Crawley’s season ended in defeat this afternoon at the hands of Swindon Town. Late goals in the first half from Charlie Austin and Jake Cain saw Red Devils trail by two at the break. Dom Telford pulled a goal back from the spot in, but the Reds were unable to find an equaliser.
Crawley started brilliantly in the opening ten minutes and put some real pressure on the Swindon defence in the early stages. Tom Fellows started the game at right-back, and his pace was a useful asset for the Reds as the West Bromwich Albion loanee had plenty of space on the right side.
The next 15 minutes or so resulted in much of the same. Crawley were dominating possession and were in complete control of the game but had yet to properly test Sol Brynn in the Swindon goal.
Travis Johnson was having what would undoubtedly be his best performance in a Crawley shirt. Within the opening 40 minutes, the full-back, who was filling in at centre-half, put in several last-ditch perfectly timed tackles, saving Crawley on numerous occasions.
Despite Crawley having the majority of possession in the first half, it was Swindon who took the lead in the 40th minute. Charlie Austin was the goalscorer. The forward volleyed home from the edge of the box after the ball broke free in the air. It was a decent finish from the veteran striker, who gave his side what some would argue was an undeserved advantage.
In the blink of an eye, it was 2-0. Jake Cain lined up a free-kick from range and perfectly placed the ball into the top corner past Corey Addai. It was a great finish from the Swindon man, who may never strike the ball cleaner in his life.
James Tilley forced a decent save from Brynn in the early stages of the second half. The winger powered a rocket from range towards the Swindon goal that had Brynn scrambling, but the Swindon shot-stopper got down well to palm away.
Crawley were handed a lifeline on the hour mark as Nick Tsaroulla won Crawley a penalty. James Tilley skipped away from a defender but was hauled down. The referee dismissed these claims but had no choice but to point to the spot a few seconds later as Tsaroulla was bundled down. Telford did the honours of dispatching the penalty to give Crawley some hope.
Less than five minutes later, Swindon had a penalty of their own. Johnson was accused of unfairly bringing his man down as he charged into the box. Hepburn-Murphy had the chance to score but was denied by Corey Addai, who made a great stop to keep Crawley in the game.
Tom Fellows came agonisingly close to a first Crawley goal with only five minutes of normal time remaining. The ball broke for the youngster inside the box, and he was able to stab an effort towards the goal. Brynn covered a lot of distance to stick a leg out and deny Crawley an equaliser.
The final whistle soon sounded to end Crawley’s season. It may not have been the best of seasons, but with an injection of Scott Lindsey magic, Crawley will playing in League Two once again next season.
CRAWLEY XI: Addai, Fellows, Johnson, Ransom, Tsaroulla, Spong, Gladwin (Grant 81’), Powell, Nadesan, Telford
Away fans: 528