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Sunday, 16 December 2012

Reds battle back to stun Stevenage

Stevenage 1-2 Crawley Town

A Dannie Bulman winner against old club Stevenage grabbed Crawley the points as Richie Barker's side recorded their first win in eight.

Leaving at 11.30, the trip to Broadhall Way was disrupted by a few hold ups on the M25 before finally arriving at Broadhall Way almost two hours later.

Outside the ground was a memorial for former Boro winger Mitchell Cole who passed away last month.

Memorial: Mitchell Cole
Before the match began, there was a minute's silence that was impeccably observed by all before referee Michael Oliver kicked off the game.

Crawley started well and winger Mike Jones had two early chances within the opening five minutes; firstly firing wide and then straight at Stevenage goalkeeper Steven Arnold.

Stevenage had their own first notable effort after eight minutes when Robin Shroot, fresh from signing a new two-year deal, saw his run and cross tipped away by visiting 'keeper Paul Jones to Greg Tansey, who's follow up was blocked by Crawley defender Mark Connolly.

On 24 minutes, a driving run from Hope Akpan saw him reach the byline but his cross just eluded Nicky Adams at the back post.

Stevenage had possibly the best chance of the first half when, after 39 minutes, David Gray's burst from right back saw his low cross dummied by Lucas Akins to Lee Hills; his goal-bound effort was hacked clear by the impressive Connolly.

My view at Stevenage
The away side saw Josh Simpson's toe poke fly just wide after an out-swinging corner from Adams wasn't cleared by the hosts just five minutes before the break.

Stevenage came out with more purpose after half time with Tansey slicing wide just four minutes before Gary Smith's side earned the opener; a quick throw found Gray who's ball across the box reached Shroot, and he scrambled the ball past Mat Sadler on the line.

Despite going one down, the Red Devils upped the ante and Akpan had two efforts in quick succession just after the hour mark; shooting over the bar from 20 yards and seeing his downward header comfortably saved by Arnold.

However, Akpan's luck changed on 67 minutes when he pounced after Adams drive was only pushed away by Arnold.

Four minutes later and Crawley took the lead; a pass from Mike Jones found Bulman with space, he let fly and his 30 yard strike deflected of Bondz N'Gala and into the back of the net to send the travelling fans into ecstasy.

Stevenage boss Smith, made a double substitution on 78 minutes in a bid to get back into the game as Darius Charles and Luke Freeman replaced Miguel Comminges and Hills respectively.

Tansey had a few more chances that flew wide before Freeman and Tansey once more had Paul Jones flying across goal as Crawley held on for a much needed victory.

STEVENAGE: Arnold, Gray, Hills (Freeman, 78), Tansey, Dunne, Haber (Agyemang, 81), Akins, Roberts (c), Comminges (Charles, 78), N'Gala, Shroot

CRAWLEY: P.Jones, Sadler, Connolly, Akpan, Alexander (c), Simpson, Hunt, Bulman, Adams (Akinde, 89), M.Jones, Davis (Walsh, 46)

Monday, 10 December 2012

FA Youth Cup: Southampton 0-2 Everton

Everton earned a comfortable victory against Southampton at St Marys in the 3rd round of the FA Youth Cup.

An entertaining opening 20 minutes began with a host of chance for both sides.

Firstly, after 6 minutes, a mix up between Toffees goalkeeper Mateusz Taudul and centre back Curtis Langton almost gifted Calum Chambers to open the scoring but he sliced wide.

Next it was Everton's turn as a minute later, a 20-yard effort from the impressive Matthew Kennedy was tipped over the bar by Saints' number one Chris Johns.

The opener came after 11 minutes with Kennedy again causing problems for the home defence. He was the provider of a neat pass to George Waring who took a touch before slotting into the right-hand corner from 12 yards.

The hosts were looking for an instant reply and soon after, James Ward-Prowse's dipping volley flew just over after an Omar Rowe free kick wasn't cleared.

After 17 minutes, home defender Jordan Turnbull saw his strike sail just over the bar after Everton failed to deal with a tormenting Ward-Prowse free kick.

The Blues then raced up the other end and Kennedy's solo run and shot deflected off Saints captain Dominic Gape, thankfully for Southampton, into the arms of Johns.

A pulsating start soon cooled down and it wasn't until the 33rd minute until the next chance came. An excellent break from the home side started by Rowe eventually found Chambers but his shot was well kept out by the on-rushing Taudul.

Everton were again thankful to Taudul for keeping the score at 1-0 three minutes later when he beat away a stinging strike from Ryan Seager.


Southampton did have the ball in the net on 57 minutes when a strike from Gape ended up at the feat of Jason McCarthy. The defender with an excellent finish however, the flag was up for offside.

Everton managed to increase their lead just two minutes later as a deep cross from the left-hand side was headed back across goal by Gethin Jones and Conor Grant tapped in.

Jason Dodd's side were desperate to find a way back into the game and after 67 minutes a driving run from McCarthy culminated in a wayward strike.

There was concern for Taudul on 76 minutes as he went off with a serious looking injury and replaced by Russel Griffiths.

On 83, Turnbull headed over from a Jake Sinclair cross before Kennedy breezed past four defenders before hitting over.

The final chance came to the Saints in the fourth minute of added time as Matthew Targett's strike was pushed away by Griffiths, soon before the referee blew the full time whistle.

SOUTHAMPTON: Johns, Flannigan, Targett, Cape (c), McCarthy, Turnbull, Chambers (Reed, 65), Ward-Prowse, Seager, Sinclair, Rowe (Ariyibi, 76)

NOT USED: Fraser Colmer, Will Britt (GK), Charlie Higgins

EVERTON: Taudul (Griffiths, 76), Pennington, Touray, Kenny, Langton, Moleneux, Jones, Ledson, Waring (Dyson, 83), Grant (Charisley, 90), Kennedy

NOT USED: George Green, Ben McLaughlin