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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Rampant Reds Punish Posh

It seemed ages but had come up so quickly.  I'm of course talking about my last Crawley Town game; a memorable day up in Accrington, Lancashire which saw the Reds clinch promotion to League 1, thanks to a solitary Scott Neilson goal.

Much had changed at the club since 5th May.  For one, the "new" manager had come in, and then gone. Also, players had been released and new members of the team had been recruited, a standard procedure for any club, unless you're Portsmouth.

Anyway, after having to miss the first three friendly games, I was eagerly awaiting the visit of Peterborough United, the second season in a row that Darren Ferguson (Son of Alex) had decided to bring his side to the Broadfield Stadium.

With "new" manager Sean O'Driscoll leaving the club late on Thursday night, Reds had a spot to fill on the touchline; this spot filled, once again, by the man who at the end of last season, led us to the third tier of English football, Craig Brewster.

O'Driscoll's reign didn't last long
Posh included two former Crawley stars in their matchday squad; Michael Bostwick, who came to the Reds as a 17 year-old loanee from Millwall was named on the bench, as was last season's forward Tyrone Barnett, sold to Peterbrough for a record fee of a reported £1.4m.

Also on the bench was new signings Danny Swanson and Nathaniel Knight-Percival who joined the club from Dundee United and Wrexham respectively.

Onto the game, Reds started the brighter side, Billy Clarke, after only three minutes beat his man before whipping in a dangerous ball that was hacked clear by defender Gabriel Zakuani.

Clarke was again involved as he controlled a pass from Gary Alexander only to slice his right-footed shot wide of the target.

Peterborough then had their first chance as roaming midfielder Paul Taylor tried to curl past his former Posh team mate Paul Jones, making his home debut for Crawley, only to see his bouncing effort fall straight into the gloves of the stopper.

Minutes later, Crawley found the opening goal as Alexander, wearing the captain's armband once again, picked up the ball, opened up his body and curled an effort past Bobby Olejnik and into the top left-hand corner.

Alexander scored the solitary goal
Posh went for the jugular; Tommy Rowe burst forward from his left back position, evading a number of challenges before seeing his drive flicked over by Jones.

From the resulting corner, Rowe then saw his header cleared off the line by another Reds new boy, Mat Sadler.

Another chance then came for the away side moments later as the transfer listed midfielder Grant McCann let fly only to see Jones hold on to his stinging effort.

The visitors attempted to turn the screw and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, a recent signing from Wolves, had two chances, both sent well wide of Jones' goal.

Crawley then had their own flurry of chances as the first half was coming to an end; Alexander had two more chances; firstly turning Zakuani only to see his effort curl just wide before heading a Nicky Adams' free kick at the near post into the corner only to see Olejnik beat the ball away.

Olejnik had a fine game
Claude Davis started his first pre-season game and saw his bullet header palmed away by Olejnik; the big Austrian keeping his new side in the game.

As the referee blew for half time, the sprinklers came on pre-maturely which saw one of the cameramen drenched, his laptop, possibly, in ruin!

A number of substitutes from both sides saw the once entertaining spectacle break up with not as many chances created by both teams.

Two substitutes combined as George Boyd found a way into the box before picking out Swanson lurking at the back post, only to see his toe-poked effort trickle wide of the post.

Clarke had yet another effort as his direct free kick went over the wall before being comfortably caught by former Torquay United custodian Olejnik.

Posh had a free kick of their own soon after but another sub, this time Daniel Kearns could only pummel the ball into the wall.

Reds then went up the other end of the pitch, in counter-attacking style and, despite having options around him, Alexander tried an audacious outside of the boot strike which was once again, down the throat of Olejnik.

An effort for both sides then occured late into the game as first, Boyd waltzed past two before letting fly, seeing his effort clawed away by Jones once more.

THREAT: George Boyd
Finally, former Posh ace Sergio Torres got past his man but his fizzed cross was sent high and wide by the stretching Morgan Ferrier, a trialist from Watford.

An entertaining game. Good to get back into the swing of things football-wise.

Also a nice change seeing us play some pretty football.

After the game, I conducted interviews with Peterborough winger Tommy Rowe and former Posh striker (Now at Brighton) Craig Mackail-Smith.  These interviews will be typed up on here later and (If I can find out how to do it) I will put the actual audio on here too so keep a look out!

Some photos courtesy of

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