Ged Garner scored a brace as Crawley succumbed to a 2-1 loss against Morecambe on a chilly February afternoon at the Broadfield Stadiumn.
It was a slow start to the game, with little in the way of goalmouth action but with 11 minutes on the clock, Crawley ‘keeper Corey Addai got down well to deny Morecambe defender David Tutonda from opening the scoring with a vicious strike.
Crawley took the lead just six minutes later, when Harry Forster superbly picked out the bottom corner on the half-volley.
Both Klaidi Lolos and Adam Campbell had combined beforehand and thus the wing-back was left with enough time and space to bury the ball past Morecambe keeper Archie Mair, who joined the Lancashire-based club on loan from Sky Bet Championship outfit Norwich City in the recent January transfer window.
Having got the first goal, Crawley got the taste for more, and Liam Kelly went close with a cracking drive from 20 or so yards out that whistled inches past the left-hand top corner.
With 35 minutes played, Morecambe drew level through striker Ged Garner. The striker was on hand to poke home a loose ball in the penalty area.
It was perhaps slightly against the run of play, as Crawley had looked comfortable since taking the lead, but alas they found themselves pegged back – and needing a way to regain control of proceedings.
Morecambe started the second half the stronger of the two sides, and nearly took the lead just two minutes after the restart.
David Tutonda slipped loan signing Julian Larsson in down the left and side and he cut it back towards Garner, who tried to sweep it home from close range but was expertly denied by Addai in the Crawley goal.
The visitors thought they’d found the goal to give them the lead for the first time in the game when Jacob Bedeau headed in from close range following some pinball in the area, but no sooner had he scored than the goal had been ruled out for offside.
In large parts, the second half was a largely cagey affair, with neither side wanting to fall behind. Adam Campbell went close from a Crawley counter-attack, but his strike, low to the keeper’s right, was not enough to beat Mair.
From the resulting corner, Crawley forced another with some neat interplay around the penalty area culminating in Mair making a near-identical save to the one he produced to counter Campbell’s attempt.
With a little over 12 minutes of normal time remaining, Morecambe nearly found that crucial second goal, but Jake Taylor’s looping effort from a couple of yards outside the penalty box dipped a little too late, arcing narrowly over the crossbar.
Crawley had chances too, but seemed unable to break down what was a stubborn Shrimps defence. Liam Kelly swung in a free kick from the right-hand channel but it was to no avail, as the ball made its way across the penalty box without a single touch to divert it goalwards.
With 84 minutes on the clock, Morecambe took the lead for the first time in the game as Ged Garner bagged his brace with a lovely, sweeping finish into the bottom left-hand corner. It was a dagger to the hopes of the hosts, who had, in the passages of play leading up to the goal, perhaps looked the likelier outfit to find a winner.
But the persistence of the travelling team paid off, and Garner, who signed on loan from fellow League Two side Barrow in January, got his second goal of the game, and second in Morecambe colours, to likely ensure the points left the Broadfield Stadium with the visitors.
Reds slip to 14th in the Sky Bet League Two table, and are leapfrogged by today's opponents in the process.
We're next in action a week today - as we travel up north to face Crewe, before our next home game arrives in 10 days time - a midweek clash against Walsall.
REDS XI: Addai, Ransom, Conroy (c), Maguire, Kelly, Wright, Tsaroulla, Forster (Gordon 61'), Campbell (Roles 90'), Lolos, Orsi
Attendance: 2,856 (134 away)