- Reds dominate affairs at the Hive
- Boldewijn, Young and Roberts all go agonisingly close in first half
- Jimmy Smith scores second half brace to seal three points
A second half double from Jimmy Smith sealed a fine away victory for Crawley in a game which they dominated at The Hive.
Jimmy had coolly finished from the edge of the area just after the hour mark before Simon Akinola had levelled the scores minutes after the skipper had given Harry Kewell’s men the lead, but the midfielder headed home two minutes from time to seal a well-deserved win.
Harry Kewell made three changes to the side that fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Notts County last weekend – with Mark Connolly returning from injury and Aryan Tajbakhsh and Jordan Roberts also being handed starts from the off.
It meant that Dannie Bulman, Mark Randall and Josh Payne all dropped to the bench as the Australian looked to match his opponent’s structure.
There was a familiar face for Reds fans starting for the hosts – as Andre Blackman lined up as a left wing-back for the Bees having departing the club in August.
The Reds began the contest with a back three of Josh Yorwerth, Josh Lelan and Connolly, with Lewis Young and Cedric Evina deployed on either flank in wing-back positions. Captain Jimmy Smith was partnered by Tajbakhsh in the centre of the field, with a front three of Enzio Boldewijn, Ibrahim Meite and Jordan Roberts in what looked to be a 3-4-3 set up.
A fast start but frustration…
Kewell’s men had glorious opportunities in the first half to take the lead – with Enzio Boldewijn seeing his header bounce back off the crossbar from a Jordan Roberts corner, and Lewis Young twice seeing goal-bound efforts blocked in dramatic fashion.
Jimmy Smith also drew home goalkeeper Craig Ross into a smart low stop, and the visitors enjoyed prolonged spells of pressure but couldn’t find the finishing touch.
Second half comes to life…
A goal for either side in quick succession after the hour mark brought the game to life. Crawley captain Jimmy Smith opened the scoring when he coolly slotted home after Enzio Boldewijn’s great work to win back possession and run at the home defence.
But within a minute the Bees were back level as substitute Simon Akinola had an easy finish after he was found by Mauro Vilhete when he dispossessed the visiting defence.
But the visitors weren’t to be denied victory in a game that they would have felt hard done by walking away from with anything less than three points.
Mark Connolly sent in a fine cross from the right-hand side in the dying moments of normal time – and it was inch perfect onto the head of Smith who made no mistake in heading it back across goal and into the far corner of the net to seal a fine victory.
Reds: Morris (GK), Connolly, Yorwerth, Lelan, Young, Evina, Tajbakhsh (Randall 74), Smith ©, Boldewijn, Meite (Camara 82), Roberts.
Subs not used: Mersin (GK), Doherty, Payne, Bulman, Sanoh.
Attendance: 1,602 (196 Crawley fans)