Tomorrow John Yems’ Crawley will cross over to South Wales to take on Newport County at 7pm at Rodney Parade in an interesting Sky Bet League Two fixture between two sides in the top half of the league table.
Last Tuesday we travelled to West Yorkshire to face Bradford City, a side with an impeccable home record in 2021. Defender Jordan Tunnicliffe opened the scoring after staying forward and creating a target inside the box following a set-piece, as Tom Nichols worked the ball wide to Josh Wright who crossed perfectly towards Tunnicliffe who then leaped up and guided his header into the top corner of the net.
Bradford struck the woodwork through 37-year-old veteran Clayton Donaldson but it was Crawley who took all three points when we doubled our advantage as a precise Jack Powell free-kick was met by a towering header from Joe McNerney, meaning both centre-halves left with both a goal and a clean sheet, as well as the important three points away from home.
We then hosted league leaders Cheltenham Town on Friday evening, in a game that Crawley had built some momentum heading into. The first-half was tightly contested as Cheltenham aimed to test the Reds with their Ben Tozer long throw-ins but the likes of Joe McNerney and Jordan Tunnicliffe towered above all to head away and clear danger on many occasions.
Crawley looked sharper in the second-half and played some slick football going forward, as Tom Nichols impressed again and earned himself a spot in the Sky Bet League Two Team of the Week. Nichols combined with Ashley Nadesan and Sam Matthews in the final third on many occasions, as Jack Powell also displayed his passing range when he sent Nadesan through on goal as the striker unfortunately missed the target.
Jordan Maguire-Drew came on to replace Tilley in the second-half, and after a brilliant low strike across goal rolled into the back of the net, scored his first goal for the club since joining on loan from Leyton Orient in January.
Crawley fans may remember our match-up with the Exiles in October 2018, in a game that finished 4-1 to the Reds as the likes of Ollie Palmer and Ashley Nathaniel-George starred.
Since then, both previous meetings at Rodney Parade have finished all square, with solid 1-1 and 0-0 draws in Wales for Crawley. Head Coach John Yems has not yet faced Newport on the road since he arrived at the club last year.
EFL veteran Padraig Amond is playing in his fourth consecutive season for the Welsh side, and after hitting double figures in terms of goals in all competitions each season since he joined, the striker is searching for his tenth this time round. Amond has only scored six in League Two after 36 appearances, but this could be put down to the competition posed by other forwards within the squad.
Forwards Nicky Maynard and Dominic Telford were both brought in during the January transfer window, to help bolster the Exiles attacking options. Despite vast league experience between the pair, as well as some immense flair and talent, hitting the back of the net has been a struggle since joining, with only three league goals between the pair.
Nicky Maynard should be set to start tomorrow night and poses a strong footballing CV. The striker has played for the likes of Bristol City, Cardiff City, West Ham and MK Dons in league competition, even having a brief, goalless spell in Scotland with Aberdeen.
Ex-Reds winger Luke Gambin could feature for the opposition tomorrow night, after scoring for Malta as part of a 2-2 draw with Slovakia three weeks ago on international duty. Gambin moved to Wales in January after a spell with Colchester United, scoring only once in the league in 41 league appearances across the two seasons. Gambin will be remembered by many Reds fans for his impressive home brace against Colchester for Crawley on New Year’s Day in 2019.
Reece Grego-Cox and Tom Dallison remain unavailable. Tyler Frost, Mark Wright and George Francomb are all doubts.
HOW THEY BET*
Newport County 21/20
Crawley Town 5/2
*Odds correct with EFL partners Sky Bet at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.
You can watch the match live on iFollow from 6:55 with commentary from Gary Smith and Ken Blackmore.
You can purchase a match pass for £10 by clicking here.