Edwards goal not enough as Reds slip to defeat in pre-aeason friendly
Mark Yates’ side fell to a 2-1 defeat in their final pre-season friendly against Vanarama National League South side Whitehawk at The Enclosed Ground.
Reds took the lead through Gwion Edwards’ header after six minutes.
But Whitehawk took advantage of a scrappy Crawley performance by scoring through former Red Danny Mills and midfielder Sam Deering either side of the break.
Defender Liam Donnelly made his Crawley debut, after completing his one-month loan move from Fulham on Friday. Sonny Bradley, Simon Walton and Bobson Bawling and Freddie Woodman kept their spots from the team that beat Nuneaton 3-0 on Wednesday.
Whitehawk included former Crawley Town men Sergio Torres and Mills in their starting line-up.
Early pressure led to the first opportunity from Whitehawk. Torres picked up the ball and played a quick one-two, but his strike wasn’t enough to trouble Woodman. Despite the hosts’ early pressure, it was the Reds who scored the first goal when Bawling exploited space down the left and found Edwards at the far post with a cross and the Welshman headed in his first goal of pre-season.
Crawley should have had a second through Roarie Deacon, but his first opportunity was blasted over after Lee Barnard had his scuffed effort saved. Seconds later Arnaud Mendy was robbed of the ball by Deacon and he ran in one-on-one with goalkeeper Craig Ross, but his effort was well saved.
Whitehawk weren’t without their opportunities and they took advantage of one when Mills was played into the box on 18 minutes and finished low into the right-hand corner. Woodman was called into action again on 28 minutes, when Jake Robinson picked up the ball outside the box and struck a volley goalwards, but the Newcastle loanee dealt with it well.
As tempers threatened to boil over and the game became increasingly fractious Sonny Bradley and Mendy were booked after an incident in the penalty area.
Whitehawk were the better side after the break, and Robinson latched onto a ball into the box, but his flick on was well saved by Woodman. The Hawks capitalised soon after, despite offside calls, when Robinson ran onto a through ball and passed to Sam Deering, who slotted it into the open goal to give the Hawks the lead on 55 minutes.
Crawley could have equalised on 67 minutes, when Edwards picked up a loose pass and ran clear of the defence, but he looked for the pass and gave the ball away. Deacon squandered another opportunity five minutes later, after Joe McNerney headed a corner back across goal. Deacon volleyed goalwards and forced Ross into a point-blank save.
Reds made a host of changes with 18 minutes to go but were unable to find a way through in the closing stages.
Reds: Woodman (GK), Donnely, McNerney (Ashton 72), Bradley ©, Bawling, Smith, Walton (Henderson 72), Rooney (Fenelon 72), Barnard, Deacon (Harrold 72), Edwards (Young 72)
Unused subs: Summerfield, Preston