Crawley ended 3-2 victors after a thrilling League Two encounter with Bury in a game that included three disallowed Reds goals and an incredible late winner for talisman Ollie Palmer, who became League Two’s joint top goalscorer with five goals in as many games.
Reds opened the scoring in the third minute through captain Jimmy Smith but Bury worked hard to find two second-half goals and take a 2-1 lead on 78 minutes. But goals from substitute Panutche Camara and top goalscorer Palmer in the last ten minutes of normal time secured a fantastic comeback and a well-deserved victory for Harry Kewell’s men, their first at home since the middle of February.
Crawley welcomed back former Red Nicky Adams to Broadfield and both sides were without a win in four before today’s match, despite each scoring in three of those previous encounters.
Reds took the lead in their first attack. Ashley Nathaniel-George stormed forward to play a clever ball to Smith on the edge of the box. Smith who then calmly played in George Francomb out wide and he floated a cross that was met by Smith with a towering header at the far post to make it 1-0.
Crawley dominated possession in the opening stages with several crosses challenging the Bury defenders. However, the Shakers began to play some decent attacking football and Dominic Telford’s effort was well saved by Morris.
Then came the game’s big talking point after 20 minutes. Filipe Morais picked the ball up 30 yards out and sent an outrageous effort looping over the hands of Joe Murphy. The players were back ready to re-start when the referee was alerted by his assistant and the effort was ruled out for offside.
Telford was proving to be Bury’s danger man when his curling effort floated inches past the post but Reds were well worth their interval lead.
After the break there was a second disallowed Crawley goal when Dominic Poleon’s rebound from Ollie Palmer’s effort was ruled out for offside. Minutes later the Reds were caught when a half-hearted clearance was met by Chris Dagnall, a man who netted twice against Reds for Crewe last season and his low driven effort sailed past the gloves of Glenn Morris to make it 1-1.
Bury then looked to have found a winning goal after 78 minutes when half-time substitute Danny Mayor beat the offside trap to glide a sublime effort into the top left of Morris’s goal after Bury had countered following a Crawley free-kick.
But Reds levelled in the 81st minute. Adams brought down Nathaniel-George on the edge of the area and the resulting free-kick from Francomb was inch perfect for Camara to head past Murphy from close range.
Poleon was denied by the offside trap for the second time before Palmer had the crowd on their feet with two minutes to go.
The striker won possession on the left flank beating three Bury players as he cut inside before drilling the ball low and hard past Joe Murphy. An unbelievable individual effort worthy of winning any game.
Crawley: Morris; Doherty, Connolly, Vincelot, Francomb; Morais (Young 70’), Bulman, Smith (Milsom 90’), Nathaniel-George; Palmer, Poleon (Camara 75’). Unused subs: Mersin, Grego-Cox, Randall.
Attendance: 2036 (272 away)
Pictured: Panutche Camara (hidden) makes it 2-2. Photo: James Boardman