Championship side too strong for John Gregory's side
Reds suffered their first defeat of the pre-season campaign as 3,390 watched Championship side Fulham win 2-0 at the Checkatrade.com Stadium.
Two first half goals from Felix Magath’s side, the first from Kostas Staflydis and second from Hugo Rodallega, was enough to separate the two sides in a fairly even contest.
It was the first chance for Reds' fans to see a very much new-look Crawley side in their own backyard, with nine new signings starting for John Gregory’s side.
The visitors, captained by former England midfielder Scott Parker, fielded a strong side including Hugo Rodallega who had had the first meaningful chance of the match on the 18th minute mark.
The striker found himself with space to line up a shot after a Fulham breakaway but his effort was superbly turned away by Crawley’s new ‘keeper Brian Jensen.
Reds responded by creating a fantastic chance of their own just two minutes later. Conor Henderson’s teasing cross fell perfectly on the head of Izale McLeod but he spurned the chance from eight yards out.
Played in scorching temperatures, there was little to separate the sides approaching the 30 minute mark, however the visitors took full advantage of slack defending to open the scoring.
Left-back Stafylidis found space on the left hand side to fire an unstoppable shot past Jensen to give Fulham the lead.
Stafylidis was involved once again as Fulham took a griphold on the match to double their advantage just two minutes later. The defender went forward on the wing in a Fulham breakaway and squared the ball for an unmarked Rodallega to tap in.
The two goal lead for Fulham was slightly harsh on theReds based on chances created but you could argue that the visitors deserved their lead.
Reds responded with good passing play near the end of the half and quite easily could have had a penalty just before the break. McLeod looked like he had got to the ball ahead of the defender as Hutchinson bought him down but the referee turned away the appeal.
Into the second half and Reds nearly found a way back into the match shortly after the break, Mcleod’s low effort turned away by the new Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli.
Gregory made a few changes of his own as Bobson Bawling replaced Gwion Edwards and the substitute was in the thick of the action immediately.
Bawling combined well with Josh Simpson on the right, with the captain’s low cross finding Bawling in the box but the substitute couldn’t find a way past Bettinelli who saved his low effort well.
Magath made changes of his own, one of which Moussa Dembele had a great chance to wrap the game up but his effort from six-yards out cannoned off the crossbar and bounced clear.
Trialist Emmett O’Connor saw dipping effort go just over the crossbar near the end of a contest which saw limited chances for either side, but which the visitors just about shaded.
Reds: Jensen, Oyebanjo, Walsh, Leacock, Dickson, Edwards, Smith, Henderson, Simpson, Young, McLeod.
Subs use: Bawling, Essam, Marsden, Spiegel, O’Connor, John, Lindsay, Bradley, Childs, Richefond.