John Yems’ Reds began their 2021/22 pre-season campaign with a professional win against Walton Casuals this evening, thanks to a Tom Nichols brace and a goal for a trialist forward.
The game started with an electric tempo as Crawley looked to attack with venom from early - resulting in an opener only four minutes into the game when Archie Davies’ clever cross was converted confidently by a trialist.
A lively Zaid Al-Hussaini later intercepted a loose ball alertly before deciding to square a pass unselfishly to a trialist who couldn’t quite get his shot away. James Tilley then got involved in the action drawing two clever fouls in advanced positions within a matter of minutes, displaying his crafty footwork that began to tease the opposition defenders.
Owen Gallacher was quick to make a statement on his first display for Crawley as he bombed up and down the left flank, working well with Tilley. The opposition’s number seven looked like Casuals’ biggest threat on their right side, but the new man from Newcastle dealt with the danger professionally and looked comfortable from the start.
In the second-half, John Yems named a fully-changed XI which included the likes of Tom Dallison, George Francomb and Tom Nichols.
Sam Matthews provided the first moment of beauty in the second-half when he combined with Nichols before the ball was eventually punted away. Matthews later interchanged with Nichols once more and this time was able to get a curling shot away that was saved by the Walton goalkeeper.
Nick Tsaroulla, Davide Rodari and Tyler Frost all began to play off of Nichols who quite unsurprisingly displayed his class and value to the team throughout. It was Nichols who got our second after a slick move involving Matthews resulted in a well-placed finish into the far low corner.
The bagsman then drew a foul in the area when Frost and Matthews combined, which resulted in a penalty that Nichols dispatched with comfort into the bottom-right corner to make it three.
Nichols was denied a late hat-trick when his close-range header was denied by a spectacular save from the Walton goalkeeper.
First-half XI: Trialist; Davies, Trialist, Adebowale, Gallacher; Al-Hussaini, Khaleel, Powell, Tilley; Trialist, Trialist.
Second-half XI: Jones, Francomb, Ransom, Dallison, Tsaroulla; Matthews, Hessenthaler, Payne, Frost; Rodari, Nichols.