Salford City Substitute Kelly Nmai scored the only goal of the game as Crawley Town fell to a 1-0 defeat at the Broadfield Stadium.
It was a fairly inconspicuous start to proceedings, and Crawley’s first real chance fell to Dion Conroy, who bent his effort narrowly round the keeper’s left-hand post.
Salford, who had opted to switch ends before kick-off, had a few good chances of their own, and perhaps, in the earlier stages, looked the likelier of the two sides to take the lead.
Ryan Watson had the best of those chances, but from 12 or so yards out he couldn’t steer his effort on target.
Danilo Orsi then hit the post for Crawley following some great interplay to break through the Salford backline, but it would have counted for nothing either way, with the forward being flagged offside in the process.
With just over half an hour played, Liam Kelly, Danilo Orsi, Jack Roles and Adam Campbell linked up nicely, and the move resulted in the latter of the four firing narrowly wide in what was one of Crawley’s better chances of the first half.
Salford, who had 21 shots within the first 45 minutes, were by far the better side, but thanks to a resolute Crawley backline the teams went in for the break with the scores even.
Early on in the second half, Jack Roles looked to lob the keeper from just inside the Salford half, and although the effort was on target it just lacked the power necessary to cause Salford ‘keeper Alex Cairns any real danger.
Salford’s dominance continued well into the second half, but chances seemed to be fewer and further in between. Luke Bolton wriggled his way past a couple of Crawley defenders with 65 minutes on the clock, but his eventual shot was weak following some good defending by both Harry Ransom and today’s captain Dion Conroy.
With 70 minutes on the clock, Crawley made a double substitution with the hope of turning the tide in their favour. Attacking duo Harry Forster and Klaidi Lolos were introduced in place of Ronan Darcy and Adam Campbell.
Just six minutes later, Corey Addai made a huge save to prevent Luke Bolton opening the scoring. The winger’s low strike from close range was expertly stopped by Addai who got down quickly to prevent what looked like being the opening goal of the game.
With a little under 10 minutes to play, Salford broke the deadlock through Kelly Nmai. Addai had initially done excellently to stop Callum Hendry scoring, but the ball was never under complete control and found its way to the feet of the Dutchman, Nmai, who was on hand to tuck home his 3rdgoal of the season and give the visitors an undeniably deserved lead.
Crawley had a chance to level the scores late on, but Danilo Orsi saw his shot drag narrowly wide of the post. Even with six minutes of added time, Crawley were unable to break through a very experienced Salford unit.
The result sees Crawley slip to eleventh place in the League Two table, one place below AFC Wimbledon, who they travel to face next Saturday, January the 20th, at 3pm.
REDS XI: Addai, Williams, Conroy, Ransom, Darcy (Forster 70'), Tsaroulla, Kelly, Wright, Campbell (Lolos 70'), Roles, Orsi
Attendance: 2,970 (95 away)