A brave and resilient Crawley performance ended in defeat tonight as we fell to a 2-1 loss at Gresty Road in Crewe.
Alexandra proved their league position of 2nd with some fantastic attacking football throughout which troubled the Crawley defenders on some occasions; with our boys sharing a smaller percentage of the game’s possession, especially in the opening 45 minutes.
John Yems made one switch to the side that faced Salford City which saw Tarryn Allarakhia replace Manny Adebowale, who picked up a knock in Saturday’s clash.
The home side were quick to showcase their attacking intent from the off, pegging the reds back into their own half for the majority of the first half, before finally taking the lead after 70 minutes through a Chris Porter penalty.
Crawley thought they may have found a late point to take back to the People’s Pension Stadium when Jordan Tunnicliffe was brought down for another penalty; which the returning Nathan Ferguson dispatched with ease.
However the constant pressure of the hosts grew too much in the dying embers of the affair, as a swinging ball met the head of Porter to cement Crewe’s place in the automatic promotion zone.
Alexandra winger Charlie Kirk proved to be an early threat, showcasing his flair straight from the whistle by cutting inside and looking for goal on more than one occasion. After 10 minutes Kirk had a shot deflected out for a corner that was then quickly delivered before being punted back out to Kirk who found the net from an offside position. An early warning for the Reds...
Minutes later Kirk picked out Finney with a clever pass but Glenn Morris was level to the final effort getting down low to claim with confidence. Much like Saturday’s game in Salford, Crawley began on the back foot, with the home side applying all the pressure in the opening 25 minutes, again with Kirk who was proving a real focal point going forward for the hosts.
After a MOTM performance in his last appearance, Morris was kept busy throughout the entirety of the first half, staying alert to deny a handful of ambitious Crewe efforts from outside the area. On the stroke of half-time Crewe came forward with real intent with Morris flying acrobatically to tip the effort of Pickering over the bar, keeping his clean sheet intact going into the break.
Five minutes into the second half tensions were rising as George Francomb was handed the games first yellow card for a challenge on Kirk, conceding a free-kick in the process. Pickering delivered all the way through to an unmarked Walker whose effort was again well saved by the outstretched glove of Morris.
In a game with little attacking threat from Crawley, Yems took to the bench ahead of the hour mark calling up both Mason Bloomfield and Ricardo German who came on together for the in-form duo of Palmer and Nadesan, who struggled to find their usual flair in tonight’s game.
Dealing with the ongoing Crewe pressure, Francomb’s midfield Partner Dannie Bulman was the second man to enter the referee’s book for another late challenge; shortly being followed by Reece Grego-Cox who slid through Perry Ng on the Crewe right to receive his third league booking of the campaign.
Substitute Callum Ainley dashed into the box and was brought down by Jamie Sendles-White on 70 minutes. Porter stepped up and dispatched straight down the middle to give the home side a lead they had been chasing for the majority of the game. Following the goal Yems again took to the bench bringing on Nathan Ferguson for Reece Grego-Cox.
The pace of the game began to accelerate further after the opener with Crawley driving forward with growing intent. Bloomfield did excellently to hold up a floated cross, shielding the ball before picking out Francomb who had his driven effort saved by Jaaskelainen in our best chance of the game so far.
After what some believed to be a soft penalty call for Crewe, Jordan Tunnicliffe was brought down clearly by Porter in the box following a set-piece to give Crawley a lifeline late on. Nathan Ferguson stepped up and dispatched with swagger from the spot firing into the top left corner, making the scoreline 1-1 with 5 minutes of normal time to play.
But it all came crashing down in the final moments of the game when Porter met a swooping cross that evaded the Crawley defenders in the middle, nodding home into an empty net and claiming all three points for the home side.
Crawley next face Carlisle United at The People’s Pension Stadium on Saturday as we look to build on our outstanding home form.
Attendance: 3,314 (33 Reds fans)