Match Report

 

Sat 29 Dec 12

By Ben Blackmore

Crawley suffered a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Bournemouth to end a great year on a disappointing note.


A Gary Alexander own goal along with strikes from Brett Pitman and Eunan O’Kane settled the League One game at the Goldsands Stadium, meaning the Reds end 2012 in eighth place.


Richie Barker's men travelled to Dorset looking to complete a south coast double, having beaten Portsmouth on Wednesday.


He made two changes to the side that won at Fratton Park, Shaun Cooper replacing Hope Akpan who missed out through suspension and Dannie Bulman starting ahead of Billy Clarke, who dropped to the bench.


And it was Cooper who had the first early chance of the game against his former side when the midfielder’s shot went narrowly wide from just outside the box.


The hosts gained control of the match and were ahead after 16 minutes. A whipped ball in from Steve Cook into the box flicked off Alexander past the helpless Paul Jones in the Crawley goal.


Bournemouth were soon on the attack in search of a second and Lewis Grabban was twice put through but was unable to test Jones on both occasions.  


Reds were coming back into the match holding possession well in midfield but were restricted to long range efforts in the last third. Alexander tried his luck from 25-yards but couldn’t find the target.


With the game drifting towards the break, The Cherries added a second goal in the 41st minute. Brett Pitman caught the Reds defence unawares with a quickly taken free-kick that he curled straight into the bottom corner.  


The second goal seemed to stun the Reds after some good spells in possession.


The home side went in search for a third goal just before half-time. Pitman fired over from a corner before Grabban’s 25-yard shot stung the hands of Jones.


After the interval it was Crawley who made the better start and Adams delivered in a corner that was eventually scrambled away by David James.


With the visitors dominating possession it was Bournemouth who nearly scored their third goal on the counter. Steve Cook found himself unmarked six yards out but his header was straight at Jones before Cook saw another header go over the bar.  


Up the other end, Mike Jones tested James with a drive from 20 yards out before substitute Billy Clarke had Crawley’s best chance of the game but he couldn’t convert after being put through by Adams, James making a sprawling save with 15 minutes to go.


Pressing for a way back into the match, Jonte Smith came on to make his first League start for the Reds.


His fellow striker Clarke half-volleyed just wide in a good spell for the Reds but the game was settled on the 84th minute mark.


O’Kane was put through by a Simon Francis clearance and kept his composure to slide the ball under the onrushing Jones to seal the victory.


Jones saved well late on to deny former Crawley favourite Matt Tubbs a goal against his former side.


It was a disappointing finale to the year for the 380 fans in the crowd of 7855 who nonetheless gave their team great support again. 

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