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Reds lose out to Hartlepool at the Broadfield Stadium.

9 December 2022

Crawley lost out to Hartlepool at a freezing Broadfield Stadium this evening. Two second-half corners were converted by the Pools, which saw them rise from the bottom of Sky Bet League Two. 

Crawley were looking sharp from the offset and had created a couple of decent opportunities in the opening ten minutes. Jamie Sterry cut out a dangerous through ball from Telford with a brilliant tackle. Nadesan would have been clean through on goal had it not been for the last-ditch interception. James Balagizi saw an effort clear the bar moments later as he entered the Hartlepool box. 

Dom Telford made a darting run into the box a few moments later and appeared to be tripped inside the Hartlepool penalty area. The referee immediately waved away the protests to the disgust of the Crawley staff and players.

Crawley were then dealt a massive blow as two players were forced off with injury. Ashley Nadesan and Joel Lynch were both forced to make way with off-the-ball incidents. Jayden Davis and Harry Ransom replaced the injured men.

Ellery Balcombe was forced into his first save of the evening on the half-hour mark as Sterry wrapped an effort towards goal. The full-back skillfully beat Tsaroulla with his first touch and curled a weak effort towards the goal. Balcombe composed himself and collected the effort well.

Crawley looked really bright in the closing stages of the first half. James Tilley had a shot blocked into the side netting, and Balagizi had another chance fly past the target. Encouraging signs for the second half.

Hartlepool were still in good spirits, however, and had a chance to take the lead within the first few minutes of the second half. Sterry whipped a dangerous ball into the Crawley area, which striker Josh Umerah met with a glancing header. Balcombe was scrambling across his goal and breathed a sigh of relief when the ball trickled past the post.

The game had hit a steady pace at the hour mark, but much like the first half, neither side were creating chances or taking shots at goal.

With the game going the way it was, it seemed that a set-piece goal could be the only way one of the two sides found the target. Moments past the hour, Hartlepool did just that. Rollin Menayse leapt highest from a corner and nodded past Balcombe to give the away side the lead.

With just over ten minutes to go, it looked like Crawley would be walking away from this game empty-handed. Caleb Chukwuemeka and Mazeed were introduced as a last-ditch attempt to liven up the Crawley side.

It was all to no avail as Hartlepool doubled their lead and sealed the three points in the 81st minute. Another corner was not dealt with by Crawley and it appeared that Travis Johnson headed the ball into his own net in an attempt to clear the ball.

REDS XI: Balcombe, Johnson, Craig, Lynch (Ransom 17’), Tsaroulla (Mazeed 67’), Powell (Chukwuemeka 67’), Tilley, Hessenthaler, Balagizi, Nadesan (Davis 16’), Telford.

Attendance: 1955 (128 away)

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