Crawley picked up a crucial three points at the Broadfield Stadium with a very impressive victory against relegation rivals Rochdale. Dom Telford opened the scoring with a close-range finish in the 35th minute before Dion Conroy added a quick second in the 39th with a neat header. A quiet second half followed, which allowed Crawley to walk away with a glorious three points.
Ashley Nadesan probably wasn’t expecting to have a chance to shoot at goal within the first minute, but that’s exactly what he had after being fed through. The striker failed to make a strong connection with his effort, which allowed O’Donnell to make a routine save.
Crawley sustained the early pressure and had a few chances inside the opening fifteen minutes but had failed to test the palms of the Rochdale goalkeeper since Nadesan’s early strike.
Rochdale then had a chance themselves from a set-piece in dangerous territory. Mazeed was penalised for bringing down Abraham Odoh and earned himself a yellow card in the process. Danny Lloyd stood over the effort but could only find the Reds’ wall. James Tilley had a pop at goal on the counter-attack a few minutes later and fired over the bar.
Aramide Oteh decided to get involved a few minutes later as he flashed a shot wide of the target. Dom Telford found Oteh with a brilliant defence-splitting pass, which allowed the winger to run at goal and get a shot away. Oteh’s sweeping effort drifted only a few inches from the goal.
Crawley’s constant pressure paid off as Dom Telford opened the scoring in the 34th minute. It was a decent move by the Red Devils as Mazzed and Nadesan linked up inside the box. Mazeed fired the ball into the feet of Telford, who with his back to goal, excellently found the back of the net to give his side a deserved lead in the first half.
In the blink of an eye, Crawley had a two-goal lead. A quick counter-attack led to a Crawley corner that was played short by Tilley to Jack Powell. Powell’s delivery found Dion Conroy at the far post, who headed the ball into the ground, which saw the ball loop over O’Donnell and into the Crawley net.
The half-time whistle ended a great half from Crawley, but Scott Lindsey would perhaps be disappointed to have not gone into the break three goals to the good after Nadesan struck the post with one of the last kicks of the half.
Crawley were excellent again at the start of the second half. While O’Donnell had not been tested in the first ten minutes, the Reds were doing a great job at stretching the back-line of the visiting side.
Anthony Grant came on to make his Crawley debut in the 61st minute as he replaced Dom Telford, who had put in a right shift up front. Nadesan, who could have had a hat-trick burst away on the counter-attack a few moments later, but had an attempted pass to Oteh cut out brilliantly by a Rochdale defender.
Both sides made changes in the 70th-minute, and in truth, this had dramatically slowed the game down. Crawley looked more defensive and began to sit deeper in their own half. Rochdale made changes to bolster their attacking line as they look to pressure the Reds’ defence.
Crawley held on to claim an impressive victory at the Broadfield Stadium in front of a sold-out home end against their relegation rivals. A simply glorious day in West Sussex.
REDS XI: Addai, Gordon, Lynch, Conroy, Mazeed, Gladwin (Khaleel 72’), Powell, Oteh (Johnson 73’), Tilley (Fellows 72’), Telford (Grant 61’), Nadesan
Attendance: 4717 (366 away)