Today saw a nine-goal thriller in Nailsworth as the Reds lost out by a three-goal margin after coming back from behind twice in the first-half with two strikes from midfielder Jake Hessenthaler. Kwesi Appiah scored his first for the Reds late on but it was not enough to salvage a result.
It was a nightmare start for the Reds as it took less than 60 seconds for the hosts to take the lead. Jamille Matt was able to find Nicky Cadden on the left wing, which gave the winger plenty of space to run into. Cadden charged towards Morris’ goal before firing a shot that took a wicked deflection off of a Reds defender, the ball looped over a helpless Morris and bounced into the back of the net.
Crawley looked to bounce back instantly as Will Ferry embarked on an incredible solo run which started in his own half. Ferry picked the ball up inside the Reds half and immediately beat his man on the right-hand side. The young midfielder charged towards goal before cutting inside on the edge of the area and curling just wide of the target.
It wasn’t long before the Reds found themselves level after brilliant build-up play on the edge of the Rovers penalty area. Patient play from Jack Payne allowed him to fire a driven ball into the Forest Green penalty area. Tyler Frost met the pass with a cute flick that fell perfectly into the path of Hessenthaler, who drilled the ball into the bottom corner for his second goal in as many games.
Forest Green began to threaten the Crawley goal once again and had two brilliant chances in quick succession to retake the lead. Morris was forced to make a brilliant save at the near post to deny Matty Stevens before Nicky Cadden fired just inches wide of the target.
The host’s pressure was soon rewarded as Stevens found himself one on one with Morris after a long ball broke through the Reds defence. The ball seemed to sneak under the feet of the Crawley defence, which allowed Stevens to pick up the loose ball and lob Glenn Morris.
The Reds again responded brilliantly as Jake Hessenthaler equalised for the second time in the match. Tom Dallison played a brilliant ball downfield towards Frost, who had already beaten his marker before receiving the ball. Frost took a couple of touches before firing across goal, where Hessenthsler slid in and drilled the ball under Luke McGee.
Forest Green started the second half much like they started the first as they looked to re-take the lead. Unfortunately for Crawley, they did just that as Jamille Matt nodded home in the 48th minute. Will Ferry, who had been shifted to left-back, was unable to stop Ebou Adams from delivering a dangerous ball into the Reds penalty area where Matt was lying in wait to turn the ball into the back of the net.
The Reds remained positive and looked to pose a real threat going forward, but the hosts were able to add their fourth goal in the 67th minute. Nicky Cadden scored his second of the game after a low driven cross made its way across the Reds penalty area, Cadden was just able to keep the ball in play and thump into an empty net.
Only a minute later, Cadden was able to complete his hat-trick. Jamille Matt forced a good save from Morris at point-blank range, but the loose ball fell straight to the feet of Cadden, who tapped into an empty net.
Forest Green soon added a sixth goal as substitute Jake Young was able to convert past Morris from the edge of the area. A quick counter-attack from Rovers allowed Young to burst free as Adams found the substitute in acres of space. Young took one touch and curled beyond Morris.
The Reds did pull one back as Appiah netted his first goal in Crawley colours. It came from Nadesan, who drilled a driven ball across the penalty area where an unmarked Appiah smashed past McGee.
The Reds are back in action next Saturday on the 28th of August as Northampton Town travel to The People’s Pension Stadium.
REDS XI: MORRIS, FRANCOMB, CRAIG, FRANCILLETTE (TILLEY 38’), DALLISON, FERRY, PAYNE, HESSENTHALER, POWELL, FROST (APPIAH 64’), NADESAN (DAVIES 90’).