Crawley secured the double over Tranmere Rovers on Saturday afternoon, as a tidy Tom Nichols finish ensured the Reds travelled back to Sussex with three points.
The Reds created the first couple of chances in the tie, Jack Powell and George Francomb both going close. Powell was fed the ball nicely on the edge of the area with time to shoot, Jack’s shot not finding the target. George Francomb, who was playing at left-back, had a brilliant chance to open the scoring. Jake Hesketh intercepted neatly in the middle of the park before handing the ball to Tom Nichols, the striker was able to find Powell inside the box in plenty of space, Francomb’s shot lacked power and was collected easily by Scott Davies.
Tranmere came straight back at the Reds as David Nugent went close for the home side. Kaiyne Woolery drifted past Francomb on the wing before firing at goal, Glenn Morris saved well down to his left but the rebound fell straight into the path of Nugent, the striker somehow blazed the ball over the bar.
A very fast-paced opening 15 minutes with both sides making chances, Nadesan almost taking the ball around Davies but slipping in the process. Nichols then firing just wide from range.
Nya Kirby then attempted an audacious effort from 30-yards out which required a smart save from Glenn Morris. Francomb cleared the ball from inside the Reds penalty area following a Tranmere corner, Kirby took a touch before letting fly on the half volley with great technique, forcing Morris to tip over the bar.
End to end action at Prenton Park as Nichols came close again on the half-hour mark. Hesketh again capitalised on sloppy play from the Tranmere defence as the midfielder was able to slide through Nichols, Davies making a routine save from Nichols’ effort.
That action brought an end to the first-half at Prenton Park. Both sides will be wondering how the score remained 0-0 at the interval.
Crawley started the second half with real intent and found themselves ahead after 57 minutes. Patient build-up play from Hesketh, Hessenthaler and Nadesan allowed time for Francomb to make a darting run into the box, George’s first-time ball found Nichols, who finished well into the far corner.
Joe McNerney then forced a world-class save from Scott Davies following a free-kick. Powell’s delivery was flicked on towards McNerney at the far post, Joe unleashed a powerful volley from just yards towards the top corner as Davies somehow stuck out an arm to tip away.
Tranmere still remained dangerous on the counter as Woolery forced a very smart save from Morris. Woolery had the ball launched towards him from inside his own half, Tunnicliffe was the man to beat as he cut inside and fired at goal, Morris making a very good save at his near post.
Crawley held on to claim a fantastic three points at Prenton Park, Nichols strike early in the second half ensured the Reds left Tranmere with a smile on their faces.
Reds XI: Morris; Francomb, Tunnicliffe, McNerney, Davies; Hesketh (Tilley 85’), Hessenthaler, Powell, Maguire-Drew (Frost 85’), Nichols, Nadesan (Rodari 90’).