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Reds made to rue miss chances at Forest Green.

28 October 2023

The Red Devils suffered a disappointing loss at the hands of Forest Green Rovers this afternoon. Despite going ahead in the first ten minutes, Scott Lindsey’s side were made to rue missed chances as they conceded two first-half goals that would eventually prove to be enough for the side that began the day in the bottom two.

It was a dream start for the Red Devils as Ronan Darcy blasted an effort into the far corner in the early stages. Scott Lindsey’s side has been dominating the opening five minutes and deservedly took the lead in the 7th minute. A lovely intricate piece of play following a corner gave Darcy space at a tight angle. Some may have thought that a cross would have been a better option, but Darcy made no mistake and found the far corner.

After this, Crawley could have scored another two or three goals. Nick Tsaroulla had an effort very well saved by James Belshaw in the FGR goal after the wing-back made a brilliant run into the Rover's penalty area. He was being chased by Fankaty Dabo, who had already been booked, so Tsaroulla knew he had time to spare but was thwarted by Belshaw. 

Crawley’s best chance of the game fell to Klaidi Lolos in the 20th minute. A perfectly executed set-piece routine was sent into the box, and after a neat header back down into the danger area, Lolos had all the room in the world to fire a shot at goal. Klaidi will likely have been disappointed not to have scored on this occasion, but massive credit needed to be given to Belshaw, who made a brilliant point-blank save.

Things started to go downhill for Crawley after this. More chances were wasted or saved by Belshaw, and before you knew it, Callum Morton had equalised for FGR. The ball was picked up by a midfield player and was slid through to Morton, who, after some good footwork, drilled the ball under Addai to level the score.

Crawley then found themselves a goal down at the break after a miscommunication between Addai and Williams allowed Morton to score his second of the afternoon with only seconds left of the first half. A high ball was sent forward over the top of the Crawley defence, which Jay Williams looked set to deal with. There was then some confusion, which allowed Morton to nip in, steal the ball, and calmly roll FGR into the lead.

The Reds now faced an uphill battle in the second half, which felt rather unnecessary considering the quality of football that was displayed in the opening 25 minutes.

Scott Lindsey’s side continued to hold a lot of the ball in the second half but were not creating anywhere near as many chances as they had in the first. Darcy had Crawley’s first chance of the half as he stole the ball from an FGR defender and set off towards goal. Darcy’s eventual shot was palmed away by Belshaw.

The best chance of the half fell to Lolos, but once again, the Crawley man was denied by some superb goalkeeping. It was an awkward opening for the number eight as he had his back to goal inside the area. He used his agility well and spun past his marker but saw his effort somehow clawed away by Belshaw.

The rest of the half was frustrating for Crawley, and Forest Green did well to ride out wave after wave of Crawley pressure to claim all three points at the New Lawn.

REDS XI: Addai, Gordon (Forster 82’), Johnson (Henry 74’), Wright, Maguire, Tsaroulla, Kelly, Williams, Darcy (Roles 82’), Lolos, Orsi

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