Crawley fell to defeat at Carlisle United this evening. First-half goals from Joe Riley and Omari Patrick ensured the home side came away with all three points.
The opening ten minutes were well contested as both sides looked to take a strong foothold in the game. The Reds were looking to exploit Ashley Nadesan’s pace with lofted balls over the top of the Carlisle defence, while the host’s looked to hit Crawley with a long throw-in routine.
With Tom Nichols and Ashley Nadesan returning as a forward duo, Nichols was often able to peel off to the wing and create space for a cross. Nichols first crossing attempt was just in front of Nadesan as Paul Farman came out to claim.
Despite looking dangerous in the opening stages, the Reds fell behind in a peculiar fashion. Joe Riley took what looked to be a fairly tame shot from the edge of the area, Glenn Morris looked sure to collect Riley’s shot before a wicked bounce in the six-yard box took the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Carlisle looked to double their lead immediately as Lewis Alessandra and Riley forced two smart stops from Morris. Offrande Zanzala then had a brilliant chance to put the host’s 2-0 up. Omari Patrick floated in a lovely ball to a free Zanzala, who skewed his diving header wide.
Just after the half-hour mark, Carlisle did double their lead with a wonder-strike from Omari Patrick. Patrick picked the ball up inside the Crawley half and without hesitation, fired a lethal curling shot over Morris from 25-yards.
The Reds had a chance to pull one back just before the break as Tom Nichols won a free-kick in a very dangerous position. Jack Powell’s lofted delivery only just evaded Joe McNerney at the far post.
Crawley came flying out of the blocks in the second half as they immediately looked to half the deficit. Tarryn Allarakhia did brilliantly to beat several men before curling into the box, Farman was just able to punch away. Powell then went close from a free-kick after good work from Tsaroulla on the edge of the area.
Despite this, it was Carlisle who had the best chance to score the third goal of the game. Zanzala had a header saved from Morris at close range and looked poised to tap in the rebound. Morris was somehow able to outstretched a leg and tackle Zanzala on the goal-line to keep the score at 2-0.
Crawley introduced Sam Matthews and Archie Davies to try and inspire a late comeback as the clock ticked over to 80 minutes.
Unfortunately, there was nothing Crawley could do as Carlisle held on to claim a 2-0 victory at Brunton Park. The Reds are back in action on Good Friday, taking on Scunthorpe United at 1pm.
Reds XI: Morris; Francomb, McNerney, Craig, Tsaroulla; Wright, Powell (Matthews 74’), Hessenthaler, Allarakhia (Davies 80’), Nichols, Nadesan (Tilley 86’).