The Red Devils lost out to Stevenage this afternoon at the Broadfield Stadium. Ashley Nadesan cancelled out a rocket from Jordan Roberts early in the second half, but a Luke Norris penalty secured all three points for the Boro.
Stevenage have enjoyed an excellent start to their season, and after the first ten games, sit third in League Two. The visitors showed signs of their quality in the opening ten minutes as both former Red Jordan Roberts and striker Jamie Reid flashed efforts wide in the early moments of the match.
The former Crawley man was looking like a real threat for Stevenage and showed a moment of real quality to give his side the lead in the 23rd minute. Reid and Roberts linked up inside the box with a neat headed pass that allowed Roberts to fire a thunderous volley into the top corner.
Reid should have scored himself in the 36th minute. The striker received the ball inside the box and was only six yards from goal. He used his body well to create a space and fired a shot at goal, which cannoned off of the bar. From that distance, the striker should have found the net.
To add insult to injury, Harry Ransom was forced off with an injury before the half-time break. Ludwig Francillette came on to replace the stricken defender.
Tom Fellows looked to be Crawley’s biggest threat in attack, and it was the West Brom loanee who came close to levelling the score on the stroke of half-time. The young winger burst into the box and fired an effort at goal, which stung the palms of Taye Ashby-Hammond.
Kevin Betsy’s half-time team talk appeared to do the world of good, as after only two minutes of the second half, Crawley pulled the game level. Fellows again was at the heart of the attack. Tom’s shot took a massive deflection, which left the ball spinning towards the Stevenage goalkeeper. Ashley Nadesan pounced on the loose ball, and with a big slice of luck, the ball appeared to hit Crawley’s number ten and bounce over Ashby-Hammond into the back of the net.
Neither side caused a threat for the following 25 minutes as both teams looked fairly content with the other team holding the ball.
James Tilley had a shot saved by Ashby-Hammond after the Reds mounted a decent counter-attack. Nick Tsaroulla found space on the left and cut the ball back to Tilley on the edge of the box. The Reds’ midfielder failed to get any real power behind his effort and saw it saved easily by the Boro goalkeeper.
For the second time in two weeks, Crawley were penalised for a handball inside the area. Jake Taylor headed the ball towards goal but struck a Crawley man in the process. The Stevenage players were adamant that the ball hit a Crawley defender's hand. The referee agreed and immediately pointed to the spot. Luke Norris stepped up and continued his fine goalscoring form against the Reds and restored his team’s lead.
Stevenage saw out the five added minutes to pick up all three points on the afternoon.
REDS XI: Addai, Tsaroulla, Craig, Ransom (Francillette 42’), Lynch (Chukwuemeka, Fellows, Powell (Wells 86’), Hessenthaler (Telford 86’), Tilley, Nichols, Nadesan