Crawley downed by Crewe in final home game of the season

Crawley skipper Jimmy Smith netted his tenth league goal of the campaign in the defeat to Crewe Alexandra. Picture by Steve Robards
Crawley skipper Jimmy Smith netted his tenth league goal of the campaign in the defeat to Crewe Alexandra. Picture by Steve Robards

Crawley Town signed off their home League 2 campaign with defeat this afternoon.

Efforts early in either half from full-back Perry Ng and Harry Pickering helped Crewe Alexandra to a 2-1 victory at the Checkatrade Stadium.

Reds skipper Jimmy Smith bagged his tenth goal of the League 2 campaign - cancelling out Ng's opener inside five minutes - but Harry Kewell's side were unable to avoid defeat.

Failure to come away with a victory in the final home game of this season extended Reds' winless run at the Checkatrade Stadium to six matches.

Reds made four changes from the side that drew at Exeter City last time out. Josh Doherty, skipper Jimmy Smith, Josh Payne and Karlan Ahearne-Grant all returned to the starting line-up in place of Mark Randall, Dannie Bulman, Moussa Sanoh and Panutche Camara.

Crewe were quick out of the traps and ahead inside five minutes. Jamie Sterry's deflected shot fell kindly to the feet of full-back Ng to fire the visitors ahead - despite Crawley protests for offside.

Reds offered up a perfect response, levelling four minutes later. Wing-back Lewis Young's cross was flicked on by Thomas Verheydt, finding skipper Smith to head home from all of six yards for his tenth League 2 goal of the season.

Winger Callum Ainley was carrying Alexandra's biggest threat down the right. A dangerous delivery from the wideman found Jordan Bowery but his header went just over on 17 minutes.

Both sides threatened and created chances in an open remainder of the first half but it was 1-1 at the break.

Crewe were first to threaten three minutes after the restart. Sterry's delivery flashed across the face of goal - evading everyone.

Alexandra did not have to wait long before retaking the lead. Harry Pickering, playing on the right side at the start of the second half, looped an effort past Morris to make it 2-1 on 51 minutes.

Reds goalkeeper Morris, named Crawley Observer player of the season prior to kick-off, did well to keep out a fierce Ainley drive two minutes later as Crewe continued to apply the pressure.

Harry Kewell threw Panutche Camara and Jordan Roberts in search of an equaliser with just over 25 minutes to go.

Not long after being introduced, Roberts so nearly levelled things up. Young's cross found Roberts who failed to direct his header on target.

Reds now looked the more likely, coming close to equalising for a second time 20 minutes from the end. Skipper Smith's header back across goal cannoned out off the crossbar, with Roberts' rebound attempt blocked.

Crawley had goalkeeper Morris to thank for a couple of late saves keeping the score at 2-1.

Reds round off their League 2 season at Mansfield Town next Saturday.

CRAWLEY TOWN: Morris; Connolly, Yorwerth, Tajbakash; Young, Smith, Payne, Doherty; Ahearne-Grant, Verheydt, Boldewijn. Subs: Mersin, McNerney, Roberts (Verheydt, 63), Evina, Bulman, Sanoh, Camara (Tajbakash, 63)