Striker heads 14th of the season as Reds reward bumper crowd
Reds secured their fourth successive home win after James Collins’ second-half header settled a tight encounter against Hartlepool United.
Collins has netted in each of those wins at the Checkatrade Stadium and he struck again in the 62nd minute when he glanced home a superb cross from the left by Dean Cox.
Hartlepool had some good spells of possession at times and pushed men forward late on, but Glenn Morris had a relatively quiet afternoon and in a game of precious few clear-cut chances Crawley’s attack always carried the greater threat.
On a good afternoon for the club, the Pay What You Can initiative attracted a crowd of 4,255 – the biggest at the Checkatrade since the final day of the 2014-15 season.
Collins had a goal disallowed for offside in the 19th minute but might have thought it was not going to be his day in the 59th minute when strike partner Enzio Boldewijn found him with a lovely cross but Collins mis-timed his leap a fraction and the ball went just over the bar.
It was Reds’ best chance prior to the goal and afterwards the hosts were content to protect their advantage and use their pace on the counter-attack. Bobson Bawling made a lively contribution off the bench and Pools’ keeper Adam Bartlett pushed out his 84th-minute shot and just out of Collins’ reach.
In the first half Billy Clifford could have scored when he curled a shot off target after Collins cushioned a header into his path. Bartlett parried a snap shot from Cox and Josh Payne wasn’t far away from 30 yards just before the break. Morris’s only moment of alarm came when he kept out a long-range effort by Sean Kavanagh in the first half. For most of the contest Pools played in front of the home defence.
At times Reds played some great stuff. One lovely turn past two defenders by Clifford in the second half drew a round of applause and while there might not have been lots of goalmouth thrills the home side were worth three points that lifted them to 13th in the table.
Reds: Morris, Young, Connolly, McNerney, Yorwerth, Payne, Smith, Cox (sub: Roberts 69), Clifford (Henderson 86), Boldewijn (Bawling 77), Collins. Unused subs: Mersin, Blackman, Djalo, Watt.
Attendance: 4266 (435 away)
Man of the match: James Collins