Crawley 0, Accrington Stanley 3: Ten-man Reds downed again

Crawley Town V Accrington Stanley (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150927-230703008
Crawley Town V Accrington Stanley (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150927-230703008

Three nightmare minutes at the end of the first half did the damage for Crawley Town as they suffered a 3-0 defeat at home to Accrington Stanley today.

Luke Rooney was brandished a straight red card a minute before the break after bringing down Josh Windass as the last man with the latter converting the resulting spot kick.

Crawley Town V Accrington Stanley (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150927-230225008

Crawley Town V Accrington Stanley (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150927-230225008

And with Reds still reeling, Matty Crooks hit a second deep into injury-time after a half where Reds had been competing.

Bill Kee then added a third late in the second as Crawley’s search for a first home win continued as they languish in the League Two relegation places.

If that wasn’t bad enough, a crowd of just 1,659 was Crawley’s lowest-ever attendance in the Football League.

Mark Yates said pre-match not to expect his side to play like Barcelona as they got back to basics trying to grind out the three points.

Crawley Town V Accrington Stanley (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150927-230859008

Crawley Town V Accrington Stanley (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150927-230859008

But any Spanish fans that had mistaken the Checkatrade.com Stadium for the Camp Nou would have quickly realised their mistake as it was more messy than Messi on the pitch for Reds.

Reds were boosted up front by the return of Matt Harrold, fit again after his hamstring injury and Liam Donnelly and Simon Walton also returned at the expense of Lewis Young, Conor Henderson and Bobson Bawling.

Shamir Fenelon was on the bench after his loan spell at Whitehawk, Joe McNenrney failed a fitness test and Gwion Edwards served the last game of his three-match ban.

The home side lined up in a 3-5-2 with Jimmy Smith and Christian Scales as wingbacks and they had the first chance on nine minutes.

Crawley Town V Accrington Stanley (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150927-230335008

Crawley Town V Accrington Stanley (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150927-230335008

A Liam Donnelly free-kick was headed down by Sonny Bradley into the path of Jon Ashton, who scuffed his shot on the spin straight at Jason Mooney.

Accrington replied with Billy Kee swinging a foot at a cross and Freddie Woodman palmed behind his half-volley.

On 19 minutes, a clipped Adam Buxton ball from outside the box just evaded the onrushing Windass, who had broke through the defence.

Moments later, Crooks’ effort from 25 yards called Woodman into action and he tipped around the post with a low dive.

The visitors lost skipper Dean Winnard to injury on 25 minutes and had to rejig the back line bringing in Liam Wakefield.

And six minutes later the hosts had to do the same after Kee left a foot in on Ashton and he limped off to be replaced by Young as Jimmy Smith dropped into the back three.

Just before the break Harrold went close as he flicked wide from close range after Young’s throw had been helped into the box by Bradley.

But it was to be the visitors that led at the break as a neat move put Windass through on goal and Rooney brought him down from behind as the last man.

Andy Davies pointed straight to the spot and brandished a straight red card before Windass picked himself up to smash the spot-kick home.

And it got worse deep into added time as Kee teed up Crooks who fired across goal and into the bottom corner via the inside of the post.

Shortly after the break, Reds’ best chance came through Simon Walton as he fierce shot flew just wide, while at the other end Woodman saved as Windass was put through one on one.

The game just failed to get going apart from that with Accrington happy to control possesion and ten-man Reds struggled to carve out any chance and never looked like getting back into it.

Kee added the gloss for the visitors in the 89th minute as he turned and fired past Woodman from close range to spark angry chants from a section of Crawley fans behind the goal.

Crawley: Woodman, Smith, Donnelly, Ashton, Bradley, Scales, Rooney, Walton, Jenkins, Murphy (Barnard 74), Harrold (Fenelon 74). Unused subs: Henderson, Young, Bawling, Preston.

Accrington: Mooney, Pearson, Wright, Winnard (Wakefield 25), Buxton, Mingoia, Crooks, Conneely, McConville, Windass, Kee. Unused subs: Barry, Procter, Gornell, McCartan, Bruna, Etheridge.

Referee: Andy Davies.

Attendance: 1,659 (64).