Reds hit back and return to winning ways
By Ben Blackmore
Crawley registered their first league win in eight matches with a fine 2-1 comeback win at Stevenage. Second half goals from Hope Akpan and Dannie Bulman secured the Reds three crucial points after Robin Shroot had opened the scoring for Boro.
Richie Barker made two changes to the team that drew with Shrewsbury last Saturday, Sergio Torres and Nicky Ajose replaced by Mike Jones and Dannie Bulman. Jonte Smith lined up on the bench, making his first appearance in the squad for a competitive match.
A minute’s silence was held before kick-off for the late Mitchell Cole, who sadly passed away just aged 27.
It was the visitors who started the brighter of the two sides, Mike Jones testing Steve Arnold in the Borough goal with two early attempts.
Stevenage came back into the game and nearly opened the scoring in the eighth minute, David Hunt deflecting Marcus Haber’s strike wide.
Hope Akpan tried to energise a lacklustre first half, carrying the ball 50 yards but his cross into the box couldn’t find Gary Alexander.
Reds looked to try and break the deadlock but Josh Simpson unable to get the ball out from under his feet following a corner.
With the first half finishing goalless after both sides had largely cancelled each other out, the hosts were keen to make the breakthrough after the break and did so ten minutes into the second period.
David Gray progressed into the box on the right hand side and his cross eventually fell for the onrushing Robin Shroot who fired Borough into the lead, although there was a suspicion of handball by Marcus Haber in the build-up.
Crawley tried to respond instantly, Akpan’s 30 yard shot just going over the crossbar before he tested Arnold with a bouncing header.
With the visitors pressing, it wasn’t too long before the Reds were level. Nicky Adams cut in from the left hand side before firing in a low shot that Arnold could only parry into Akpan’s path who lashed in the equaliser. 64 minutes gone and the Reds were level.
The visitors kept the pressure on the Stevenage defence and turned the game on its head in the 69th minute. Bulman picked the ball up from 30 yards out and fired a shot that deflected off the head of Bondz N'Gala straight past the helpless Arnold to give the Reds a 2-1 lead.
Crawley soaked up late pressure well and Paul Jones saved excellently in the second minute of stoppage time to deny Lucas Akins a late equaliser when he pushed a volley, which he saw late, around the post. Then in stoppage time Jones got down well to push away Tansey's free kick.
A great win which the travelling Reds’ fans, who gave their team great backing throughout, thoroughly enjoyed.