Crawley 0 Exeter 2: Unbeaten run comes to an end

Joe McNerney takes a shot from close range for Crawley Town against Exeter City, 28th March 2016. (c) Jack Beard SUS-160328-173844008
Joe McNerney takes a shot from close range for Crawley Town against Exeter City, 28th March 2016. (c) Jack Beard SUS-160328-173844008

Crawley Town’s five-game unbeaten run was ended by a defeat at home on Easter Monday by play-off chasing Exeter.

The visitors got off to a storming start and it was no surprise when former Crawley loanee Jake Taylor gave them a 28th minute lead.

Liam McAlinden gets taken off injured for Crawley Town against Exeter City, 28th March 2016. (c) Jack Beard SUS-160328-173832008

Liam McAlinden gets taken off injured for Crawley Town against Exeter City, 28th March 2016. (c) Jack Beard SUS-160328-173832008

Reds were lucky to have remained just one-goal behind at the break and then started creating some chances of their own early in the second half, only to be denied by an inspired display by the visitors’ keeper.

But just as Reds pressed hard for an equaliser, Exeter then sealed victory with a 74th minute second goal by the impressive Ollie Watkins.

Reds made three changes to the side which drew 2-2 with York City with Shamir Fenelon replacing topscorer Matt Harrold who had a knee injury.

Lewis Young and Gavin Tomlin came in for Gwion Edwards and Lyle Della-Verde who were on the bench.

Shamir Fenelon takes a shot from the edge of the box for Crawley Town against Exeter City, 28th March 2016. (c) Jack Beard SUS-160328-173810008

Shamir Fenelon takes a shot from the edge of the box for Crawley Town against Exeter City, 28th March 2016. (c) Jack Beard SUS-160328-173810008

Central midfielder Adam Bond filled in at right back for Lanre Oyebanjo who had a thigh injury.

New signing goalkeeper Jack Rose, who is on loan from West Bromwich Albion, was on the bench as keeper Callum Preston played his second match in a row following the recall of regular No.1 Paul Jones by Portsmouth.

Exeter impressed from the beginning and created several chances before eventually taking the lead.

Arron Davies crossed from Jayden Stockley to head on target but was denied by Preston in Crawley’s goal.

Lewis Young takes on a defender for Crawley Town against Exeter City, 28th March 2016. (c) Jack Beard SUS-160328-173758008

Lewis Young takes on a defender for Crawley Town against Exeter City, 28th March 2016. (c) Jack Beard SUS-160328-173758008

Preston was soon in action again to keep out a free-kick by Lee Holmes before Craig Woodman’s follow-up was cleared.

Preston made a great save on the line to clear a side-footed effort from Watkins, set-up by Taylor.

The Grecians produced wave-upon-wave of attack, Watkins going close with a shot with Preston diving at full length.

An fine turn and run by Watkins created Exeter’s goal in the 28th minute, teeing-up Taylor for his second goal of the season since arriving from Reading.

Taylor then supplied Holmes for a golden opportunity to increase their lead but thankfully for Crawley he crashed a volley over the bar.

Mark Yates made a substitution at the start of the second half with Edwards replacing Tomlin on the right wing.

Crawley then created more chances in the first five minutes of the restart than in the whole of the first half.

McAlinden forced keeper Bobby Olejnik into a full-length save following a one-two with Fenelon.

At the other end Holmes set-up Watkins with a cross in a dangerous position, but there was no power to cause Preston a problem.

A Walton corner was headed on target by Sonny Bradley, only for Olejnik to tip wide.

Bradley then had another header saved and McAlinden’s follow-up was cleared off the line.

Young supplied Fenelon to have a go from the edge of the area but aimed straight at Olejnik.

But Reds’ hopes of scoringb an equaliser were dashed when Exeter scored a second goal with 16 minutes to go.

Taylor returned the favour from the first goal and set-up Watkins with a floated ball which he headed into the net.

Reds had to see-out the last five minutes with just ten men when McAlinden hobbled off injured after their third substitution had been made.

REDS: Preston, Walton (Deaon 70), Bradley, McAlinden, Young, Fenelon, Ashton (McNerney 79), Tomlin (Edwards 46) Bond, Sutherland, Dunne.

Unused subs: Rose, Bawling, Deacon, Della-Verde

EXETER: Olejnik, Woodman, Robeiro, Harley, Holmes, Davies, McAlister, Watkins (Grant 87), Taylor (Wheeler 87), Stockley, Brown.

Unused subs: Morrison, Nicholls, Tillson, Pym

REFEREE: Andy Haines

ATTENDANCE: 2,416 (462 away)

MAN OF THE MATCH: Shamir Fenelon

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make this website your homepage

2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex

3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!