The Reds returned to action this evening against Stevenage at The People’s Pension Stadium. Crawley made three changes as Tyler Frost, Jordan Maguire-Drew and Jordan Tunnicliffe returned to the starting lineup.
Crawley started very brightly and found themselves with a free-kick in a very dangerous position inside the opening two minutes. Jordan Maguire-Drew stood over the ball, his effort was gathered comfortably by David Stockdale. Stevenage then found themselves with a set-piece in a similar position just yards outside the Reds penalty area, Jordan Tunnlciffe clearing well on this occasion.
The Reds started to apply some pressure on the Stevenage defence as Tyler Frost and Jack Powell linked up well, Powell played a neat one-two with Frost before firing wide of the target.
Powell then found Nichols over the top of the Stevenage defence with a delightful lofted ball, Nichols first touch let him down as Stockdale was able to come out and clean up. Elliott List looked to burn Tom Dallison on the left wing with some electric pace, List’s cross was blocked well by Tony Craig.
Stevenage striker Luke Norris battled well with Jordan Tunnicliffe to win the ball back 25-yards from goal, Norris’ powerful effort was saved well by Morris who was required to get down to his left. Norris then headed over from a free-kick, his appeals for a penalty were profusely waved away by Carl Brook.
Jordan Tunnicliffe then went close at the opposite end of the pitch, George Francomb clipped in a neat cross which Tunnicliffe flicked on towards the far post, David Stockdale clutched onto the ball after making an acrobatic save to deny Crawley the lead.
Glenn Morris had very little to do in the opening 40 minutes but was forced into a very smart save five minutes from the interval. Tunnicliffe was unfortunate as his clearance rebounded into the path of Norris who fed Jack Roles inside the box, Roles hit the ball hard and low as Morris stuck out a leg to keep the score at 0-0.
Stevenage the second half with real intent as Norris again went close from the edge of the area, the striker found himself wide on the edge of the box but was able to manoeuvre himself into space before blasting at goal, Morris palming away.
Maguire-Drew used his skill to great effect as he drifted past several Stevenage defenders in the box before winning a corner. Powell’s corner looked dangerous as Craig was just inches away at the far post.
Tom Nichols then linked up well with Francomb on the edge of the box, George doing very well to win the Reds another set-piece in a dangerous position. Maguire-Drew’s delivery was flicked on by a Stevenage defender just before Nichols was able to make any contact.
The Reds were dominating heavily in the second half but the visitors looked dangerous on the counter-attack. Elliot List again bursting past several Crawley players for pace before drilling at goal, Morris was on hand again to save low.
Despite Crawley’s dominant spell of pressure, it was Stevenage who took the lead. Elliot Osborne found himself with the ball at his feet on the left-wing, the substitute proceeded to cut inside on his right foot and fire at goal from 25-yards out, the ball flew into the top corner leaving Morris with absolutely no chance. Some strike from Osborne to give the visitors the lead against the run of play.
The Reds stuck at it and just minutes later found themselves with a penalty, Archie Davies combined neatly with Maguire-Drew who was bundled to the floor leaving Carl Brook with no choice but to point to the spot. Tom Nichols stepped up and blasted at goal, and Stockdale was equal to the effort with a superb save.
Stevenage held on for the six additional minutes to claim all three points.
Reds XI: Morris, Francomb, Tunnicliffe, Craig, Dallison, Wright, Hessenthaler (Nadesan 85’), Powell, Frost (Davies 77’), Jordan Maguire-Drew, Nichols