Crawley Town 2 - Salford City 0: First home game of the season ends in victory for dominant Reds

Superb Crawley Town saw off newly promoted Salford City at The People's Pension Stadium this afternoon.

Looking to bounce back from defeat at Carlisle, Crawley were straight out of the blocks and were brilliant throughout against a Salford side, fresh from their opening day victory against Stevenage.

Centre-half Tom Dallison struck the bar twice and Bez Lubala also came inches from away from opening the scoring on two occasions.

Lubala, who scored in last week's 2-1 defeat, was given a perfect opportunity to make it two from two when the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Jordan Tunniclifee was brought down by Carl Piergianni. The forward coolly fired the penalty past Christopher Neal to give the hosts a deserved lead.

The dominant Reds perhaps should have been two or three goals up at the break but they came out for the second half in the same vain and doubled their lead through a superb strike from the impressive Nathan Ferguson.

Salford struggled to create chances for much of the afternoon but Richard Towell came closest when a David Sesay mistake left him and substitute Jake Beesley two-on-one with Glenn Morris. Towell opted to go alone and dragged a poor shot well wide of the post.

It proved to a big moment as Salford, despite being sparked into life, failed to create another clear cut chance of note and Crawley saw the game out for a fantastic victory.

Dominant Reds

After a bright start which saw them dominate possession, the Reds hit the bar seven minutes in, after Ferguson's excellent whipped cross met the head of Dallison.

After 12 minutes, Lubala fired inches wide of the post after Reece Grego-Cox had done excellently to find him in space.

Salford started to ease themselves into the game, seeing more of the ball in the opposition half, but a slack pass out from the back almost led to an opener from the hosts when Grego-cox intercepted and forced Christopher Neal to push it out for a corner.

On the half hour mark, Dannie Bulman then had a long-range effort blocked, before dropping to Lubala whose curling, left-footed shot on the turn forced Neal into a superb diving save.

With Reds well on top, they came inches away from taking a deserved lead after a goal mouth scramble resulted in Dallison striking the bar for the second time, with an acrobatic volley effort.

Crawley kept up the pressure and, no more than two minutes later, were rewarded with a penalty after Jordan Tunniclifee was brought down by Carl Piergianni. Bez Lubala made no mistake in sending Christopher Neal the wrong way and gave the Reds a much deserved lead.

Crawley don't rest on their laurels

Ollie Palmer replaced Mason Bloomfield up front at the break but the performance was unchanged with Reds doubling their lead just five minutes after the restart.

Crawley showed no signs of resting on their lead and maintained their excellent pressure high up the pitch. However, they were almost caught out when last-man Sesay was robbed off the ball by Towell, who poorly dragged his shot well wide, after being in a two-on-one position.

Salford did seem to gain confidence from that attack, though, and finally were sparked into life.

A floated cross from the right met the head of Piergianni who was unlucky to see his effort come back off the post. The hapless Towell twice fired over the bar, as Salford continued to search for a way back into the game.

Crawley, who finished the game having had 30 shots on goal, remained dangerous on the break and Lubala almost got his second, when his deflected effort was saved by Neal after fine work by Panutche Camara.

Salford struggled to create any sort of clear cut chance and Crawley, who had further chances to add to their lead, were able to comfortably see out the game.

Crawley: Morris, Sesay, Tunnicliffe, Dallison, Doherty, Bulman, Ferguson (Francomb 81), Grego-Cox (Morais 69), Camara, Lubala, Bloomfield (Palmer 45)

Unused subs: Nathaniel-George, Dacres-Cogley, Galach, Luyambula

Salford City: Neal, Maynard, Pond, Piergianni, Smith (Armstrong 66), Wiseman, Towell, Shelton (Jones 45), Touray, Rooney (Beesley 65), Dieseruvwe

Unused subs: Letheren, Whitehead, Jones, Doyle

Attendance: 2,400 (145 away)

Man of the match: Reece Grego-Cox