A Tom Nichols double secured Crawley a well deserved win in Gloucestershire. Two goals in either half cancelled out a Jake Young equaliser, meaning Crawley maintained their unbeaten record, moving up to ninth position in the table.
The Reds started the game at a rapid pace, Sam Matthews had two early chances both being blocked well by the Rovers defence. Tom Nichols then had a brilliant chance to put Crawley ahead with a fantastic curling ball into the back post from Nicholas Tsaroulla was met by Tom Nichols who could not keep his effort under the bar.
Tsaroulla started the game with real purpose and fed Jack Powell neatly inside the box, the midfielders shot was well saved by Luke McGee in the Forest Green goal. Tony Craig then had a header cleared following a corner with the ball looking destined to find the net. The Reds were left wondering how they had not taken the lead in the opening five minutes.
Matthews looked incredibly versatile sitting behind lone striker Nichols up front, on several occasions in the early stages Sam was able to drift wide and create space. The Reds early pressure was rewarded as Nichols gave the visitors a deserved lead in the 16th minute. A loose ball from Carl Winchester was intercepted by Jake Hessenthaler who was, in turn, able to slide through Nichols who took one touch to draw the ball away from the defender and slot past McGee with ease.
The hosts began to settle down and move the ball about the area, Tom Dallison and Jack Powell were required to make two last-ditch blocks on the edge of the area to stop any danger of an equaliser.
Nicky Cadden almost curled in an equaliser for the host’s after Tom Dallison was clearly elbowed after jumping for a header, luckily for the Reds, Cadden’s shot landed on the roof of the net.
Rovers had a brilliant chance to equalise with just under ten minutes left of the half. A freekick was won on the edge of the box after Tony Craig brought his man down. Cadden’s effort was easily dealt with by Morris. The Reds keeper was then called into action again after Ebou Adams shot from the edge of the area, the shot lacked conviction and rolled through to Morris again.
Crawley were defending brilliantly throughout the half whilst looking dangerous on the counter, meaning the score remained 1-0 to the Reds heading into the break.
The host’s started the second half as they ended the first and almost found an equalizer through Jamille Matt, the striker attempted to divert his header to the near post but his effort nestled into the side netting. Rovers then found an equaliser in the 50th minute. Jake Young lashed a free kick towards goal from the edge of the box, the ball seemed to move from side to side in the air throwing Glenn Morris off the scent as the Reds goalkeeper could not react in time and the ball nestled into the roof of the net.
Crawley then had a certain penalty waved away, Nichols neatly set the ball back to Sesay in the penalty area. Sesay struck the ball first time as the ball clearly richotched off of the hand of the Rovers defender, nothing given by James Linington.
Crawley were determined to find their way back in front as Hessenthaler was centimeters from finding the net. McGee was forced to make a smart save down low as Hessenthaler turned the ball towards the far post after neat link up play between Dallison and Nichols on the edge of the area.
The Reds were nwo controlling the game as they did in the early stages of the first half. Jack Powell delivered a superb free kick into the area which Tony Craig seemed inches from at the near post, any touch would have turned thew ball in.
Tom Nichols then cleverly intercepted a back pass to Mcgee and shot first time, Mcgee was well placed to palm to safety. Crawley then had another clear penalty waved away, Hessenthaler picked the ball up just inside the Rovers area before nudging past his man which resulted in the midfielder being tripped before being able to fire at goal.
Crawley found their way in front in the 78th minute and deservedly so, Nichols that man again. A delightful ball from Jack Powell sailed over the Rovers defence, Nichols collected the ball with his chest and slotted under an on rushing McGee to put the Reds ahead. A fine Crawley goal.
Glenn Morris was then forced to keep the Reds ahead with a fine save, goalscorer Jake Young had a slice of fortune when the ball fell kindly to his feet following a corner, his drilled effort excellently pawed away by Morris.
Despite the seven additional minutes added on Crawley held on to claim another emphatic victory on the road taking them within touching distance of the top seven.
Reds XI: Morris; Sesay (Nadesan 67’), Tunnicliffe, Craig, Dallison, Tsaroulla (Frost 83’), Francomb (Davies 52’), Hessenthaler, Powell; Matthews, Nichols.