Stevenage scored two late goals to snatch a point at The People’s Pension Stadium this afternoon. Tom Nichols netted a brace with goals on either side of half-time, but two goals in the last ten minutes from Arthur Read and Scott Cuthbert rescued a point for the Boro.
Crawley started the game well, and Tom Nichols almost gave the home side the lead inside the opening ten minutes. Nick Tsaroulla fired a lovely ball over the top of the Stevenage defence for Nichols to chase. The striker reached the ball first and curled an effort towards goal, which Stevenage goalkeeper Christy Pym tipped around the post.
James Tilley then stung the fingertips of Pym from the edge of the area. Tilley’s volleyed effort went straight down the throat of the on-loan Peterborough United goalkeeper.
The Reds then broke away on a very dangerous counter-attack, with Tsaroulla breaking free down the right-hand side. The full-back’s eventual effort was tipped over the bar by Pym.
It didn’t much longer for Crawley’s persistence to pay off as super Tommy Nichols put Crawley ahead in the 34th minute. New signing Isaac Hutchinson did brilliantly to nod a header in the direction of Nichols from a corner. Tom swooped in at the far post and bundled the ball into the bottom corner to give Crawley a deserved lead.
Crawley remained in control of the game but failed to find a second goal before the half-time break.
With all that being said, it didn’t take long for the Reds to find goal number two. Within the first minute of the second half, Nichols had his and Crawley’s second. A very sloppy back pass from Luke O’Neil set Nico free with only Pym to beat. The striker wasted no time in placing the ball into the bottom corner to double Crawley’s advantage.
The Reds’ other new signing Aramide Oteh was also having a fine game on his Crawley debut. The striker went agonisingly close to scoring his first goal for the club as he saw an effort fly just past Pym’s post from the edge of the box.
Nichols had a great chance to net his hat-trick as substitute Ashley Nadesan put it on a plate for the striker. Nadesan brought the ball down superbly and squared it to Nichols inside the Stevenage penalty area. Nichols had plenty of time but opted to strike the ball first time and blazed his effort over the bar.
Out of almost nothing, Stevenage pulled a goal back and gave themselves a fighting chance of claiming something from the match. Substitute Arthur Read scored the goal with a brilliant strike from the edge of the box. Read created space for himself and fired a rocket into the top corner beyond the reach of Morris.
With four minutes of added time indicated, Stevenage equalised through Scott Cuthbert. Crawley failed to clear a set-piece, and the centre-back smashed the ball into the back of the net to rescue a point for the Boro.
REDS XI: Morris, Tilley (Ferry 81’), Francillette, Craig, Tunnicliffe, Tsaroulla, Payne, Powell, Hutchinson (Francomb 65’), Oteh (Nadesan 65’), Nichols