Crawley Town were beaten 2-4 in an end-to-end Sky Bet League Two clash by a strong Crewe Alexandra side on what was a rather rainy Saturday afternoon at the Broadfield Stadium.
Both Klaidi Lolos and Ronan Darcy found the net in the opening half an hour, and it was the former of these who struck first, from the edge of the box, hitting a low, curling effort to the keepers left which nestled into the corner.
Lolos’ goal itself was arguably against the run of play, as the visitors had enjoyed a couple of good chances in the run up to conceding.
However, The Reds’ lead lasted mere minutes, as Shilow Tracey, who spent 5 years on the books at Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur, levelled the scores. He was played in behind from midfield, and expertly beat the offside trap before coolly slotting a low effort home past an outstretched Corey Addai.
In what was fast becoming an end-to-end encounter, Ronan Darcy had a great chance to restore Crawley’s lead on 22 minutes but his low shot was straight at Harvey Davies in the Crewe net.
But just six minutes later, Crawley were back in front again thanks to a great hit from Ronan Darcy.
His strike from range thundered towards goal and struck both posts with force before going in. It was a great finish, but a lot of credit should go to Lolos who made the goal with some great physical play before picking out Darcy with a near-perfect pass out to the right-hand side.
The remainder of the first-half was played in a similar manner, with both Crawley and Crewe having chances to score. The dynamic Nick Tsaroulla went closest to scoring for the home team, but he saw his shot – which looked to be flashing into the roof of the net on the near side – acrobatically tipped over by Davies.
After the break, Crawley held their lead for ten minutes or so before an unfortunate own goal brought the Alex back into the game. Rio Adebisi flashed a low cross across goal, where stand-in Town captain Dion Conroy, unfortunately, saw the ball ricochet off him and into the back of the net, the scores now levelled, the sides with two goals apiece.
With just 15 minutes of normal time to play, Crewe took the lead for the first time in the game when Courtney Baker-Richardson was on hand to steer home from just yards out. For the first time in the game, Crawley were behind and the noise levels from both sets of fans seemed to ramp up as the hosts looked to retake control of proceedings.
With seven minutes of time added on at the end of the second half, optimism was rife in the home sections, but Elliot Nevitt ruined any dreams of a last-minute equaliser when he rounded Addai and rolled the ball into an empty net in the 94th minute.
Nevitt’s goal capped off what was ultimately a disappointing afternoon for the hosts, who have now lost three league games in a row and will be looking for a change in fortunes when they travel west to play Forest Green Rovers next weekend.
REDS XI: Addai, Tsaroulla, Wright, Conroy, Maguire, Henry (Gordon 60'), Williams, Kelly (Khaleel 90'), Darcy (Roles 90'), Lolos, Orsi
Attendance: 3026 (249 away)