Crawley Town stretched their unbeaten run to four matches as a second-half goal from centre-back Mark Connolly proved the difference in a 1-0 home win over Blackpool in League Two.

The winner was Connolly’s first for the club since returning to the Reds last summer.

The game at the Stadium was the first competitive meeting between the two clubs and despite having less attempts at goal (12-15), Crawley came out on top of a game where plenty of opportunities were squandered by both teams.

Crawley manager Dermot Drummy, who was up against a club he represented as a player, named an unchanged line-up from the 11 that started Tuesday’s 1-1 home draw with Colchester United.

The teams came into the match with two points separating them in the table, lying in 12th and 13th respectively, and both created chances in the opening stages, with Billy Clifford shooting wide in the opening two minutes for the home side and Kyle Vassell heading wide for the visitors from a Brad Potts cross.

Adi Yussuf spurned two opportunities to open the scoring, firstly after being put through one-on-one after a ball over the top of the Blackpool defence that Andrea Pirlo would have been proud of from defender Joe McNerney, but his shot cleared the crossbar.

The second opening in the space of five minutes for the Tanzanian Yussuf came from a header from a floated cross that was pushed wide by Blackpool keeper Dean Lyness.

Those efforts came either side of a free header for Blackpool’s Danny Philliskirk that was caught by Crawley goalkeeper Glenn Morris.

An aerial threat from Blackpool was clear, as Armand Gnanduillet latched on to Jack Payne’s central cross, but failed to make the target.

Gary Bowyer’s Seasiders had to cope with losing their captain around the 20-minute mark, as Andy Taylor’s involvement in the match was ended due to a facial injury.

It was turning into a frustrating day for Yussuf, who shot over again, this time from just inside the penalty area.

A curled shot from the left-hand side of the penalty area from Crawley forward James Collins dragged narrowly wide a few minutes before half-time, before Yussuf headed wide from Kaby Djalo’s left-sided cross.

Vassell spinning away from three Crawley defenders led to the final chance of the first half, as his cross from the right found Philliskirk, who took the ball down and fired wide.

Yussuf was in the action again at the start of the second half, but he missed another one-on-one when shooting straight at the keeper after beating a defender.

That was virtually the end of Yussuf’s impact on proceedings, as he picked up a cramp and was substituted a few minutes later.

Morris had to be sharp to keep out a troubling effort from Gnanduillet from just outside the penalty area, but pushed the shot wide.

The deadlock was finally broken shortly before the 70th minute, when Connolly latched on to a Clifford corner from the right hand-side and hooked the ball over Lyness and into the corner of the net, following a scramble on the goal-line that Blackpool complained should have been given as a foul on the goalkeeper.

Blackpool’s first significant response came from a Potts header from a crossed-in free-kick, but the midfielder was not able to trouble Morris.

Collins almost managed to double the lead two minutes from time, but his attempted chip from the right of the penalty area narrowly missed the target.

That did not prevent Crawley from taking victory though, and the result leaves them fifth in the table.

Crawley will now take on the challenge of three consecutive away games, beginning with a trip to Charlton Athletic in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday.

Report by David Cook