It was an afternoon to forget for Crawley at Vale Park. John Yems’ side took an early lead in the 9th minute, but instant replies from Ben Garrity and David Worrall saw Vale lead at half-time. A second from Garrity put the hosts three up minutes after the re-start before Connor Hall grabbed a fourth to seal the deal for the home side. Crawley were dealt with yet more injury problems. Tony Craig, Owen Gallacher and Ludwig Francillette were all forced off in the second half.
Crawley started the game brightly and earned two decent chances within the opening five minutes. Jack Powell floated an inviting set-piece into the box, which was cleared by the home side before Ferry had a shot blocked on the edge of the area.
Crawley’s early persistence paid off as a bizarre own goal gifted Crawley the lead. Kwesi Appiah whipped the ball into the box, which eventually found the feet of Ludwig Francillette. The centre-back hit a makeshift effort at goal, which was saved well by Aidan Stone, but as a Port Vale defender attempted a clearance, they hammered the ball off of Nathan Smith and the ball bundled into the Port Vale net.
This goal seemed to awaken the hosts, who were immediately in search of an equaliser. After a good spell on the ball, Vale levelled things up in the 25th minute. After some miscommunication in Crawley’s defence, Ben Garrity was able to slide in and calmly take the ball around Morris before slotting into the empty net.
It wasn’t long before Vale scored a second and took control of the match. James Wilson burst free down the left-hand side and squared a brilliant ball to David Worrall, who could not miss from two yards out.
Crawley looked to respond before the break and would have had an equaliser had it not been for a brilliant save from Stone. The Reds launched a quick counter-attack with Jake Hessenthaler bursting free. The midfielder clipped a ball over the defence to Appiah, who hit a sweet volley towards goal. Stone was alert to get down to his left and turn the ball around the post.
Port Vale had a third goal within minutes of the re-start as Ben Garrity struck home his second goal of the game. A long ball appeared to completely wrong-foot the Crawley defence and bounced through to Garrity, who swept home on the half-volley from the edge of the box.
Three soon turned into four as Connor Hall slammed home from six yards. A cross from the right-wing was only half dealt with by Crawley, and as a result, the ball fell kindly to Hall, who smashed home beyond the reach of Morris.
Things only got worse for Crawley, as in the space of ten minutes, both Tony Craig and Ludwig Francillette were forced off of the pitch. The Reds ended up with a back three of Nick Tsaroulla, Jake Hessenthaler and Archie Davies. To be clear, Crawley were now playing without a recognised centre-back.
To sum up the afternoon, Owen Gallacher was then forced off with a head injury, having only been on the pitch for around ten minutes.
An afternoon to forget at Vale Park.
REDS XI: Morris, Davies, Craig (Gallacher 58’ (Marshall 81’), Francillette (Hutchinson 58’), Tsaroulla, Ferry, Payne (Tilley 45’), Powell, Hessenthaler, Nichols, Appiah