Comfortable win for Crawley Town in latest friendly
A first-half hat-trick by Izale McLeod set Reds on their way to a second comfortable win in pre-season.
McLeod's treble was added to by two goals from Lewis Young and one from Conor Henderson as Reds raced into a 6-0 half-time lead against County League Oakwood at Tinsley Lane.
The visitors added to their tally in the last 14 minutes through Jimmy Smith, Bobson Bawling, Josh Simpson and Anthony Harris.
John Gregory named three trialists in the starting line-up including much-travelled Fulham striker Collins John alongside midfielders Emmett O’Connor and Simon Hislop. Gavin Tomlin was still not fit to make his debut and there were a further seven trialists on the bench.
Reds took just eight minutes to break the deadlock when the referee spotted a handball in the home box and McLeod gave Ashley Harper no chance from the resultant penalty.
McLeod got his second four minutes later. Heslop’s pass forward beat the offside trap and McLeod cleverly lobbed the ball over Harper to make it 2-0.
With Reds kicking down the slope they penned Oakwood back and the third goal came on 21 minutes. O’Connor’s pass found Conor Henderson and he struck a lovely low shot into the corner.
McLeod completed his hat-trick on 35 minutes after a great burst down the left by Ryan Dickson and after Brian Jensen took a corner comfortably in a rare Oakwood raid, Lewis Young added two more goals before the break with a fiercely struck free-kick (40) and a composed finish into the bottom corner (42) which made it 6-0 at the break.
As expected, JG made a raft of changes at the break with only John, O’Connor and Young surviving from the first-half side with four more trialists joining the fray and that quickly became five when Young took a knock and Lee Childs came on.
Childs nearly made an immediate impression, firing wide after good work on the right by John but Reds lacked their first-half fluency although Johnny Marsden was denied a goal by a clearance off the line after 65 minutes.
A further change was made a few minutes later when John was replaced by Anthony Harris then Josh Simpson, pushed into a more attacking role, was denied by a good save from Harper.
Jimmy Smith produced a powerful low finish for the seventh Crawley goal in the 76th minute and then laid on the eighth for trialist Bodson Bawling after a neat one-two split open the home defence and the former Watford youngster produced an excellent finish into the bottom corner.
As Oakwood tired, Simpson made it 9-0 on 81 minutes with an excellent turn and finish into the bottom corner and Reds made it double figures when Simpson unselfishly set up trialist Anthony Harris two minutes later.
HOW REDS LINED UP
First half: Jensen, Oyebanjo, Dickson, Essam, Walsh, O'Connor, Heslop, Henderson, Young, McLeod, John.
Second half: Collins, Bawling, Richefond, Leacock, Bradley, Young (sub: Childs 48), Smith, Simpson, O'Connor, Marsden, John (Harris 70).