The Red Devils got back to winning ways in pre-season yesterday evening with a convincing victory at Heybridge Swifts. Scott Lindsey named a strong XI for the penultimate pre-season fixture, so the Reds were expected to take firm control of the game. A short flurry of goals in the second half saw the score end 1-7 in favour of the visitors.
It took only four minutes for Crawley to find themselves an opening goal. Nick Tsaroulla was alert to intercept a loose pass from a Heybridge defender on the edge of the penalty area before firing an accurate effort into the bottom corner. The wing-back has now scored three goals in pre-season, making him the second-highest goalscorer in the Reds' pre-season campaign.
The game soon quietened down after its frantic start. Crawley were holding lots of possession but were struggling to find a way through the Heybridge defence to trouble the goalkeeper again. Heybridge then enjoyed a rare attack at the half-hour mark and suddenly found themselves with a penalty. A Crawley man was judged to have hauled a man to the floor during a set piece, which resulted in a penalty being awarded. Rob Harvey dispatched the spot kick to level the tie.
Fortunately, the Red Devils didn't have to wait too long until they were back ahead. At the end of the half, things seemed to click for Scott Lindsey's side as they scored two quick-fire goals to take a two-goal lead into half-time. Klaidi Lolos linked up well with Danilo Orsi inside the box to allow the striker to restore Crawley's lead. Dom Telford then nabbed his first goal of pre-season with a composed finish inside the Heybridge box only a minute after Orsi had put Crawley back ahead.
Crawley's impressive play continued into the early stages of the second half, with only two changes made at the break. Luca Ashby-Hammond and a trialist replaced Corey Addai and Tobi Omole.
Klaidi Lolos netted his first Crawley goal six minutes into the second half. The new signing placed a lovely finish into the far corner, having been found in plenty of space by a Crawley midfielder inside the penalty area.
Four soon became five, and again the goals came in quick succession. Danilo Orsi netted his second goal of the evening with a tidy finish from close-range to round off a decent move from the Reds.
Telford soon made it six from the penalty spot after Orsi was fouled. There was some questioning from the home side aimed at the referee, as many thought that the foul had occurred outside of the penalty area. Nonetheless, Telford dispatched his effort into the bottom corner.
Ashby-Hammond had barely touched the ball in the second half since his arrival to the game but was forced into some serious action on the hour mark. The referee awarded yet another penalty, this time in favour of the home side for a harsh handball offence. Ashby-Hammond produced a brilliant double save to keep out Heybridge, first from the spot and then an excellent reflex save to block the follow-up.
Florian Kastrati scored his second goal of pre-season with a very decent strike from range to round off an impressive pre-season outing.
The Red Devils conclude their pre-season calendar at National League side Bromley on Saturday afternoon.
Crawley starting XI: Corey Addai, Kellan Gordon, Jay Williams, Joy Mukena, Tobi Omole, Harry Ransom, Nick Tsaroulla, Liam Kelly, Klaidi Lolos, Dom Telford, Danilo Orsi
Used substitutes: Luca Ashby-Hammond, Trialist, Trialist, Trialist, Florian Kastrati, Rafiq Khaleel, Jayden Davis