By Ben Blackmore
Crawley enjoyed a successful afternoon in Bury after they picked up all three points at Gigg Lane.
A double by Jamie Proctor, his first goals for the club, capped off an impressive display by Reds who dominated the encounter throughout.
Richie Barker made two enforced changes to the Crawley side from Tuesday’s defeat at home to Brentford. Connor Essam replaced the suspended Mark Connolly at the heart of the defence and Jake Taylor made his debut in central midfielder after Billy Clarke missed out with a hamstring injury.
For Richie’s former club Bury there was a start for Nicky Ajose, who spent the first half of the season on loan with Reds.
Crawley started the brighter of the two sides and Taylor was denied a goal five minutes into his debut by Trevor Carson who palmed away his half-volley which was destined for the net.
Reds grew in confidence following the encouraging start. Proctor’s 20 yard effort fizzed just over the bar before the striker opened the scoring 15 minutes in. Proctor battled through tackles at the edge of the area after collecting a long pass forward by Dannie Bulman before striking a left footed shot that flew past Carson.
The visitors could have doubled their lead just two minutes later. Mustapha Dumbuya progressed down the right wing before cutting the ball back to Taylor who scuffed his shot straight at the keeper.
Steven Schumacher had Bury’s first effort on goal midway through the half but his volley was straight at Paul Jones, who had little to do in the opening 45 minutes.
Crawley needed an early second-half goal to settle any nerves and found it just a minute after the break.
Mike Jones delivered a fantastic cross into the box from the right hand side that was met by the onrushing Proctor, who doubled his and Crawley’s tally with a powerful header.
Bury nearly caught the Reds napping up the other end when Craig Fagan found space in the box but his volley was straight at Jones before Craig Jones nearly connected with a delivery into the area.
The Shakers took the game to Reds for a spell but good defending, in particular by Essam, denied the hosts any clear-cut chances. Fagan looked Bury’s best threat and, after turning in the area, he fired a shot over the bar.
Taylor had an impressive debut in midfield, breaking up Bury attacks before he nearly set up Joe Walsh but his shot was deflected for a corner.
Substitute Aiden O’Brien had a good chance in stoppage time for the Reds but his effort went way over the crossbar but no matter. The points had long since been secured by impressive Crawley.