The Red Devils continued their unbeaten run in pre-season with a 1-2 victory at Dover Athletic yesterday evening. Goals from Nick Tsaroulla and Ashley Nadesan were enough to keep Crawley's winning run intact despite the Reds being a goal down in the first half.
Unlike the two previous pre-season matches, there were not two elevens that took to the pitch for a half each. On this occasion, wholesale changes were made on 60 minutes.
The 60-minute team's brightest spark was Nick Tsaroulla. The wing-back was causing major problems for the Dover defence from the outset and was constantly finding joy down the left flank. It wasn't the ideal start for Crawley, however, as new signing Ade Adeyemo was forced off with an injury just 15 minutes into the game. Florian Kastrati came on to take his place.
Things went from bad to worse for Crawley as they soon found themselves a goal down. It was an unfortunate own goal from a trialist that gave the home side the lead. A low-driven cross was played across the face of the goal, and in an attempt to steer the ball away from danger, the trialist inadvertently diverted the ball past Luca Ashby-Hammond in the Crawley goal.
Fortunately, Dover's lead didn't last long. Nick Tsaroulla will gladly take all of the credit for this goal. The wing-back ventured on a trademark solo run towards goal, beating several defenders on his way. The Cypriot's skill proved to be too much for the final Dover defender as he bundled Nick to the floor, resulting in a penalty. Tsaroulla immediately took control of the situation by picking up the ball himself and did the honours of levelling the tie from the penalty spot.
More chances followed, but the Dover goalkeeper made a couple of routine saves to keep the score level at half-time.
The Reds survived an early scare in the second half when Dover struck the woodwork in the 51st minute. It was a decent move from the National League South outfit. A few passes in the Crawley half suddenly made space for the number 10 inside the box, but the forward was unable to find the target and saw his effort come crashing off of the woodwork.
Wholesale changes were made on the hour-mark as Kellan Gordon, Joy Mukena, Jay Williams, Liam Kelly, Tobi Omole, Harry Ransom, Harry Forster, Danilo Orsi, Ashley Nadesan and Dom Telford were all introduced.
It took a while for the recently introduced team to get going, but they were able to find Crawley's winning goal in the 78th minute. Dom Telford took a looping shot at goal, which looked destined to find the back of the net, but instead found its way onto the post. Fortunately, Ashley Nadesan was on hand to tap the ball into an empty net to put his side ahead on the night.
There was very little action in the remaining ten minutes, and Crawley held out to claim a third victory of pre-season.
Crawley starting XI: Luca Ashby-Hammond, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Joel Lynch, Ade Adeyemo, Klaidi Lolos, Jayden Davis, Nick Tsaroulla, Rafiq Khaleel, Trialist