Collins strikes to earn Crawley a point

James Collins struck in first half stoppage-time to earn Crawley Town a point at ten-man Grimsby Town this afternoon

Saturday, 18th March 2017, 4:57 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:09 am
James Collins struck his 17th League 2 goal of the season for Crawley this afternoon.

The Mariners had taken an early lead courtesy of Sam Jones' effort, only for Reds to hit back through Collins - netting his 17th League 2 goal this season - as it ended 1-1 at Blundell Park.

Grimsby were reduced to ten-men eight minutes from time after James Collins hauled Enzio Boldewijn, resulting in him being shown a second yellow.

Skipper Jimmy Smith wasted two glorious chances in the closing stages as Crawley's point well easily have became three. As it was, it finished all square, meaning Reds extend their unbeaten run on the road to four matches.

Reds made four changes from the side that suffered a 3-0 home humbling at the hands of Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday with Josh Payne, Andre Blackman, Kaby Djalo and Josh Yorweth coming in for Mark Connolly, Conor Henderson, Josh Lelan and the injured Dean Cox.

Crawley made a bright start and were unfortunate not to find themselves ahead after six minutes. Enzio Boldewijn delivered a teasing cross which James Collins attacked, only for his glancing header to strike a post with James McKeown beaten in Grimsby's goal.

Grimsby grew into as the half went on, taking the lead 15 minutes later. Jamie Osborne, whose delivery was causing Crawley problems, saw his cross failed to be cleared by Reds with Sam Jones picking up the pieces and thundering home a left-foot drive.

Skipper Jimmy Smith was then presented with a great opportunity to level things up ten minutes before the break. Andre Blackman's perfect diagonal cross was taken under control by Smith but McKeown was out quickly to stop his strike.

Reds ended the opening 45 minutes strongest and levelled right on the stroke of half-time. Josh Payne's 25-yard free-kick looked destined for the top corner - only for McKeown to somehow keep it out with a fine save - but James Collins was on hand to poke home the rebound.

The Mariners were out of the blocks quickly in the second period without really threatening Glenn Morris in Crawley's goal. Goalscorer Jones drove forward, beating two Reds players just after the hour, only to drag his shot well wide.

Grimsby were continuing to push with Joe McNerney doing well to clear a dangerous looking delivery from Callum Dyson 20 minutes from time.

Soon after, substitute Tom Bolarinwa's cross was deflected into Akwasi Asante's path but he failed to connect with his shot properly, which was easily gathered by Morris.

Boldewijn looked to go clear for Crawley eight minutes from the end with Danny Collins hauling him down and receiving a second yellow card, forcing the home side to see out the match with ten-men.

Reds looked determined with an extra man and could have gone ahead through Smith. Boldewijn did well to wriggle some room down the right, before squaring for Smith who could only skew wide from 12 yards.

Once again Smith was served up another glorious chance a minute from time. Kaby Djalo's deflected stike fell kindly for Crawley's skipper who cleverly worked some space but blazed well over.

CRAWLEY TOWN: Morris; Young, Yorweth, McNerney, Blackman; Boldewijn, Smith. Payne, Djalo; Murphy, Collins. Subs: Harrold (Djalo, 90), Bawling, Clifford, Lelan (Blackman, 61), Henderson, Mersin.