Crawley claimed all three points in Bradford this afternoon, courtesy of a 95th-minute winner from Tony Craig. Andy Cook scored the opening goal for the hosts, who controlled the majority of the first half. Crawley looked full of energy in the second half and got a deserved equaliser through Tom Nichols in the 71st minute. With eight minutes added on, it appeared that both sides were settling for a point. That was until Tony Craig rose highest from a set-piece and steered a header past Alex Bass to send Crawley home with all three points.
John Yems made several changes to his side at Bradford City this afternoon. Jack Payne, Ashley Nadesan and Reece Grego-Cox were all introduced into the starting lineup. However, George Francomb was replaced by Jack Powell just moments before kick-off at the Utilita Energy Stadium.
Bradford controlled the opening 20 minutes of play and almost took the lead through striker Andy Cook. A brilliant touch from the Bradford frontman put him past two Crawley defenders inside the area. Cook’s eventual effort flew over the bar.
Despite only playing 90 minutes since the first day of the season, Jordan Tunnicliffe was looking like he was back to his best. The Defender made a perfectly timed challenge on the edge of the box to deny Cook a run at goal.
Bradford continued to dominate possession, and with 31 minutes gone, the home side took the lead. A delightful ball was whipped into the box by Charles Vernam on the left-hand side, Andy Cook was completely unmarked at the back post, and the striker was on hand to divert a header past Morris into the back of the net.
To add insult to injury, Joel Lynch was forced off with an injury he sustained moments before the opening goal. Nick Tsaroulla came on to replace the defender as Crawley opted for a 4-3-3 formation.
The hosts kept their lead into the break, with Crawley having it all to do in the second half.
Crawley started the second half with real energy and began to show real menace in attack. First-half substitute Nick Tsaroulla was enjoying a lot of free space on the left-wing, and on a couple of occasions, troubled the Bradford defence with shots from range.
The Bantams still looked dangerous on the attack, and it took yet another world-class save from Glenn Morris to keep Crawley firmly in the fixture. The ball was worked into the Crawley box, where Cook had space to stab an effort towards goal. Morris stuck out an arm and made an incredible reflex save to deny the striker a second goal.
Substitute Mark Marshall was looking to make an impact against one of his former teams, and just moments after entering the field almost equalised for the Reds. Tsaroulla pinged a ball into the box where Marshall was waiting, the midfielder poked an effort towards goal, but goalkeeper Alex Bass was equal to the effort.
Just moments later, Marshall did make an impact. The midfielder delivered a peach of a ball into the penalty area, which Tom Nichols met with an inch-perfect header. Bass had no chance of saving the effort and the striker immediately wheeled away towards the Crawley supporters.
James Tilley then forced a brilliant save from Bass as Crawley hit Bradford with a dangerous counter-attack. Powell spread the ball beautifully to Tilley, who took a few strides towards goal before unleashing a powerful effort which Bass tipped over the bar.
With eight minutes of additional time added on, Bradford looked the more likely team to snatch a winning goal. However, as we have seen many times this season, Crawley never say die. A ball was clipped towards the back post, and Tony Craig popped up out of nowhere to steer a header past Bass to win the game for Crawley in the 95th minute.
Limbs in the Crawley end as Crawley snatched all three points in the dying minutes.
REDS XI: Morris, Davies, Tunnicliffe, Craig, Lynch (Tsaroulla 32’), Tilley, Payne, Powell, Nichols, Grego-Cox (Marshall 67’), Nadesan
ATTENDANCE: 14,600 (120 Crawley)