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Crawley narrowly defeated by Spurs in behind closed doors friendly at The People’s Pension Stadium

5 January 2022

Earlier today a rotational Crawley outfit were narrowly defeated by a young Tottenham XI despite many promising individual performances on show. Dilan Markanday struck twice for the away side with composed finishes and Nick Tsaroulla was the Crawley goalscorer in the second-half after his effort was deflected past the goalkeeper.

The opening ten minutes saw both sides settling into the game slowly, but soon enough Crawley created a sparkling chance on the right as Sam Matthews picked out Reece Grego-Cox who took a delightful touch and drove the ball over the bar from the edge of the area.

Tottenham scored their first chance of the game after a wave of Crawley possession. A precise midfield pass cut open the Reds defence and Dilan Markanday beat the offside trap before slotting past our Trialist goalkeeper.

Crawley reacted well as Grego-Cox neatly nodded the ball over his marker before beating another for pace but losing out to the last man who tapped the ball back to the goalkeeper who scrambled away.

Crawley’s Trialist between the sticks made a clearance from his own box that flew over the top of the Spurs back two, landing at the feet of Ashford who took a great touch following a clever run. Sam lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper from the edge of the area but it fell just inches wide of the post. An instinctive and intelligent Crawley move.

Spurs doubled their lead again through Dilan Markanday who scooped the ball over the goalkeeper after receiving a brilliant pass from Jack Clarke who drove forward powerfully with the ball. The young forward who has had recent loan spells at Leeds United and Stoke City was creating some exciting chances for the visitors.

Moments into the second-half, Crawley pulled one back as Sam Ashford worked the ball over to Grego-Cox as the ball then deflected into the path of Nick Tsaroulla who had an effort deflect off a white body and fly into the back of the net from the edge of the area. 

After the hour mark a number of red changes were made which saw young players Rafiq Khaleel and Florian Kastrati feature - the pair have recently been on loan at Kings Langley together.

Matthews later surged forward and delivered a peach of a ball into the area that was met by the leaping head of Ashford who guided the ball towards the bottom corner before it was saved emphatically.

The Spurs goalkeeper made another class save when he stopped the effort of substitute Alex Battle after the two Sam’s combined neatly again following an excellent long ball from Tyler Frost.

Alex Battle again had a driven shot stopped well before Frost picked out Kowalczyk on the edge of the area who again couldn’t beat the Tottenham ‘keeper. Minutes later after relentless Crawley pressure, Frost, Battle and Khaleel and efforts saved and blocked off of the line in a remarkable sequence that also involved Kastrati striking the crossbar.

Reds XI: Trialist; Davies (Khaleel 64’), Ransom, Francillette, Tsaroulla (Kastrati 64’); Matthews (Kowalczyk 75’), Trialist (Hussein 83’), Trialist, Marshall (Frost 64’); Grego-Cox (Battle 64’), Ashford (Trialist 75’).

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