The Red Devils succumbed to their third successive league defeat this evening at the hands of high-flying Stevenage. A penalty from Dom Telford came too late for Crawley, who were two goals down at the break courtesy of goals from Jordan Roberts and Carl Piergianni. Stevenage extended their lead to three goals as Piergianni added his second before Telford pulled one back for Crawley.
It was a bright start for the home side, who forced a brilliant save from Ellery Balcombe within the first two minutes. Alex Gilbey found himself with the ball bouncing towards him in the Crawley penalty area and adjusted his body brilliantly to strike an effort goal. Balcombe adjusted brilliantly to tip Gilbey’s shot over the bar.
In the sixth minute, Stevenage really should have been ahead. A routine pass was played across the box, and to the surprise of many in the stadium, two unmarked Stevenage players were waiting to receive it. Jordan Roberts picked up the ball and had only Balcombe to beat from around eight yards. The former Red, who has been on fine form for Stevenage this season, somehow failed to find the target.
In the ninth minute, Stevenage did take the lead, and it was Jordan Roberts. A long ball over the top found Roberts, who was helped massively by a slip from Brandon Mason. He had a battle with Travis Johnson but got the better of the Crawley defender and found the back of the net.
Stevenage grabbed a second goal before half-time. Centre-back Carl Piergianni was completely unmarked from a set-piece and had the simple task of nodding the ball beyond Balcombe to double Stevenage’s lead.
Crawley made a much brighter start to the second half and almost pulled a goal back in the 53rd minute. It was a decent bit of play from the Red Devils on the edge of the Stevenage box. The ball opened up for Tom Fellows, who found Ludwig Francillette, of all people, on the edge of the box, who fired an effort just over the bar.
Stevenage responded with some chances of their own, and Balcombe was forced to make some very decent stops to keep Crawley in the game. First from Roberts, who had a powerful effort beaten away by the Brentford loanee. Gilbey then had an effort smothered by Balcombe, who was alert to dive down to his left.
Luke Norris, who is normally prolific against the Reds, had a chance to put his side 3-0 up with ten minutes. The striker received the ball with plenty of space ahead of him and looked certain to score. Norris was disappointed to only find the palms of Balcombe, who was relatively untroubled by the effort.
The third goal came soon enough, however, as Piergianni grabbed his second goal of the game. A corner was only half dealt with by the Crawley Town defence, which gave the home side a great opportunity to swing the ball back into a packed penalty area. Piergianni was waiting patiently for the ball to land perfectly on his head and, once again, perfectly placed the ball into the back of the net.
Crawley did pull a goal back just a few minutes later from the penalty spot. Nick Tsaroulla was sythed down in the Stevenage penalty area and a penalty was awarded. Dom Telford dispatched the penalty, but it was too late for Crawley, who succumbed to a third successive defeat.
REDS XI: Balcombe, Tsaroulla, Johnson (Mazeed 75’), Ransom, Francilette, Mason (Davis 75’), Balagizi (Khaleel 83’), Wells (Powell 45’), Telford, Chukwuemeka (Oteh 67’)