Crawley 2, Bristol Rovers 1: Murphy quick-fire double gives Reds victory

Crawley Town V Luton Town FA Cup (Pic by Jon & Joe Rigby) SUS-150911-155902008
Crawley Town V Luton Town FA Cup (Pic by Jon & Joe Rigby) SUS-150911-155902008

A quick-fire Rhys Murphy brace helped Crawley Town make it four straight home wins as they overcame inform Bristol Rovers 2-1 this afternoon.

The striker netted twice in the space of a minute in the first half as Reds the completed a solid defensive display in strong winds at the Checkatrade.com Stadium.

The run of four straight home wins in the league equals a Football League record for the Reds, a feat they equalled back in 2011.

It was a nervy few moments for the home side as Matty Taylor dispatched a 87th-minute spot-kick but Reds held out to move up to 14th in League Two.

There was one change for the home side as Josh Yorwerth returned from international duty to replace Jon Ashton in the heart of the Reds defence.

In a fast-paced start, it was Crawley that had the first real chance as Mitch Hancox’s low cross was controlled by Rhys Murphy and laid off to Roarie Deacon, but he placed harmlessly wide when well placed.

On seven minutes, Hancox continued his storming start as he beat Jermaine Easter to the ball and crossed for Matt Harrold, who headed just over.

But Crawley took the lead they had been threatening on nine minutes as a ball from the right was toe-poked through by Deacon and Murphy got the final touch to put it past Lee Nicholls.

With Rovers still reeling, Reds hit another 30 seconds later as they won the ball back from the kick-off and Murphy curled a beauty into the top corner from 25 yards.

The visitors responded well as a dangerous Chris Lines free-kick was headed behind by Sonny Bradley, before Hancox eventually cleared off the line to deny Tom Parkes from the resulting corner.

The Pirates kept coming in reply and plenty of dangerous balls were headed away by the towering Bradley, before one dropped to Billy Bodin, who skewed just wide.

Crawley were fortunate not to concede just past the half-hour mark as Bodin’s low corner flicked off the base of the post and was cleared away.

At the other end, Reds started to get back on the ball and some neat build-up saw Gwion Edwards force a corner from which Yorwerth headed onto the roof of the net.

Darrell Clarke made two substitutes at half-time as Tom Lockyer and Ellis Harrison replaced Mark McChrystal and Christian Montano.

And it wasn’t long until Harrison was amongst the action as Darryl Flahavan was down well to hold the front man’s header.

The home side were camped in their own half but from a rare venture forward, Harrold held off his man and tried to turn and shoot from a Simon Walton free-kick, but couldn’t get a full connection.

On 65 minutes, Bodin slipped his man on the right and fired against the inside of the far post and the ball fell kindly back onto Flahavan’s arms.

With Reds happy to play on the counter-attack, they soaked up the Rovers pressure with few chances of note in the remainder of the second half..

Rovers did give themselves a late glimmer of hope as Hancox brought down Bodin in the area and Taylor dispatched the resulting spot kick with three minutes left.

But the home side saw out the remaining minutes and five of added time for the three points.

Crawley: Flahavan, Young, Bradley, Yorwerth, Hancox, Deacon, Smith, Walton, Edwards (Ashton 87), Murphy (Barnard 85), Harrold (Rooney 70). Unused subs: Scales, Fenelon, Ashton, Jenkins, Preston.

Bristol Rovers: Nicholls, J.Clarke (Gosling 75), McChrystal (Lockyer 45), Parkes, Brown, Bodin, Motano (Harrision 45), Lines, Sinclair, Easter, Taylor. Unused subs: Leadbitter, Mansell, O.Clarke, Mildenhall.

Referee: Trevor Kettle.

Attendance: 2,612 (836 away).

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