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Reds play out goalless draw with Gillingham at the Broadfield Stadium.

22 November 2022

Neither side had a lot to shout about in the opening fifteen minutes. Jack Powell had fired a free-kick narrowly wide for the hosts, and Stuart O’Keefe fired a dipping volley just over the bar for Neil Harris’ Gills.

At the half-hour mark, there was nothing more to report. There was very little control from either side, with a lot of scrappy misplaced passes and fouls. The referee had been a busy man and had brandished a couple of yellow cards to the visitors. At this stage, he was the only contender for Man of the Match.

Joe Goode missed an incredible chance for Gillingham five minutes before half-time. A messy cross from the visitors wasn’t dealt with by the Crawley defence, which meant the ball fell kindly to Goode. Luckily for Crawley, his finishing touch wasn’t very good, and he missed the target.

The half-time whistle soon whistled to end a miserable half at the Broadfield Stadium.

The first fifteen minutes of the second half resulted in much of the same. Lewis Young introduced James Tilley, who could easily be a catalyst to set this game alight. With one of his first touches, Tilley provided a cheeky nutmeg, which was easily the most entertaining moment of the match so far.

Aramdie Oteh and Tom Fellows soon followed as Tom Nichols and Dom Telford made way.

Tony Craig showed his worth in his 700th career appearance with a crucial block to deny substitute Ben Reeves. The ball was worked out to Reeves on the edge of the area, and Craig was forced to intervene and block what appeared to be a goalbound effort from the Gills man.

Jake Hessenthaler stung the palms of Gills goalkeeper Jake Turner in the 77th minute after a good interchange with George Francomb and Jack Powell.

In truth, 0-0 was probably a fair result for this fixture. Both sides had chances to win the game, but it wasn’t to be on a cold night at the Broadfield Stadium.

There were positives to take for Crawley. A point was gained, which extended the gap between the Red Devils and Harrogate, who sit in 20th place. The defence was solid and nullified the majority of the Gillingham attacks, which resulted in another clean sheet which have been hard to come by this season.

Perhaps the highlight of the evening was being able to celebrate Tony Craig’s 700th career appearance with a clean sheet in hand. The veteran defender did not put a foot wrong all evening and showed why he has played at a very high level in the English Football League. It should not go unnoticed as a milestone, as very few players can boast 700 appearances at some of the highest levels of the EFL.

REDS XI: Balcombe, Tsaroulla, Lynch, Craig, Francomb, Jenks (Tilley 57’), Powell, Hessenthaler, Nichols (Oteh 65’), Nadesan, Telford (Fellows 65’)

Attendance: 3284 (1018 away)

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