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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Record Attendance Sees Reds Share Spoils

Crawley snatched a point as the opening of the club’s new East Stand oversaw a 1-1 draw with play off chasers Crewe Alexandra.
The new East Stand basking in Sussex sunshine
Crewe, famed for their conveyor belt of young talent that brought through “names”  such as Robbie Savage, Danny Murphy, Nicky Maynard, Dean Ashton and Luke Varney, included their latest prodege, 17 year old winger/striker and England under 18 international Nick Powell in the starting XI.  In fact, 7 of the Crewe starting XI came through the ranks of the club.

The game began and Crawley had the first chance, Scott Davies’ early floated corner kick was headed just wide at the near post by loanee Leon Clarke.
That was all the home side really had to offer for the next twenty minutes as the front pairing of Powell and Ajay Leitch-Smith looked menacing against the makeshift centre back pairing of John Dempster and Warren Cummings.
Winger Byron Moore was another player causing problems and, after receiving a neat ball from loan winger Billy Bodin who had cut in from the left; two touches later and the ball was curled into the bottom corner of the net only for the linesman to adjudge the wide man offside.
It wasn’t long until he scored another, and a goal that did count.  A long ball was punted up for Leitch-Smith to chase, Warren Cummings had time to clear, however, Leitch-Smith nipped the ball off of the defender before passing to Powell who, in turn set up Moore to curl the ball right into the bottom corner of Michel Kuipers’ net for 1-0 Crewe.
Moore opened the scoring for the visitors
Crawley rallied a little; a Sergio Torres pass found Hope Akpan, who cut onto his right foot only to blaze over the bar from about 20 yards.
Crewe had another couple of chances as a quick corner found Powell who’s dangerous, low ball in was beaten away from Kuipers and out for a corner.  The out-swinging corner came in from Ashley Westwood but centre back and captain David Artell headed wide of Kuipers’ back post.
The two sides went in at half time with the score 1-0 to Crewe.
The second half began and it was almost 2-0 instantly to the visitors as Kuipers pushed away a strike from Leitch-Smith only to see Moore following up but the ‘keeper superbly flung himself over the other side of his goal to keep the score intact.
Kuipers keeps the score intact
Moore then let fly from 25 yards as Steve Davis’ side looked to grab the second goal to perhaps kill the game off, however, the strike swerved well wide of the target.
Reds boss Steve Evans, who was strongly linked to the Rotherham managerial vacancy this week brought on the attacking duo of Sanchez Watt and Scott Neilson in a bid to change the game in the home side’s favour.

Crawley upped the ante as the visitors tired however when in good positions, Watt, Dannie Bulman and Sergio Torres decided to pass to the Crewe backline instead!
Finally the goal did come, some neat, intracate passing set Josh Simpson clear, his low cross looked to go through to Billy Clarke but a bobble saw the ball bounce up and hit Adam Dugdale on the arm; referee Brendan Malone awarding a penalty and Gary Alexander stepped up to slam home the penalty straight down the middle with just 2 minutes of normal time remaining.
ALEX HALTS ALEX: Gary waits for Malone to blow his whistle
Final conclusion, playing poorly and yet not losing is a sign of a decent side, it could be a big point at the end of the season and next up is a trip to Underhill, Barnet on Monday afternoon.  Another positive is finally seeing the attendance record broken for the first time since 2004 with a crowd of just over 4,700 witnessing the game.
Barnet's Underhill "Stadium" is the next venue
Photos courtesy of

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