Lewis Young ends four-year wait for his first goal to earn sixth win in seven for Reds
Lewis Young scored his first goal for Reds on his 158th appearance as Crawley’s fantastic form continued with a dramatic win at the Proact Stadium.
Young produced a superb finish in the third minute of stoppage time to secure a sixth win in seven for Harry Kewell’s side, who had trailed at the break before new signing Karlan Ahearne-Grant equalised in the 57th minute.
Kewell made two changes to the side that defeated Accrington Stanley 2-1 in Reds previous fixture with Ahearne-Grant and Dannie Bulman coming in for Josh Payne and Josh Lelan, who both dropped to the bench.
Ahearne-Grant began his debut in fine manner, making a surging run from the halfway line to the 18-yard box before unluckily seeing his shot blocked.
Despite the cold conditions, Crawley’s centre-backs showed they weren’t afraid to wear some stinging strikes, both Josh Yorwerth and Mark Connolly blocking what could have been troubling long-range efforts early on.
The opening 15 minutes wasn’t characterised by the style of passing football these two sides are known for, as a series of upfield punts disrupted any flow to the game.
That soon changed when Spireites midfielder Louis Reed gambled with a half-volley from 30 yards out. The ball fell loosely following a corner for the home side, and Reed’s strike took a deflection on the way through, spinning past the wrong-footed Glenn Morris in goal to give the hosts an 18th-minute lead.
Yorwerth had two half-chances in the next ten minutes, rising highest from a corner and free-kick. The centre-back’s leaps hindered his ability to control the headers, however, and he failed to trouble Chesterfield’s Aaaron Ramsdale with either.
Ahearne-Grant looked Crawley’s most productive outlet, and that notion was supported in the 37th minute when the left winger smartly rolled his man on the edge of the box and unleashed a blistering effort, which was palmed away well by Ramsdale.
Soon after he showed a superb deftness of touch to control a drilled ball and set himself in a one-on-one position, but Ramsdale raced off his line to close the angle, and Crawley went down the tunnel scratching their heads as to how they hadn’t equalised.
It didn’t take long for the second 45 minutes to ignite, when a burst – yet again – from Ahearne-Grant created space for him to cross. His drilled ball met Jimmy Smith, whose sweet connection had everything but accuracy.
The Reds kept coming, firstly through a Thomas Verheydt header at the near post and then with a beautifully fashioned chance by Mark Randall, which Smith couldn’t convert one-on-one.
Crawley got their deserved goal in the 57th minute, when none other than Ahearne-Grant controlled the ball on the left, cut inside past two defenders and delayed a couple of shooting opportunities before tucking the ball past Ramsdale. He immediately sprinted over to the 114 travelling fans, whose long journey up north was beginning to look worthwhile.
With Chesterfield no longer resting on their laurels, the game ebbed and flowed following the equaliser. The home side’s Kristian Dennis had bagged 14 goals this season and tested Morris with a couple efforts, but could not break through.
As the game reached the final stages, players on both sides looked exhausted, such was the intensity of the preceding 80 minutes. But Reds had a bit left in the tank.
Deep into stoppage time Smith’s gamble on a loose ball got him one-on-one. He fumbled slightly, but managed to set-up the onrushing Young, who beautifully curled a right-footed shot into the top corner to seal a dramatic win.
The travelling fans went berserk and Harry Kewell went over and shook their hands at the end of a brilliant away day for their supporters and Reds, who are now just seven points off the play-off places.
Pictured: Lewis Young celebrates his dramatic late winner with Jimmy Smith. Photo by James Boardman