Crawley Town hold Chelsea to a draw in Kewell’s first home game in charge

Joe McNerney scored Reds' equaliser against Wycombe
Joe McNerney scored Reds' equaliser against Wycombe
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Crawley Town earned a deserved 1-1 draw against a youthful Chelsea XI on Saturday at their first home game since Harry Kewell took charge.

It was an even game with both sides tending to cancel each other out.

Chelsea took the lead in the 75th minutes with a well-taken goal by Charlie Brown.

This was levelled two minutes before the final whistle by Reds defender Joe McNerney.

Chelea fielded a young team with an average age of 19 years which included former Middlesbrough loanees Jamal Blackman in goal and Kenneth Omeruo at centre-back.

Blues also started with former Reading and Horsham centre-back Michael Hector.

Chelsea fielded Brighton-born Isaac Christie-Davies and featured 16-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi up front with Ike Ugbo, 18.

Crawley had the opening attempt on goal when Josh Payne hit a speculative shot from 30 yards narrowly wide.

Chelsea’s opening foray came from the lively Hudson-Odoi who ran into the Reds penalty area and launched a shot which was well-blocked by the defence.

Both sides lined up with 5-2-3 consisting of three centre-halves plus two wing-backs and were unchanged at the start of the second half.

Christie-Davies blasted well over the bar for Chelsea after the break and Ruben Sammut fired narrowly wide from 25 yards.

The visitors were first out of the blocks in the second half with the diminutive Luke McCormick going on a good run into the area and shooting just wide.

Enzio Boldewijn then went on a good run at the other end but shot straight at keeper Jamal Blackman.

Both teams made multiple substitutions with Crawley using nine and Chelsea using 11.

Reds sent the healthy crowd home happy by scoring a late equaliser when McNerney rose to head home a cross by Mark Connolly from the right.

Connelly was taken off with a knock after he scored and as replaced with Addison Garnett.

REDS: Merson, Young, Lelan (Blackman 73), Connolly (Garnett 88), Evina (Clifford 70), Bulman (capt) (Camara 73), Payne (McNerney 63), Randall (Djalo 70) Boldewijn (Cox 60), Harrold (Sanoh 63), Roberts (Lewis 63).

Unused: Morris

CHELSEA: Blackman, Grant, Omeruo (capt), Hector, Ampadu, Sammut, Christie-Davies, McCormick, Ugbo, Hudson-Odoi, Castillo

2nd half subs: Guemi, Beeney, Narte, Suljic, St Claire, Colley, Gallagher, Muhiem, McEachran, Tyler-Crosdale, Brown

REFEREE: Tim Robinson

ATTENDANCE: 3,546 (597 away)

MAN OF THE MATCH: Cedric Evina