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Saturday, 28 July 2012

Reds Tame The Lions!

In a game which could be looked upon a "warm up" for the Carling Cup game at the New Den, Crawley v Millwall has been quite a common pre-season friendly in recent times.

THE LIONS DEN: Carling Cup Venue
They have always been entertaining matches and this game was no different.

It was a special day for Crawley striker Gary Alexander who was playing against his former club.  The former Brentford man had his four children as match mascots for the day as well.

Millwall put out a very strong side; former Birmingham and Northern Ireland 'keeper Maik Taylor started between the sticks, the back four of Alan Dunne, Karleigh Osbourne, Jack Smith and new signing Scott Malone were on duty to deal with the Reds' strikeforce of Alexander and Billy Clarke. In midfield, Therry Racon made a rare start, he was joined by Josh Wright, Chris Taylor and Liam Trotter with Darius Henderson and Andy Keogh paired up front.

Ireland International Keogh started up front
The away side began the brightest and after 11 minutes had two quickfire efforts as firstly, Keogh saw his left footed volley pushed away by Crawley goalkeeper Paul Jones before a minute later, midfielder Wright saw his strike palmed out by Jones before Kyle McFadzean cleared.

Wright had another go after 15 minutes as his free kick flew just over Jones' left hand post after Clarke had fouled Keogh. 

Crawley had their first chance on 19 minutes as Alexander collected the ball on the edge of the box only to hit his left footed drive wide of the target.

Another chance fell to the Lions minutes later as Malone burst through from left back, beating two Crawley players only to slice wide of Jones' goal.

It was back at the other end of the pitch soon after as Dannie Bulman roamed forward before firing just wide of Taylor's left hand post.

Then, the opening goal did come with Bulman again involved. Picking up the ball in the centre, the Reds' talisman played a wonderful back-spinning pass in between Dunne and Osbourne. Clarke took a touch before cutting through the ball and finding the bottom corner of Taylor's far post. A wonderful finish.

Millwall went for the instant reply and home fans feared the worst as Keogh was sent through one-on-one however, Jones stood up well and clipped the ball out for a corner.

From the resultant corner, Henderson was lurking at the back post but his deft cushioned header went just wide.

That was about that as five minutes later the referee blew for half time - Crawley 1-0 up.

The second half exploded into life as three minutes after the teams returned to the field, Clarke's solo run saw him beat Dunne before being uphended in the box by Osbourne. Alexander, who scored over 20 goals during his time in south Bermondsey, stepped up, sending Taylor the wrong way as he slotted the ball to the right hand side of the net.

Alexander came back to haunt his old club
Millwall had an effort to reduce the scoreline as Chris Taylor's long range shot was tipped away by Jones a minute later.

There were cries of handball from the away side soon after as Trotter's fierce strike was charged down by Claude Davis; hitting the big Jamaican on the thigh according to the official.

The blues made changes as Liam Feeney, Shaun Batt and Scott Barron came on for Henderson, Trotter and Chris Taylor.

Batt spent time at the Broadfield last season
Crawley had the next chance as Nicky Adams' floated free kick found McFadzean who rose above his marker only to send his header over the bar.

Caretaker boss Craig Brewster rang the changes on 69 minutes as Bulman, Josh Simpson, Hope Akpan and Adams were replaced by new signing Shaun Cooper, Scott Davies, Sergio Torres and Scott Neilson.

Cooper came on to make his Reds home debut
Davies immediately had an impact when his through ball was fired just wide by captain Gary Alexander.

Two more Red Devils were rested for the final 15 minutes of the game as Davis and Clarke came off, replaced by Charlie Wassmer and John Akinde.

Akinde was causing the Kenny Jackett's defence problems as he cleared the crossbar twice in three minutes.

Barron had a chance late on when his half volley was stopper, once again by Jones who beat the midfielder's stinging effort away.

Two more efforts came later on Torres' left footed strike was tipped round by Taylor, flinging himself to the left. A Mat Sadler ball in was then headed over by Akinde.

As the referee added 3 minutes more, substitute Louis John, who came on for Sadler just moments earlier, shot inches wide of the post as the whistle blew for full time.

Some of the photos courtesy of

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Warren. You always do a comprehensive report.