The Reds are finally back on the road for what is our longest trip of the season so far as we travel to Cumbria to take on Barrow who were promoted from the National League last season.
After two fantastic wins against Tranmere Rovers and Salford City earlier this month, we later hosted Mansfield Town at The People’s Pension Stadium, a side who travelled down to West Sussex following an impressive 3-1 victory over then league leaders, Cheltenham Town. The game was fairly level in the opening stages with few chances created from both sides, as we went into the break goalless.
Crawley then pushed on and increased the performance levels after the half-time break, as Tom Nichols went close on two occasions before James Tilley was there again in the final few minutes of the game to beat his marker for pace and strength before bringing the ball down and blasting into the net with power and precision.
Next up was Walsall on Tuesday night who came here with a point to prove following a drop in league form. Emmanuel Osadebe converted a second-half penalty to give the visitors a lead but in the 97th minute Jordan Tunnicliffe leaped up in the air and was punched by goalkeeper Liam Roberts as a penalty was awarded. Tom Nichols stepped up and kept his cool to smash in the latest of our equalisers this season.
Barrow have been on a fantastic run as of late which has lifted them out and away from the drop zone. After suffering 1-0 defeats to Harrogate Town and Bolton Wanderers, Barrow have won three on the bounce with three consecutive clean sheets, just like Crawley did before our draw with Walsall on Tuesday.
The Bluebirds are now five points clear of danger and have two games in hand on relegation rivals, Southend United, who sit one position below them alongside Grimsby Town in the drop zone.
The last time the Reds took on Barrow before we hosted them earlier this season was in 2011 when the Bluebirds made the long journey down to The People’s Pension Stadium in the National League. Dannie Bulman played in that game that finished 3-2 to Crawley.
There were also goals earlier this season when we were allowed to invite a small percentage of our supporters into the ground to watch us take on the Bluebirds back in December.
In a spectacular overall game we ran out 4-2 victors thanks to goals from Max Watters and Tom Nichols. Watters got his first and only hat-trick for the Reds in a brilliant showing that some supporters were fortunate to see live. Tom Nichols kept his cool to convert from the spot.
Barrow were also handed a penalty which Josh Kay initially missed but then followed up with an alert rebounded effort. Sam Hird also netted to give Barrow a temporary 1-2 lead early in the second-half, but Watters equalised before Connor Brown was shown red as the scoreline was level.
After scoring on 20 occasions last season in the National League, Scott Quigley has again been a key figure in the Bluebirds squad in League Two this year, scoring eight times and often playing 90 minutes from the front. Josh Kay, who scored against the Reds earlier this season, has often partnered Quigley up top, and the duo have worked well in recent weeks.
Centre-half Tom Davies has been in great defensive form recently, achieving three clean sheets after he was reinstated in the team following the back-to-back defeats to Bolton Wanderers and Harrogate Town. Davies sat alongside our very own Archie Davies in last week’s Sky Bet League Two Team of the Week, and will likely partner James Jones in defence.
Reece Grego-Cox remains unavailable. Tyler Frost and Sam Matthews are still out and working hard to return to action. Tom Dallison has just undergone a successful surgery which will keep him out for the foreseeable future.
HOW THEY BET*
Crawley Town 7/4
*Odds correct with EFL partners Sky Bet at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.
You can watch the match live on iFollow from 2:50 with commentary from Harry Maynard and Ken Blackmore.
You can purchase a match pass for £10 by clicking here.