A second-half strike from Kwesi Appiah proved the difference at The People’s Pension Stadium this afternoon. A beautifully taken strike from the Crawley striker ensured Crawley came away with all three points in the first game of a new era.
Barrow created the first chance of the game as the ball was curled delicately into the path of Josh Kay, who directed an effort inches wide of the far post in a swarm of red bodies. The Reds earned a chance of their own moments later as Ashley Nadesan embarked on a trademark run beyond the Barrow defence. The striker's attempted cutback for Kwesi Appiah was well-read by a Barrow defender.
Barrow were looking the stronger of the two sides in the opening stages as several Reds defenders were forced into crucial challenges and blocks. Barrow’s leading goalscorer Ollie Banks fired inches wide from a corner after a mixup in the Crawley penalty area.
Joe Grayson had a similar chance from the edge of the box as a set piece was only half-cleared by Crawley. The midfielder had plenty of time to set himself before unleashing a powerful strike at goal. Glenn Morris looked to have the effort covered as it sailed past the post.
Tom Nichols directed a header towards goal as Crawley embarked on what was turning out to be a rare counter-attack. Paul Farman was equal to the effort in the Barrow goal.
The half-time whistle soon came to conclude a pretty miserable half of football at The People’s Pension Stadium. Neither side had much to shout about after Barrow’s strong opening.
The Reds started the second half a lot stronger with renewed confidence and almost took the lead through George Francomb. The skipper forced a brilliant save from Farman with a powerful strike from inside the area after Jack Payne had a shot blocked by a Barrow defender.
The Reds continued to press in the early stages of the second half and took a deserved lead courtesy of Kwesi Appiah. The striker converted a low driven ball across the box with a glorious finish with the inside of his boot, much to the delight of the terrace behind the goal.
Crawley’s goal seemed to settle the tie as the Reds seemed to be in firm control of possession. Both Tilley and Nichols had chances to double Crawley’s lead, but as the tie ticket over to 80 minutes, John Yems’ side still led by one.
Appiah then had a brilliant chance to score his and Crawley’s second goal of the game but had his effort saved by Farman. Nichols set his strike partner through on goal as the Reds embarked on a counter-attack. Appiah had only the keeper to beat but saw his effort blocked well by the Barrow keeper.
Despite a late push from the visitors, Crawley held on to claim a third successive home victory at The People’s Pension Stadium.
REDS XI: Morris, Ferry (Gallacher 71’), Hessenthaler, Francillette, Francomb, Tilley, Hutchinson (Lynch 75’), Payne, Nichols, Nadesan (Marshall 89’), Appiah
Attendance: 2081 (150 away)