Salford City fell to a sixth away game without a win after losing 2-0 at Cheltenham Town.
The league leaders set the tone early on when Sean Long prodded in a long Ben Tozer throw from a crowd of bodies in the area.
A Liam Sercombe goal just before half secured the win for the hosts that maintains their spot at the top of the table.
Three half time substitutions encouraged a more positive second half performance, Ian Henderson had a consolation over-ruled by the linesman, but ultimately there was nothing for The Ammies to show.
Speaking after the game, Richie Wellens says a poor start before kick-off laid the precedent.
“The attitude was poor from the start, if we stay humble, do the basics right, listen, and take out onto the pitch what we’ve worked on then we’re alright, we’ll pick up results in this league. But when players decide to drift off and do whatever they want to do then that’s what we got served up.
“I’ve never watched our warm-up but I watched it today because our changing rooms, obviously they’ve moved them, so you can see the warm-up. Our warm-up I’m not happy with at all.
“I said to Warren Joyce when they came in if the game was won on the warm-up, we’re already beat, it was a shambles so I’ll be looking into that. The game started off pretty much as what I’d seen in the warm-up.
“Tom James has had a really tough time so I think it’s good that he got 45 minutes, I thought he was excellent when he went on. Mani put himself about and the changes helped us but the ship had sailed, the goal might have changed things a little bit but you can’t start games like that.”
It’s four games without a goal now for Salford, and the lack of chances is becoming a concern with The Ammies remaining in ninth but six points behind Newport County in seventh.
“Today was a worry because we didn’t really make any chances. In previous weeks, last week we made six or seven against a League One team, today we’ve not really made any.
“When you’re managing a team you want to put a structure in place where you’re getting into good areas in the last third, once you get into the last third you have to give the freedom to the attacking players to make whatever movement they see fit, they’ve got to use their imagination and see where the spaces are, obviously we’re not doing that well enough.”
There is now a week before Salford have a chance to react, on the road again away at fellow play-off chasers Exeter City.