Salford City made it five games unbeaten with a 2-0 win against Walsall at The Peninsula Stadium.
James Wilson and Luke Burgess scored in either half to put The Ammies three points clear of Darrell Clarke’s side who didn’t have enough bite to trouble Vaclav Hladky.
The Saddlers, looking for a fifth win in a row, went behind when Jason Lowe won possession in the middle and shifted it right for Brandon Thomas-Asante, who fizzed a cross in for Wilson to tap home his fifth goal in eight home league appearances.
Having been denied late on against Newport, and nearly denied at Harrogate, Salford instead put the game to bed when substitute Burgess tricked his was into the area and calmly dispatched a shot past Jack Rose.
Manager Richie Wellens agreed it was a very good result, with Salford up to sixth and breathing down the necks of the top five with a game in hand.
“I think at times it was a tough game because the conditions weren’t great, it was very windy, the pitch was very, very, firm, zippy, quite bobbly.
“Darrell’s got them playing really well, I think the’s the first time they’ve been beaten in seven games, so we knew we was coming up against a good team that’s a handful and quite efficient in what they do, so in terms of the result, the result was the most important thing over this Christmas period and it was a really good result.
“From probably 65 minutes onwards we looked like the team that would score on the counter attack, and if you can get speed in this league in the latter parts of the game when people are just throwing the ball in the box, and gambling, we could probably have scored a few more on the counter.
“Ash has hit the bar at the end, we had a number of opportunities where if our final decision is better, or the quality of our last action is better then we could probably have scored a couple more but it’s a really good win because they’re a good team.
“He [Burgess] scores them every day in training, he’s got really good feet. The way we was going to score a second goal in that game was a counter attack or a bit of magic when the game got spread.
“Really pleased for Luke, and James Wilson is looking back fully fit now, sets us off on the press very well and when he gets the ball he’s quality.”
Salford finish the year off with a trip to Mansfield Town on Tuesday night.