Today John Yems’ Crawley achieved three big points in East London after a terrific display in front over 383 away supporters. George Francomb gave us the lead before the visitors equalised with a freak goal that ricocheted off of Glenn Morris. Kwesi Appiah was the man to put us back ahead only moments later in the second-half.
It was a much-changed starting line-up that began the game for Crawley. John Yems chose to field five defenders against Kenny Jackett’s Leyton Orient. After a much-improved performance on Tuesday night against Walsall, Crawley looked to take a hold of the game in the early stages.
The Reds’ early pressure almost paid off as Ashley Nadesan forced a save from Lawrence Vigouroux. Good play from Nichols on the edge of the Orient area gave the striker space to pick out his partner. Nadesan failed to connect with his effort properly and saw his shot saved with relative ease.
Crawley continued to hold the majority share of possession, but this did not stop Orient from attacking the Crawley goal with menace and forcing Glenn Morris into a smart stop. A clever flick from Aaron Drinan in the Crawley penalty area allowed striker Harry Smith to poke an effort towards goal. Morris was alert and reached down to his left-hand side to palm the effort around the post.
The Reds continued to push and took a deserved lead in the 31st minute through the Skipper George Francomb. Archie Davies beat his man wide on the right flank and found Francomb with a delightful cutback allowing Francomb to smash the ball into the back of the net.
In truth, Crawley could have been two or three up by half-time. Nadesan curled an effort wide of the goal after being played clean through by Francomb, and a couple of wasted through balls, meant Orient were very much still in the game at the interval.
Orient looked like a different outfit in the early stages of the second half. The home side were beginning to put together some neat passages of play together as they searched for an equaliser.
Despite the Reds growing into the second half, Orient equalised with a fluke goal from Theo Archibald. With the ball on the right wing, Archibald attempted a cross towards the back post. The ball floated high and long and somehow dropped into the Crawley goal. A real moment of madness in the capital.
What felt like heartbreak soon turned into jubilation as the Reds were only behind for a matter of moments before Kwesi Appiah restored the lead. A brilliantly worked Crawley move started with Francomb in midfield, the Skipper found Davies with a delightful pass that set the wing-back clean through on the wing. Davies picked out Appiah at the back post, leaving the striker plenty of time to convert past Vigouroux.
The match was starting to heat up as both sides began to pick up bookings in the final stages. Referee Carl Boyeson was certainly earning his money this afternoon.
Substitute Reece Grego-Cox came agonisingly close to wrapping things up for Crawley as Vigouroux made a brilliant save to deny to Reds winger. RGC capitalised on a poor touch from an Orient defender and looked to curl an effort past the goalkeeper, Vigouroux somehow tipped round the post.
Things were looking good for Crawley, and with five minutes of the six added minutes played, Orient were reduced to ten. Darren Pratley made a clumsy challenge on Tom Nichols and as a result, was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
The Reds held on and claimed a fantastic three points, which was no more than they deserved.
REDS XI: Morris, Davies, Craig, Francillette, Lynch, Ferry, Francomb, Powell, Nichols, Nadesan (Grego-Cox 82’), Appiah (Tilley 90’)