Goalless draw as Reds held by Cheltenham
Crawley Town 0, Cheltenham Town 0
Reds were fortunate to end a low-quality Good Friday clash against the Robins with a hard-earned point.
The visitors’ line up may have looked like they were auditioning for a re-make of Land of the Giants, with their plethora of 6ft-plus players, but they created much the better of the chances, twice hitting the woodwork in the second half.
There was an anxiety about much of Crawley’s approach work and they rarely played with any fluency, although Jordan Roberts’ return after injury for the last half hour was a bonus.
While Roberts was delighted to be back Matt Harrold suffered another injury setback, pulling out of his first League start since November after suffering a reaction in the warm-up.
Harrold’s height was sorely missed against a big Cheltenham team but the home defenders stuck doggedly to their task, especially in the second half, and a point and clean sheet from a sub-par performance was the main positive for the home side.
Rhys Murphy, playing as the lone striker, has Reds’ best chance of the game in the 17th minute. Found by Jimmy Smith’s quickly-taken free kick, he ghosted between two defenders but couldn’t get the ball under control to test Scott Brown.
Brown was tested by a volley from Smith seven minutes later but the first half was littered with stoppages, further disrupting the flow of proceedings. Glenn Morris wasn’t seriously extended although Cheltenham got into some good positions, but in the second half the visitors threatened more often.
Danny Holman had two great chances in two minutes. He got goal side of Joe McNerney for the first time on 58 minutes but dragged his effort wide. Two minutes later he turned inside the box but Morris blocked his shot with his legs.
Holman then hit the inside of the post with a powerful angled effort and Reds had another scare when Kyle Storer’s effort struck a defender then deflected wide off the post as the game went into stoppage time.
Brown was rarely extended in the second half. Crawley got into some good positions but the final ball was lacking, although McNerney had a good penalty claim turned down when his shirt front was ripped as he challenged for a corner.
Roberts and Dean Cox tried to provide width but with with no recognised front man, after Murphy had come off and James Collins missing through suspension, Crawley offered little goal threat.
Still, a point is better than losing two one of the teams below us in the table and Collins will be back for Monday’s trip to Accrington Stanley.
Crawley Town: Morris; Young, McNerney, Connolly (sub: Lelan 80), Blackman; Boldewijn, Smith, Djalo (Payne 73), Clifford, Cox; Murphy (Roberts 60). Unused subs: Mersin, Garnett, Bawling.
Booked: Smith, Blackman.
KR-L man of the match: Joe McNerney
Attendance: 2008 (193 Cheltenham)