Accrington 4 Crawley 1: Reds suffer 2nd half collapse

Crawley Town V Mansfield 30/1/16 (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-160130-184526008
Crawley Town V Mansfield 30/1/16 (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-160130-184526008

Crawley let slip a first half lead before collapsing to a 4-1 defeat at Accrington.

Reds took a 21st minute lead through Gwion Edwards which was levelled early in the second half by Accrington’s Billy Kee.

A mass brawl midway through the second half ended with three red cards and reduced numbers to ten-a-side.

However Crawley then fell apart, conceding three late goals and ending all hopes of gaining their second successive victory on the road.

Accrington were first out of the blocks without forcing keeper Paul Jones to make a save.

But Crawley took the lead against the run of play after 21 minutes when Simon Walton drove a shot which was blocked, allowing Edwards in who turned and lashed a shot into the top corner of the net.

Edwards nearly made it 2-0 when a mistake at the back created an opportunity and he fired narrowly wide from close-range.

Reds continued to press forward, playing with a new confidence after scoring the goal.

Gavin Tomlin, playing in central midfield instead of as a striker, impressed and went close with a left-footed volley which was deflected wide for a corner.

Accrington had a rare chance just before the break when Sean McConville’s cross was flicked on and Joe Wright had a shot caught by keeper Jones.

Accrington came out the fastest after the break and equalised in just the third minute of the second half when an initial shot by Matt Crooks was parried by Jones, allowing Kee to tap-in from two yards.

Stanley kept pressing forward and Shay McCartan had a shot which bounced into the arms of Jones.

The game descended into mayhem 18 minutes into the second half when Jon Ashton went down hurt from a late challenge by McCartan.

It all suddenly became physical with virtually all the outfield players entering a 20-man brawl.

A few minutes of madness led to the referee Andy Haines brandishing three red cards, sending-off McCartan, Crawley’s Simon Walton, who did not appear to be involved, and Accrington’s substitute keeper Jason Mooney who had come on to the pitch.

The on-pitch fighting produced a more heated atmosphere as Accrington seemed to galvanise the home side into life scoring three goals in the last 18 minutes.

Matt Pearson was put through by Crooks after 72 minutes to fire into the net from 15 yards to give Accrington the lead.

Victory was sealed with three minutes to go when Seamus Conneely was not closed down with a run forward and produced an excellent finish from 25 yards.

To rub salt into the wounds, Accrington made it 4-1 in added-time when the ball was given away inside the home side’s half and Piero Mingoia raced all the way into the Crawley area before slotting underneath Paul Jones.

REDS: Jones, Walton, Bradley, Edwards, Atkinson, Ashton (Jenkins 70), Bawling, Harrold (Barnard 90), Deacon, Tomlin (Fenelon 84), Yorwerth

Unused subs: Rooney, Preston, Young

ACCRINGTON: Etheridge, Pearson, Mingoia, McConville (Proctor 90+3), Crooks (Boco 90+3), Wright, McCartan, Buxton, Conneely, Kee, Halliday

Unused subs: Mooney, Brown, Davies, Procter, Gornell, Wakefield

Attendance: 1,374 (83 away)

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