Crawley entertained Forest Green Rovers in an entertaining 0-0 draw at The People’s Pension Stadium this afternoon. Both sides had chances to win the game but the points were ultimately shared in Sussex.
The visitors posed the first threat of the game as Dominic Bernard fired just over in the third minute. Joe McNerney was forced to put the ball out for a corner after Scott Wagstaff posed a threat on the Forest Green Wing. The resulting corner was only half-cleared by the Reds as the ball fell to the feet of Bernard, who fired just over Glenn Morris’ goal.
Jordan Tunnicliffe was then forced to defend in a similar fashion as the visitors launched a quick counter-attack. A rare Crawley attack was broken down by Forest Green as Odin Bailey broke away from Josh Wright on the wing. Jordan Tunnicliffe came across to make a crucial tackle.
The visitors looked to be taking control of the game as the Reds defended a flurry of five consecutive Rovers corners. The visitors attempted several corner-kick routines that had clearly been practised at the training ground but had little effect on the game as the Crawley defence cleared on every occasion.
Aaron Collins then had the best chance of the half after being sent through by Wagstaff. The Rovers midfielder split the two Crawley centre-backs with a brilliant pass to find Collins, who was one-on-one with Glenn Morris in the Crawley goal, the striker rounded Morris but somehow failed to hit the target.
Sam Matthews looked to provide a good outlet for Crawley on the wing and was only inches away from scoring his second goal of the season. Sam picked the ball up on the right flank and immediately turned towards goal, where he curled a delightful effort which had Luke McGee well beaten, but the effort rattled the Rovers crossbar.
Forest Green Rovers immediately resumed their quick attacking play in the first minutes of the first half as Morris made a brilliant double save to keep the score level. Jayden Richardson broke free of the Crawley defence and had only Morris to beat. The Reds goalkeeper beat away Richardson’s first effort before smothering a second.
The Reds began to settle into the game and started to create some neat attacking moves, one of which was nearly put away by Nadesan. Jack Powell and Jake Hessenthaler linked up well on the wing, allowing Powell to deliver a brilliant ball into the box. Nadesan rose highest but could not direct his header on either side of McGee.
Josh Wright brought Ebrima Adams down on the edge of the area and earned himself a yellow card in the process. Bailey stood over the set-piece but failed to find the target. Crawley then introduced Tarryn Allrakhia and Davide Rodari to aid the search for the opening goal.
The visitors will be wondering how to score was still level in the 74th minute as yet another chance was squandered by the Rovers attack. Collins had a brilliant chance to open the scoring after receiving the ball inside the Reds area, Powell’s back saving Crawley on the line.
Crawley then went close with a brilliant team move deep inside Forest Green territory. Matthews, Rodari and Nadesan linked up with neat one-touch play, which allowed Powell to be set through on goal. Jack could not quite connect with the ball as his effort trickled out of play.
The game had suddenly found a new burst of pace, both sides attacking well in end to end action. Collins was once again gifted a chance to score as the striker had nothing but net in front of him, McNerney making the heroic block on this occasion.
Reds XI: Morris; Francomb (Davies 80’), McNerney, Tunnicliffe, Craig; J. Wright (Rodari 68’), Hessenthaler, Powell; Matthews, Maguire-Drew (Allarakhia 68’), Nadesan.