The Reds claimed all three points this afternoon as substitute James Tilley scored his first goal for Crawley in a 1-0 victory over Colchester United. A controlling performance was rewarded in added time as Tilley converted from a neat Tom Nichols cutback.
Crawley started the game well as the returning Ashley Nadesan brought the ball down well from a lofted Jake Hesketh pass, Nadesan just failed to reach Tom Nichols with an intended cutback. A positive start for the Reds. Despite Crawley starting brightly, they were forced into a change in the opening five minutes. Tom Dallison picked up a knock after a 50/50 with Frank Nouble, Archie Davies his replacement.
Davies was immediately called into action after Jack Powell was dispossessed inside the Reds half, Aramide Oteh looked to be one on one with Glenn Morris but Davies was too quick for the striker and was able to get his body in front of the ball.
Morris was then forced into his first save of the game, Omar Sowunimi latched on to the end of Harry Pell’s header inside the Crawley penalty area, the centre back’s shot was smothered well by Morris.
The visitors were starting to get more confident with the ball in the attacking third as Francomb was forced to block well from Kwame Poku, Colchester’s wide man looked to cut inside of Francomb who had shifted over to left-back following the early Reds change, Francomb read the situation well and stretched out a leg to make a crucial block.
The Reds then earned themselves a brilliant chance as Jake Hesketh was tripped on the edge of the Colchester box. Jordan Maguire-Drew, Jake Hessenthaler and Jack Powell stood over the free-kick, the trio attempted a very clever routine as Maguire-Drew’s fake run allowed Hessenthaler to roll the ball back to Powell, the midfielder’s effort flew just wide of the target.
Crawley almost took the lead in bizarre fashion as Sowunimi came close to turning the ball into his own net, Jack Powell floated in a free-kick from halfway as Sowunimi caressed the ball onto the Colchester post.
Colchester came close in the opening stages of the second half as Davies and Morris both put their bodies on the line. Davies first blocked a powerful Callum Harriot volley before Morris was forced into an incredible save to tip round the post.
Sam Matthews and James Tilley were introduced in the early stages of the second half, both wingers looked bright with a fresh set of legs as Crawley pushed on in search of the opening goal.
The Reds then had a great chance to take the lead, Tom Nichols chipped over the Colchester defence to Nadesan who had to stretch to poke towards goal, Gerken stood tall and saved the initial effort as Tilley’s rebound was blocked well by a Colchester defender. Crawley were certainly looking the more comfortable of the two sides.
Nichols then kept the ball in play excellently allowing him to combine with Matthews on the right-hand side, Nichols found Powell inside the box but the midfielder failed to hit the target.
Three additional minutes were added and just as the game looked to be at it’s dying stages Crawley took the lead. Powell was able to find Nichols on the right-hand side of the box, Nichols cut the ball back towards the edge of the box where James Tilley was lying in wait to slide the ball home for his first Reds goal.
Crawley held on to claim a deserved three points ensuring the Reds climbed to 12th in the table.
REDS XI: Morris, Francomb, Craig, Tunnicliffe, Dallison (Davies 6’), Powell, Hessenthaler (J.Wright 89’), Hesketh (Tilley 64’), Maguire-Drew (Matthews 64’), Nadesan, Nichols.