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Saturday, 18 August 2012

Reds Romp To Opening Day Win

I'd waited a long time for this day. Since I started my affiliation with Crawley Town way back in 1999, I've got to be honest, I never envisaged the Reds playing League 1 football. Today was the moment however, that the dream became reality.

The Crawley side was boosted by the news that new boss Richie Barker had made his first forays into the transfer market only yesterday; bringing in Jonathan Forte and Nicky Ajose on loan from Southampton and Peterborough United respectively.

NEW BOY: Ajose's  not had the best time at Posh
Basking in the Sussex sun, Reds started off on the back foot as, after only five minutes, Kyle McFadzean, who signed a new three-year contract with the club only yesterday, had a Mark Duffy goal-bound strike cannon off his head and with  "Fadz" falling down more like a knocked out boxer, the referee awarded a drop ball.

The first noteworthy effort of Crawley's League 1 campaign came from newly appointed captain Gary Alexander who headed a Nicky Adams cross towards Sam Slocombe's right hand post only to see the effort saved.

The next chance fell to McFadzean who leaped highest only to see his header from Adams' corner go over the bar and on top of the stand where the visiting supporters were housed.

Scunthorpe then had two quick fire efforts just minutes later as Mike Grella's tame effort trickled  into the arms of Paul Jones and Christian Ribeiro, up from right back saw his stinging effort flicked over the bar by the head of McFadzean once again.

Reds soon had another strike on target as Adams' whipped free kick was tipped over by Slocombe.

There was almost a calamitous mistake after 22 minutes as Duffy's header back to Slocombe was short and Billy Clarke nipped in only to be foiled quickly by the alert Iron 'keeper.

The impressive Hope Akpan was next to try his luck as his powerful strike went wide of Slocombe's right hand post.

The Crawley pressure finally tolled as the opening goal of the game arrived. A wicked Adams free kick was nodded down by Akpan lurking at the back post and Alexander was there to get a toe to the ball and tap it over the line for 1-0.

Alexander headed over the bar from a Mark Connolly cross and another dangerous corner from Adams was headed down and just inches wide by McFadzean at the far post.

INVOLVED: Kyle McFadzean
Scunthorpe finally had a few more efforts as midfielder Josh Walker burst into the box before squaring the ball to Bobby Grant who saw his shot hacked away by Reds' left back Mat Sadler.

A corner from Walker then found the unmarked David Mirfin lurking at the back post but the captain spurned the chance to equalise by volleying wide when he really should have scored. A sitter.

On the stroke of half time, a menacing ball in from Grant found Andy Barcham lurking at the back post but Connolly raced back to win the aerial duel and head the ball away for a corner.

The second half began drably and it took till the 60th minute for either side to actually create a chance as Josh Simpson wriggled his way through only to see Slocombe save his strike at the near post however, the midfielder also saw the linesman's flag up for offside.

The second goal of the game came two minutes later as Clarke headed back to Alexander after Connolly's diagonal ball. Alexander, just as he was about to pull the trigger, was dragged down, the referee awarding a penalty and the former Brentford striker cooly slotted home, sending Slocombe the wrong way for his second goal of the afternoon.

GOAL: Alexander (C) celebrates with Adams (L) and Clarke (Top)
Then came the introduction of Forte as the big man replaced Clarke after 73 minutes. Six minutes later, he was on the scoresheet as well; Akpan's pinpoint ball was lofted through to Forte who bravely went up to loop his header over the onrushing Slocombe, scoring against one of his former clubs and seemingly wrapping up the three points for the home side.

Scunny could have got a goal back a few minutes later as Jimmy Ryan's effort was cleared off the line by Claude Davis after a smart pull back from Grella.

Alan Knill's side missed another guilt edged chance as somehow, Walker screwed his strike wide when he really should have put the ball past Jones at the back post.

Grant had another header roll into the hands of Jones as the Iron looked to have given up hope on getting goals back.

Forte was just millimetres away from adding his second as another ball in by Adams was taken off the frontman's toes by Slocombe with just five minutes remaining.

CLOSE: Slocombe flicks the ball away from Forte
A minute later and Scunthorpe were reduced to 10 men as Duffy saw his second yellow for pulling back Red Devils' substitute Sergio Torres.

As Akpan was named Man of the Match, Ajose replaced tormentor in chief Adams for the final couple of minutes and the referee blew for full time, putting Scunthorpe out of their misery.

Some photos courtesy of and

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