Aldershot 0, Crawley 0: Reds held in uninspiring final friendly

Crawley Town v Millwall. 23rd July 2016. Picture by Jack Beard.
Crawley Town v Millwall. 23rd July 2016. Picture by Jack Beard.

Crawley Town concluded their pre-season campaign with an uninspiring 0-0 draw with National League side Aldershot Town this afternoon.

In a game of few chances at The EBB Stadium, Reds failed to ask too many question of their hosts in their final warm-up game before they kick-off their League Two campaign against Wycombe next weekend.

The visitors missed the attacking impetus of Jordan Roberts and Jason Banton - ruled out through illness and injury - who have linked up superbly so far in their friendly matches.

In their best chances of the match, Enzio Boldewijn spurned a great opportunity five minutes before half-time, turning over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

While moments later, the Shots’ best opportunity saw Bernard Mensah’s goalbound effort superbly blocked by the no-nonsense Joe McNerney.

Reds made two changes from the team that narrowly lost to Millwall last Saturday, with Bobson Bawling and Josh Yorwerth coming into the starting line-up.

Meanwhile on the home team-sheet, Shamir Fenelon started against his former club, as did Scott Rendell, who skippered the Shots side.

Reds assistant Matt Gray also made the switch to the away dugout as he returned to face a side he spent four years at in the role of head coach.

Crawley had plenty of the ball early on, but Shots’ Matt McClure forced the first real save from Yusuf Mersin as he got down to make sure a low effort did not creep in at the near post.

A sheepish Mark Connolly was shown a yellow card on the 15-minute mark as he tugged back Fenelon on the halfway, who had caught a yard on the centre-back.

The home side grew into the game as the half wore on and played a couple of dangerous balls across the box as they found themselves in behind on numerous occasions.

Mersin made a couple of comfortable stops, while at the other end, James Collins poked wide from a corner that wasn’t cleared.

Reds should have led with five minutes left of the half as Jimmy Smith opened up the defence to put Andre Blackman away, but Boldewijn somehow turned over his low cross at the far post - a feat that pretty much summed up the first 45 minutes.

And before the break, the Shots themselves spurned a great chance as McNerney blocked a goalbound effort after a flowing move was squared to Mensah.

Dermot Drummy made three changes at the break as Yorwerth and Josh Payne made way for Billy Clifford and Aryan Tajbakhsh, while Bawling was replaced by Chris Arthur, who slotted into left-back with Blackman moving up to the wing.

The second half followed much the same pattern as the first with chances few and far between.

Mersin held a Will Evans header from Cheye Alexander’s hanging cross, while at the other end, Connolly and McNerney couldn’t get their headed efforts anywhere near the target.

Back on defensive duties, Connolly got an important block in to deny Matt McClure after Clifford gifted away the ball.

Trialist Daniel Pappoe also got a run out for the last ten minutes, but one concern was recent injury returnee Matt Harrold remaining in his tracksuit for the whole game.

Crawley: Mersin, Young, Connolly, McNerney (Pappoe 78), Blackman (Tursun 78), Boldewijn, Smith, Payne (Clifford 45), Yorwerth (Tajbakhsh 45), Bawling (Arthur 45), Collins. Unused subs: Beeney, Baio, Harrold.

Aldershot: Cole (Smith 72), Alexander, Evans, Saville (Allen 45), Straker, Mensah (Reynolds 45), Bellamy, Gallagher (Kellermann 64), Fenelon (Arnold 64), Rendell, McClure.

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