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Reds seal a return to League One owing to first half goal from Orsi before late Liam Kelly strike

19 May 2024

Club News


Reds seal a return to League One owing to first half goal from Orsi before late Liam Kelly strike

19 May 2024

Crawley Town were promoted to League One following an excellent 2-0 victory at Wembley in the play-off final against Crewe Alexandra in what surely goes down as one of the best days in the clubs history.

Danilo Orsi and Liam Kelly were the goalscorers for the Reds on this historic day.

Adam Campbell kicked off the game, and Crawley, who were dressed in white head to toe and kicking from right to left in the first half, looked to make a fast start.

Crewe also appeared dangerous early on, and with 6 minutes played Shilow Tracey found himself in space on the wide right, but his cross was calmly collected by Addai in the Crawley net.

There was little in the way of clear cut chances inside the opening ten minutes, perhaps as both sides accustomed themselves to the arena and the enormous importance of the occasion.

Liam Kelly had Crawley’s first attempt of the game but his shot from just over 20 yards out flew over the bar.

A matter of minutes later Kelly had a second bite of the apple following some lovely interplay on the edge of the area. The midfielder received the ball from Danilo Orsi but his strike just lacked the power to make it past Crewe ‘keeper Max Stryjek.

As the players stopped for a drinks break on the 25 minute mark, Crawley had enjoyed a mammoth 75 percent of the possession, but by the same stick, they hadn’t done a lot with the ball either.

Lolos went close for Crawley just after the play resumed, following some more wonderful work by Kelly. Lolos did well to deceive the defence and put the ball on his right foot, but similarly to Kelly his attempt was lacking any real venom.

With 37 minutes on the clock, Crewe went close through Elliott Nevitt, who’s low strike from range required Addai to tip it round the post.

Orsi opened the scoring with 41 minutes played – some more nice interplay saw the ball arrive at Orsi’s feet and the striker did what he did best – calmly stuck it in the back of the net Trivela style. A finish truly befitting of the occasion.

Crawley managed the eight minutes of the first half (four of normal time with four added on) well – and headed in at the break with the all-important advantage.

In the 51st minute Crewe were awarded a penalty after Addai appeared to trip Chris Long, but the decision was overturned by VAR when replays showed Long had in fact dived and not been touched whatsoever by Addai.

The Crewe chance had come about thanks to a misplaced pass from Adam Campbell, who was replaced by Ronan Darcy shortly after the penalty drama.

As the half progressed, both teams introduced subs as the game crept into its final third. Crawley’s only change at this time saw Ade Adeyemo replace Kellan Gordon.

Chances were few and far between, but Crawley looked menacing on the break and nearly doubled their advantage when Liam Kelly broke downfield. Having ran about 50 yards, he then played in Darcy but his shot was deflected behind for a corner.

Darcy again went close mere moments later, as a neat one-two with Lolos freed up some space in the box for him. However he couldn’t keep his effort down and it arced wide of the post.

Liam Kelly drew another great save from Stryjek with a shot that looked destined to nestle in the top corner but for a strong hand.

Addai made a big stop in the 83rd minute, getting big to prevent Alex captain, Mickey Demetriou’s header finding the net.

Crawley made it 2-0 in the 85th when Liam Kelly got the goal his performance deserved. He was on hand to steer the ball home from a tight angle into an open net, after his initial cross was blocked by a sliding Demetriou. Cue bedlam in the West End of Wembley Stadium – as fans started to really celebrate the idea of promotion.

There were 10 minutes of time added on at the end of the game but these were seen out with a minimum of drama – and at their conclusion referee Ben Toner blew the final whistle – and what seemed an impossible dream back in August was realised on a sunny May afternoon in North West London.

The players and staff were then able to celebrate with the fans from the pitch following the iconic trophy lifts– moments that will live long in the memory of those in attendance.

Crawley Town. Back in League One.

REDS XI: Addai, Gordon, Wright, Conroy (c), Maguire, J.Kelly, Williams, L.Kelly, Campbell, Lolos, Orsi. 

Attendance 33,341

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