Crawley Town 0-1 Brentford: Reds suffer third straight League One defeat
Adam Forshaw’s early penalty was enough to consign Crawley Town to a third straight League One defeat as Brentford edged a game of few chances to pick up a fourth win on the spin.
Kyle McFadzean brought down the lively Kadeem Harris and midfielder Forshaw stroked home the spot kick after only five minutes of a low key first half.
Reds threw everything at their in-form visitors after the break with Andy Drury and Mike Jones going close but they failed to really test the visiting goalkeeper and have now gone three games without a goal.
Richie Barker made just the one change from the defeat at Stevenage, Jamie Proctor restored to the lone forward role in place of Gary Alexander as the Reds boss stuck to his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation despite the continued absence of Billy Clarke (knee).
The visitors were unchanged and came to the Checkatrade.com Stadium on a high after three straight wins.
The Bees grabbed the lead inside the first five minutes, Kadeem Harris darted into the box from the left touchline and invited a lazy foul from McFadzean for a clear penalty and Forshaw sent Reds stopper Paul Jones the wrong way from 12 yards.
Apart from the goal there was little else by way of genuine chances for most of the half, Kyle Bennett, on his home debut, stinging the gloves of David Button in the visiting goal while at the other end Forshaw curled over from 20 yards.
The hosts’ best opening of the first period arrived on 36 minutes when a right wing cross from Mike Jones was only headed half clear and Drury volleyed straight at Button, when either side of the keeper would have seen Reds level, but apart from that both side’s passing game largely cancelled each other out.
The start of the second half saw Reds come storming out of the blocks and from skipper Josh Simpson’s surge forward from right back, Nicky Adams picked out Drury who headed only just wide from ten yards.
It was enough to wake up the home crowd and roared on, Mike Jones let fly from range with a fizzing effort which whistled past the top corner.
Reds continued on the front foot, Simpson’s hung cross just evading a team mate in the box, though good moves were undermined by some wayward shooting from range from Bulman and Drury and some poor decisions in the final third.
A talented and in-form Bees side threatened when Mike Jones turned into trouble and Clayton Donaldson was played in on the right and shot wide, and goalscorer Forshaw wasn’t far away from a second from range which flashed across Paul Jones’s goal.
Sub Sam Saunders’ great cross from the right then saw Forshaw glance a header just over the Crawley crossbar as neither goalkeeper was really tested throughout the match.
Barker went two upfront and in a late push substitute Gary Alexander miskicked an Adams cutback, and in the dying minutes Bennett nodded a free kick just over.
REDS (4-2-3-1): Paul Jones, Mat Sadler, Josh Simpson, Kyle McFadzean, Joe Walsh; Mike Jones, Dannie Bulman (Hurst 84); Nicky Adams, Kyle Bennett, Andy Drury (Sinclair 66); Jamie Proctor (Alexander 75).
Subs: James Hurst, Mark Connolly, Sergio Torres, Gary Alexander, Luke Rooney, Emile Sinclair, Jonny Maddison.
BEES (4-3-3): David Button, Alan McCormack, Jake Bidwell, Tony Craig, Harlee Dean; Jonathan Douglas, Adam Forshaw, George Saville (Diagouraga 45); Kadeem Harris (Saunders 75), Clayton Donaldson, Marcello Trotta (Grigg 80).
Subs: Richard Lee, Sam Saunders, Faris El Alagui, Will Grigg, Shaleum Logan, Toumani Diagouraga, Ben Nugent.