Crawley 2, Millwall 3: Reds falter after fine first-half

Enzio Boldewijn. Crawley Town. Picture by Jack Beard SUS-160720-092507001
Enzio Boldewijn. Crawley Town. Picture by Jack Beard SUS-160720-092507001

Despite an impressive first-half showing, Crawley Town suffered a 3-2 friendly defeat against League One outfit Millwall at the Checkatrade Stadium this afternoon.

Dermot Drummy’s side looked a slick outfit especially in the first half when they outplayed their opponents, who missed out on promotion to the Championship last season in a play-off final defeat to Barnsley.

Reds led 2-1 at half-time as Enzio Boldewijn and Jordan Roberts netted after Lee Gregory, a former Crawley target, had given Neil Harris’s side the lead.

The London-based outfit came back into things in the second half and eventually the pressure told as Shaun Willams headed home an equaliser from a free-kick.

And as Drummy rang the changes, Millwall nicked it at the death as some abject defending saw Morison glance home a header with three minutes left for their third consecutive pre-season victory.

Striker Matt Harrold was back on the bench for the first time since undergoing knee surgery at the back end of last season and came on in the closing stages.

Former Liverpool and Sporting Lisbon midfielder Yalany Baio was one of two trialists on the bench that got game time, the other 28-year-old defender Dieumerci Vua, who has mainly played in France.

The first chance went Crawley’s way as Jordan Roberts got away down the left and crossed for James Collins, who headed wide via deflection

With the home side knocking the ball about confidently and looking hungry going forwards, it was Millwall that took the lead from their first real attack on 17 minutes.

Steve Morison’s pin-point cross from the right was simply headed home by Gregory, who rose highest at the far post.

Within just three minutes, however, Reds levelled through Boldewijn. A good advantage was played on the edge of the box and the attacking midfielder cut back onto his left foot and fired into the far corner.

Reds led ten minutes before the break as Collins got to the byline, produced some strong skilful work to beat Byron Webster and squared for Roberts to tap in.

Gregory had a great chance to make it 2-2 within a minute of the second half as a ball found him inside the six-yard box, but half-time substitute Mitchell Beeney was down well to block his effort on the turn.

Millwall’s pressure increased in the second half and they levelled with just over 20 minutes left after Baio gave away a free-kick on the left.

Williams rose to head home Shane Ferguson’s set-piece which Beeney failed to stop despite it being just over him in the middle of the goal.

And late on, Ferguson picked out Morison at the far post and he glanced into the bottom corner after some suspect defending.

Crawley: Mersin (Beeney 45), Young (Tajbakhsh 78), Connolly (Vua 73), McNerney (Garnett 61), Blackman (Arthur 78), Smith (Yorwerth 78), Payne (Baio 61), Boldewijn (Tursun 78), Banton (Clifford 53), Roberts (Bawling 73), Collins (Harrold 78).

Millwall: Archer (Forde 45), Hutchinson, Craig, Williams (Thompson 73), Abdou, Gregory (Worrall 73), Wylde (Ferguson 61), Romeo, Webster, Morison, O’Brien (Onyedinma 73). Subs: Nelson, Ferguson, Twardek.

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