Crawley Town 1, Wycombe Wanderers 0: Smith strike sends Reds to opening-day victory

Jimmy Smith - Crawley Town FC v Wycombe Wanderers FC. Photo by Jack Beard.
Jimmy Smith - Crawley Town FC v Wycombe Wanderers FC. Photo by Jack Beard.

Captain Jimmy Smith fired Crawley Town’s League Two season off to a superb start as they secured an opening day victory against Wycombe Wanderers.

The newly-instated skipper got the only goal of the game in a thrilling encounter with the Chairboys this afternoon.

Jason Banton - Crawley Town FC v Wycombe Wanderers FC. Photo by Jack Beard.

Jason Banton - Crawley Town FC v Wycombe Wanderers FC. Photo by Jack Beard.

And fans were certainly on the edge of their seats as Smith’s 60th-minute strike was the difference between the two sides in an accomplished attacking showing from the hosts.

Reds look slightly nervy at the back in the first half and had some brilliant defending to think to keep them on level terms after three quickfire goalline blocks a third of the way through the first half.

The home side broke quickly themselves and Scott Brown made a number of good saves in an even opening period.

But it wasn’t until the second 45 minutes that the game really sprung into life with a string of chances at either end.

Both teams piled forwards despite the high temperatures and Smith broke the deadline on 15 minutes, smashing home after an error at the back.

In a grand-stand finish which included six minutes of added time, Reds had debutant Andre Blackman sent off for a second booking, but they held out for the three points.

It was Reds’ first home win since March 1 - against Newport - and Dermoy Drummy’s first as a senior manager.

Yusuf Mersin got the nod in goal for Reds over on-loan Chelsea stopper Mitchell Beeney after an impressive pre-season from the Turk.

The home side had seven full debutants and lined-up as expected after Drummy hinted he was playing his strongest line-ups in pre-season against Brighton and Millwall.

The exciting attacking trio of Jordan Roberts, Jason Banton and Enzio Boldewijn started behind striker James Collins.

Reds had the majority of the ball in the opening ten minutes as they moved play quickly in the middle of the pitch.

Roberts sent a dipping effort over the bar, while Banton was snuffed out in the box and although Wycombe striker Garry Thompson did have the ball in the back of the net, the whistle had gone for handball.

Shortly after, Reds cleared three efforts off the line after Mersin fumbled a cross. Joe McNerney blocked the first from Dayle Southwell, Luke O’Nien was then denied and Mersin saved a third quickfire effort from Aaron Pierre.

The home side called Brown into action from the first time on 23 minutes as Roberts, broke away and fed Collins, but his left-foot effort was pushed away by the stopper.

Roberts called the keeper into action again moments later as he palmed away his angled effort.

A great Lewis Young break from his own box eventually saw Blackman skip past his man, but a superb tackle from Marcus Bean averted the danger.

In a fast-paced start to the second half, Mersin had to push away a dangerous corner and a brilliant Boldewijn break saw Roberts finish from his cross, but it was ruled out as the ball had crept out of play before the delivery.

Brown saved from Collins after good build-up play and he was picked out by Josh Payne as the game became increasingly open.

And from that Reds profited as Matt Bloomfield failed to deal with a bouncing ball in the box and Smith nipped in to smash the ball into the far bottom corner on the hour mark.

Wanderers responded by throwing on summer signing Adeybayo Akinfenwa up front and they soon had penalty appeals waved away as Bloomfield went down in the box.

Banton’s fine break and cross was cut out and Smith again went close with a curling effort.

Substitute Billy Clifford and Blackman linked up well on the left and the latter’s cross caused problems, before being smothered.

The back-line remained strong under pressure and Boldewijn should have made it safe late on, but lofted over the bar when one on one ahead of Reds seeing out six minutes of added time.

Crawley: Mersin, Young, Connolly, McNerney, Blackman, Payne, Smith, Roberts, Banton (Clifford 83), Boldewijn (Yussuf 90), Collins (Harrold 88). Subs: Beeney, Arthur, Yorwerth, Bawling.

Wycombe: Brown, Harriman (Jombati 88), Stewart, Pierre, Jacobson, O’Nein (Akinfenwa 63), Southwell, Bean, Weston (Bloomfield 12), Wood, Thompson. Subs: McGinn, Richardson, Havilland.

Attendance: 2,471 (762 away).

Like our Crawley Town Facebook page for all the latest news on the Reds.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1 Make this website your homepage

2 Like our Facebook page at

3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex

4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!