Crawley suffered a narrow loss to Salford City at The Peninsula Stadium this evening. A first-half goal from Brandon Thomas-Asante gave the Ammies the lead before the break before Jordan Turnball doubled the lead for the home side. Tom Nichols pulled one back for the Reds, but it was too little too late as Salford walked away with the three points.
It was a quiet opening to the match as neither side recorded a shot on target within the opening 15 minutes. Unfortunately for Crawley, the first shot on target resulted in a goal for the home side as Brandon Thomas-Asante tapped in from 2-yards. A ball was whipped into the Crawley penalty, where the towering Matt Smith rose highest. The striker's header had Glenn Morris beaten but came crashing off of the woodwork. Thomas-Asante reacted quickest and tapped into an empty net.
Crawley began to grow into the game and started to cause the Salford back line some trouble. Ashley Nadesan looked like a really useful asset for the Reds as the striker was getting plenty of joy with balls over the top of the Ammies' defence. Theo Vassell was forced into a brilliantly timed challenge on Nadeasan inside the Salford box to deny the Crawley striker a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Thomas-Asante and Ash Hunter earned themselves a place in the referee’s book in the first half as tensions began to rise at The Peninsula Stadium.
Half-time probably came at the wrong time for Crawley as the Reds were beginning to make a real impression on the tie as they searched for an equalising goal.
Crawley’s injury woes continued to grow as Jordan Tunnicliffe was forced off with a hamstring issue just minutes into the second half. Will Ferry replaced the injured centre-back as the Reds opted for a diamond formation with Nichols in the central attacking midfielder role.
This formation seemed to favour the Reds, who continued to look the better side since Salford’s opening goal. Despite this, Crawley had still failed to trouble Frank Fielding in the Salford goal.
The Reds were then dealt the hammer blow as Jordan Turnball turned the ball home from a Salford set-piece. Morris expertly saved a Ryan Watson free-kick, but just like Salford’s first goal, the ball fell kindly to an Ammies man inside the box, and it was Turnball on this occasion who turned the ball home.
Crawley certainly weren't down and out and responded with a goal of their own just moments later. Substitute Mark Marshall delivered an inviting ball into the penalty area, which Tom Nichols glanced home with a perfect header to reignite the tie.
Five minutes of added time were indicated, and despite Crawley’s bets efforts, Salford held on to claim all three points.
REDS XI: Morris, Tilley (Marshal 73’), Francomb, Tunnicliffe (Ferry 49’), Francillette, Davies (Hutchinson 87’), Payne, Hessenthaler, Nichols, Appiah, Nadesan