Crawley picked up their first win under new boss Matty Etherington this afternoon. Both sides struggled to get a real hold on the game, but it was Crawley who made the breakthrough in the 79th minute. Nick Tsaroulla saw a massive deflection on his effort, which took the effort goalbound past Sol Brynn. It was only moments before Crawley found their second as Jack Powell guided a beautiful effort into the back of the net from 40 yards out.
Crawley were dealt a blow in the first ten minutes of this fixture as Teddy Jenks was forced off with an injury. The midfielder came out on the wrong side of a 50/50 challenge and immediately signalled that he was not fit to continue. James Tilley came on to replace the stricken Crawley man. Tilley almost scored with his first touches as he forced a great block from a Swindon defender inside the box.
The Reds were enjoying plenty of the ball in the opening twenty minutes and created a decent chance in the 17th minute as Dom Telford forced a routine save from Sol Brynn in the Swindon goal. It was a decent move from the Red Devils as the returning James Balagizi linked up well with Ashley Nadesan. After receiving the ball, Nadesan turned his man and pulled the ball back to Telford, who could only squeeze an effort down the throat of Brynn.
Tilley was quickly involved again as the midfielder forced a corner from the edge of the box. Balagizi was in the thick of it again as he found Tilley in space, but Crawley’s number seven failed to get sufficient power behind his shot, and it was turned away for a corner.
The sides entered the half-time break level, which was probably a fair reflection of the game. Both sides had enjoyed spells of possession, but other than a couple of routine saves from the Swindon goalkeeper, neither side had really looked like scoring.
Swindon were by far the better team in the early stages of the second half. The Robins had created a lot of chances but were still failing to trouble Ellery Balcombe.
Crawley’s midfield looked stretched in the opening ten minutes of the second period, but the Reds still created a chance just before the hour mark. Nick Tsaroulla went on a trademark run that gave the full-back space for a shot. Brynn handled the effort well, as it came at him with real pace.
Telford fired an effort over the bar ten minutes later after another good Crawley move on the wing. Telford had his back to goal and was under heavy pressure from a Swindon defender. It would have taken a world-class finish to find the back of the net from his angle.
Crawley were enjoying another good spell of possession, and through a big stroke of luck, took the lead in the 79th minute. A set piece was only half cleared by the Swindon defence, which saw the ball fall kindly to Tsaroulla on the edge of the area. The full-back struck an effort at goal, which got a massive deflection and bounced into the back of the net. Brynn had already committed to his initial dive and could not react in time.
One goal soon became two as Jack Powell scored an incredible goal from at least 40 yards out. Aramide Oteh, who had just been introduced, chased down a loose pass from a defender that Brynn had to rush out and clear. The ball came spinning towards Powell, who was just inside the Swindon half. The midfielder took an effort at goal without taking a touch and watched the ball majestically float into the back of the net. A real touch of class from the midfielder, who had surely secured three points for the Red Devils.
The game then took a sour turn as Saidou Khan suffered what appeared to be a very nasty head injury. The match was stopped for over ten minutes as the Swindon man received a great deal of treatment from the physios and on-site paramedics. Khan was stretchered from the pitch, and the game continued.
Crawley survived the mammoth period of injury time that followed to pick up their first three points under new boss Matthew Etherington.
REDS XI: Balcombe, Francomb, Lynch, Francillette, Tsaroulla, Jenks (Tilley 8’), Powell, Hessenthaler, Balagizi (Fellows 53’), Nadesan, Telford (Oteh74’)