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Sunday, 6 May 2012

Crawley Clinch Promotion Again!

Well, it's been quite a season for my team Crawley Town.  Another long FA Cup run before bowing out to Stoke City, brawls at Bradford City, selling our two top goalscorers for around a culminated £2million, seeing our management team depart for pastures new at League 2 rivals Rotherham United and now it all came down to this; The Crown Ground, Accrington.

An early start began on Saturday as the six Alliance coaches departed the Broadfield Stadium at 7.30.  A mixture of optimism, nerves, hope and prayers were being passed around by all on "Coach 1" as we made the long trip up to Lancashire.

We arrived at around 13.15 to be greeted by the BBC cameramen before heading down the road to a pub for a drink to calm the anxiety around the place!

We entered the ground around 45 minutes before kick off, the pitch didn't look great, but on the plus side, apart from the banned Hope Akpan, Reds had a full squad to choose from.

The teams were out and I nearly cried when I heard John Akinde was starting but, to be fair to him, he played brilliantly.

We began strong though and Akinde had a great chance to put his side 1-0 up early on as he was given space just outside the box however, smashed his effort into the 631 strong visiting support behind 'keeper Ian Dunbavin's goal.

Accrington had their first chance of the game as a ball over the top was brought down by Stanley's Irish loan striker Padraig Amond however, the forward saw his strike superbly saved by the leg of the returning Scott Shearer in the Crawley goal.

The resulting corner saw an Accrington defender fling himself at the ball in before Shearer clawed the ball away.
Soon later, Akinde had another chance as he was sent through by Josh Simpson but, the striker's attempted lob over the goalkeeper was foiled by Dunbavin just outside the box with the away supporters screaming for hand ball.

Accrington had another chance as a Craig Lindfield ball in found the head of Amond who's header was hooked off the line by Reds' right back David Hunt.

Another two chances were not finished by Crawley as firstly, Akinde's ball across couldn't find Gary Alexander who was in a good position to break the 0-0 scoreline.

Next, and just before half time, a well worked move saw Josh Simpson flick the ball to the right hand side of the box to Scott Neilson.  The winger however drove wide when one on one with Dunbavin before the referee blew the whistle for half time.

The second half began and Crawley came out looking to grab the goal that could seal promotion to League 1 - Southend winning against Macclesfield meant that the Shrimpers would be going up if Crawley failed to win.

Kyle McFadzean went the closest as David Hunt's long throw was flicked onto the bar and out for a goal kick from the defender.

Reds hit the bar again as Akinde thundered his effort on goal but Dunbavin got the slightest touch to tip it onto the bar and over the stand.

The pressure was increasing on the Accrington goal and Alexander had a chance but headed over Neilson's cross at the back post when well placed.
Next it was Akinde again as Alexander's ball across the box was met by Akinde sliding in before Dunbavin got down bravely to keep the ball out.
The visitors had an effort cleared off the line from Lindfield before the goal finally came.

McFadzean went route one, Accrington couldn't stop the pacy Neilson who brought the ball down before turning and firing into the corner of the net - finally beating Dunbavin.
ONE-NEIL: Scott fires in and celebrates below
A nervy last 25 minutes ensued for the away side however, they kept Accrington at bay and held on for a famous victory and complete a second successive promotion!
A pitch invasion ensued, the players were mobbed and boots, gloves, shirts and even player's socks were given out to the travelling fans - I managed to get a pair of Sanchez Watt's boots.

The coach home was bouncing, conga's were being danced down the aisle as the jubilant fans were in the mood to party!

A few hours later and there was a party; back in Redz bar the fans ensued and, an hour or so later a number of the players were greeted with loud cheers and songs as the drinks were flowing.

Back home at around 12.30, I felt the need to watch a bit of the Football League Show; I just had a feeling there may be something important to see on the programme!

So League 1 here we come as we look forward to the likes of Portsmouth, Coventry, Preston and maybe Sheffield United - Amazing how far we have come in such a short space of time!

Until August.....

We are going up!
THUMBS UP: Brewster celebrates


Photos courtesy of

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