford defence trouble and nearly gave Crawley a two-goal cushion. Nichols again finding Nadesan in behind the Salford defence, Ashley cut inside of his man inside the box, Hladky again saving well.
The Ammies threw everything at Crawley in the remaining ten minutes, the Reds superb defence keeping a clean sheet for the second game in a row.
Reds XI: Morris; Davies, Tunnicliffe, McNerney, Francomb; Hessenthaler, Powell, Hesketh (Wright 73’), Maguire-Drew (Sesay 73’); Nadesan, Nichols.