Cooper praises Down’s away win at Pagham

Crawley Down Gatwick v Pagham. Oli Leslie. Pic Steve Robards SR1702607 SUS-170213-151808001
Crawley Down Gatwick v Pagham. Oli Leslie. Pic Steve Robards SR1702607 SUS-170213-151808001

Crawley Down Gatwick picked up another three points on the road with a hard earnt 2-0 win at fourth-placed Pagham.

Manager Paul Cooper praised his side for clinching an away victory.

He said: “A good three points on the road. Our record against the top half sides in this league has been pretty good this season and it should certainly give the players confidence going into next season.

“Michael Belli and Oli Leslie took their goals really well and the most pleasing thing to see was how composed we were throughout the game.

When defending under pressure we dealt it with calmly.

“We competed throughout and having gone one-up continued to push-on.

“We now have four league games left to finish as strongly as we can and the Sussex RUR Cup final, so plenty still to look forward to.”

The two sides had previously met in the Sussex RUR Cup semi-final back in February with the Anvils coming out 3-2 victors on that occasion.

This time visiting Nyetimber Lane was sure to be a tougher test and indeed the game started as such. Pagham’s front-two of Scott Murfin and Callum Overton looked dangerous on the attack, making good runs behind the back-four.

But a solid display from Andy Greaves in the Crawley Down goal and defence ensured they weren’t to be breached.

Meanwhile at the other end Lee Thomas was having some joy on the left hand side and whipped in a good cross to find Sam Cane at the back post – but Pagham keeper James Binfield was in the right place to keep the score 0-0 going into half-time.

Two minutes into the second half and the deadlock is broken with Belli scoring an unstoppable volley into the corner from 25 yards out to make it 1-0 Crawley Down.

Soon after Pagham’s number six Liam Humphreys was sent-off for a second bookable offence leaving the home team with an uphill task.

Just before the hour mark it was 2-0 when Lee Thomas threaded a ball into striker Oli Leslie, who with his back to goal, turned his man and scored into the corner.

For a ten-minute spell Pagham raised their game to force a goal back.

A third goal by Sam Cane was then ruled out as offside.

Crawley Down Gatwick: Greaves, Cooney (Martin), Barton, Day, Pelling, Spence, Sullivan (Gannon), Belli, Cane, Leslie (Mici), Thomas.

Man of the Match:

Marc Pelling

Crawley Down Gatwick host Lancing at the Haven Centre this Saturday, April 15.