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Team Sheet

Crawley Town
1
Glenn Morris
3
Josh Doherty
6
Tom Dallison
Yellow card for Tom Dallison
7
Reece Grego-Cox

Morais 69'

12
Nathan Ferguson
1 goals for Nathan Ferguson

Francomb 80'

16
Mason Bloomfield

Palmer 46'

18
David Sesay
19
Jordan Tunnicliffe
21
Dannie Bulman (c)
28
Panutche Camara
30
Bez Lubala
1 goals for Bez Lubala Yellow card for Bez Lubala
Salford City FC
1
Chris Neal
2
Scott Wiseman
3
Ibou Touray
6
Carl Piergianni
Yellow card for Carl Piergianni
8
Lois Maynard
9
Adam Rooney (c)

Beesley 66'

17
Richie Towell
19
Mark Shelton

J.Jones 46'

20
Mani Dieseruvwe
23
Nathan Pond
24
Martin Smith

Armstrong 66'

Substitutes
35
Michael Luyambula
9
Ollie Palmer
14
George Francomb
15
Ashley Nathaniel-George
22
Filipe Morais
25
Josh Dacres-Cogley
26
Brian Galach
Substitutes
12
Kyle Letheren
7
Luke Armstrong
18
Danny Whitehead
22
Dan Jones
25
Joey Jones
Yellow card for Joey Jones
29
Jake Beesley
34
Alex Doyle
Managers
Head Coach - Gabriele Cioffi
Managers
Manager - Graham Alexander
Match Officals
Referee - Graham Salisbury
Assistant Referee - Leigh Crowhurst
Assistant Referee - Gareth Viccars
Fourth Official - Stuart Butler

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Match
Report

Salford City’s first ever away game in the English Football League ended in disappointment as hosts Crawley Town secured a 2-0 win. Gabriele Cioffi’s side scored a goal in each half and all but the most partisan of Ammies would have to agree that the result was probably a fair one.

Graham Alexander kept faith with the XI that started the season so positively last week and the game got off to an even start. That state of affairs would last for only half-a-dozen more minutes before the home side gradually get on top. Nathan Ferguson’s first attempt to deliver a free-kick was halted by the referee and his second almost unlocked Salford’s defence. A whipped cross to the far post found the head of Tom Dallison but the assistant’s flag had already been raised for offside before his header crashed back off the post.

There was a penalty shout in the 8th minute after Josh Doherty’s pass found Bez Lubala who advanced before hitting the turf inside the box. Referee Graham Salisbury waved away the home side’s claims on this occasion although he would prove more obliging later in the half.

Salford’s first decent attacking move arrived in the 13th minute when Mark Shelton, Mani Dieseruvwe and Scott Wiseman linked up well. It was the latter who found room to cross from the right, only for Crawley keeper Glenn Morris to pluck the ball out of the air.

Crawley’s attacks carried a little more potency and they very nearly took the lead from their next foray forward. Reece Grego-Cox would prove troublesome all afternoon and his ball in from the right fell for Lubala at the near post. A rising effort from 10 yards was inches wide of the upright with home fans in the North Stand initially acclaiming a goal before realisation set in.

The Ammies had only been able to exert modest pressure so far but enjoyed a decent little spell as the 20-minute mark approached. First Ibou Touray got past Jordan Tunnicliffe wide on the left before playing a low ball inside. Adam Rooney was the target, but the Salford skipper was foiled as Dallison got in front of him to concede a corner. Shelton delivered the set-piece from the left and Rooney flicked a header on to the far side. Central defender Nathan Pond was on hand to nod back into the middle where Dieseriuvwe swung and missed at a ball that was hastily cleared.

Soon after that Richie Towell aimed a cross from the right towards Rooney but this time it was Tunnicliffe who averted the danger, getting in an effective defensive header.

The Ammies had worked their way back into the game but there was another chance for their opponents as Carl Piergianni’s clearance fell for Ferguson who half-volleyed over the bar. Salford turned over possession again and this time Grego-Cox slammed in angled drive from the right that was parried by Chris Neal in the Salford goal.

The next chance went the way of the visitors as Martin Smith slid in at the near post to meet Ibou Touray’s low corner from the right. The midfielder almost got a decisive touch, but the ball found its way safely through to Morris.

Encouragement for the band of travelling fans gathered behind Morris’ goal but the balance of the match would tilt against their side during what remained of the first half. The Reds were seeing more of the ball again, carrying possession to the edge of Salford’s area as they searched for openings in a defence that didn’t have its accustomed self-assured air.

Thirteen minutes before the interval a Dannie Bulman effort was charged down, with the loose ball falling for Lubala. The Crawley man turned nicely before floating in a chipped effort that had an airborne Neal stretching to his right, turning the ball over from virtually from the top corner.

The corner came to nothing, yet Salford were rarely getting out of their own half at this stage. It wasn’t long before Bulman’s cross from the right evaded Neal on its way beyond the far post. The ball was turned back inside and when Ammie lines weren’t cleared Dallison got in an acrobatic volley that salmmed back into play off the bar. Still Salford couldn’t get the ball away and another free-kick was conceded, centrally positioned and barely a yard outside the area. Bulman’s low shot was blocked but the pressure wasn’t to be relieved.

In the 34th minute Tunnicliffe cut into the box on a right-of-centre run, attempting to squeeze his way between Piergianni and Shelton. A big shout followed as the defender went down and this time the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Piergianni protested his innocence but the decision was – as always – irreversible and Crawley Town had a penalty. LUBALA had a little difficulty getting the ball to stay on the spot as the wind swirled, yet that slight delay had little effect on him. Neal dived to his left, only to see the ball nestle in the opposite bottom corner and Crawley had the lead their performance merited.

A clearly frustrated Piergianni was yellow-carded soon after the opener, following a trip on Grego-Cox. His next contribution was far more positive, setting off on a left-of-centre run that took him past a couple of defenders before a low shot from the edge of the area was blocked.

First-half time added on provided a sniff of an equaliser for the Ammies after Towell’s pass played Smith into space on the left. A low ball to the near post followed but once again Town’s defenders were alert to the danger, with Doherty getting in first to make a clearance.

HALF TIME: CRAWLEY TOWN 1 SALFORD CITY 0

Salford made a change at half-time as Joey Jones came on for Shelton. The summer signing from Eastleigh made an immediate, albeit unwanted, impact, picking up a yellow card within 30 seconds.

The Reds has brought on a substitute of their own and Ollie Palmer’s run took him into the box on the right where Nathan Pond put in a great blocking challenge. Panutche Camara was the architect of Crawley’s next opening, nudging a simple ball to Ferguson whose shot was well saved by Neal.

Salford’s keeper was called into action again, within a minute as Lubala’s run ended with possession falling for Greco-Cox. From outside the box and right-of-centre he tried a stinging effort that Neal managed to palm away to safety.

All Crawley at the start of the second half and they could have doubled their advantage in the 54th minute. Greco-Cox’s burst of pace down the right was matched by the covering Piergianni, but with a yellow card against him alread the Salford defender couldn’t risk a challenge. Having got to the line Greco-Cox cut inside, playing a low ball in for Lubala whose touch back set up Palmer for a shot that spun away off an Ammie body.

Another home goal seemed in the offing and it duly arrived 10 minutes after the restart. Palmer’s pass found FERGUSON who was allowed to advance before hitting a low 20-yarder that Neal got a hand to without being able to keep out.

There was more than half-an-hour to play yet it already looked like a very steep uphill struggle if Salford were to get anything from this game. Crawley continued to look the more composed and purposeful of the sides, with Morris hardly involved since the half-time break.

Midway through the first half Greco-Cox hit a shot that looked destined to trouble Neal until it spun off a defender and behind for a corner. Unsurprisingly Salford boss Alexander shuffled his pack for the final quarter of the game, introducing Luke Armstrong and Jake Beesley for Rooney and Smith.

Crawley in control, yet they almost handed their visitors a way back into the match with 20 minutes left. David Sesay met a clearance with a 22-yard volley that was blocked, with the ball eventually falling for home defender Mason Bloomfield, just inside the Salford half. Hesitation in possession gave Towell the chance to nip in and suddenly he was away into acres of space on a right-of-centre run. With defenders struggling to get back and Beesley well placed in the middle the former Brighton man got to the box before electing to have a go. This was a great chance, but Towell’s finish didn’t match the approach play as his low shot drifted harmlessly wide of the far upright.

A goal there could still have changed the destination of the points and the Ammies would create a chance or two more before the final whistle. In the 76th minute Touray crossed from the right and Piergianni – Salford’s second highest scorer last season – got in a header that Morris just about managed to tip away to his right.

Salford pressed forward again and Scott Wiseman’s lofted cross from the right found its way through to Touray on the far side. A cool little pass inside found Towell, but with time and space he could only lift an 18-yarder over the crossbar.

Had any one of those three chances been converted the Ammies’ afternoon might just have ended more happily, but Crawley’s two-goal lead remained intact as the game entered its final 10 minutes. The visitors kept plugging away and Towell had a go following another Touray cross from the left. The Irish midfielder was under pressure as he tried a 15-yard volley, but even so will have been disappointed as the ball flew high over the target.

At the other end Camara found Lubala whose deflected shot was saved by Neal. As time added on beckoned Filipe Morais’ touch played Bulman into space on the right, but Pond was there again to get in an impressive challenge.

Five minutes extra would be played, but they would belong to Crawley. Palmer’s ball in from the left was nudged on by Morais for Camara to slam in a low shot that Neal deflected away. Palmer tried his luck after that only to see his effort from distance fail to trouble Neal.

It mattered little and despite a spirited last 15 minutes from Salford, Crawley had the 3 points their overall performance deserved.

FULL-TIME: CRAWLEY TOWN 2 SALFORD CITY 0

Hopes were high amongst Salford supporters following that opening day win over Stevenage, but today provided a reminder – if any were really needed – of how tough a place the EFL is going to be. The Ammies didn’t really get going until late on yet could conceivably have rescued something after creating good opportunities during the final 15 minutes. An Ammien comeback would have been rough justice on Crawley but should offer some comfort to Salford and their supporters on what was otherwise an undeniably disappointing afternoon.

Last season’s promotion-winning season started off shakily away from The Peninsula Stadium and some time for acclimatisation should be allowed here too, after a much bigger step up in class.

Lessons will be learned; tweaks will be made and Leeds United await in the Caraboa Cup on Tuesday evening before Port Vale visit the Peninsula next Saturday. Plenty of games to come, lots of points to win and another Salford rollercoaster ride to come. Strap yourselves in…

Attendance: 2,400 (including 145 Salford City)

https://salfordcityfc.co.uk