Crawley Town 0, Brighton & Hove Albion 3: Reds sunk by three first-half goals
Crawley Town continued their pre-season preparations with a 3-0 defeat at home to a strong Brighton & Hove Albion outfit tonight.
The Championship side ran out victors thanks to three first-half goals from Dale Stephens, Tomer Hemed and Beram Kayal.
Reds named a number of new trialist on their bench including former QPR goalkeeper Aaron Lennox, ex-Aston Villa and Southampton youth product Isaac Nehemie, Australian former Reading man Ryan Edwards and Ardlingly College’s Alex Summerfield - all of whom got a run-out in the second half.
That was a second period in which Simon Walton, who skippered the home side, saw his early penalty saved by David Stockdale as Reds went on to more than match their visitors, from which Mark Yates will take plenty from.
In a fast-paced start, Reds worked hard to compete and despite Albion having the early running and a couple of corners, they did little to trouble home stopper Callum Preston.
In fact, former Albion man Shamir Fenelon looked to have the best chance as he turned Gaetan Bong on the halfway line and bore down on goal, but the full-back was back well to snuff out the danger.
On eight minutes, the best chance for the visitors saw Sam Baldock break away but his cross just evaded the waiting Hemed in the middle.
A dangerous Jimmy Smith ball from the right then appeared to be handled in the area as Bruno slipped for a second time and fell on the ball, but again local referee Tim Robinson was not interested.
The Championship side had the lead on 15 minutes as a Liam Rosenior cross was spectacularly finished acrobatically by Stephens in mid air.
Hemed doubled the score on 23 minutes as Kazenga Lua Lua drove a quickly-taken free-kick at Preston, who parried to the Albion attacker who tapped home.
It was three just before the half-hour mark as Lewis Young gave away the ball to Lua Lua after a Reds corner and the winger picked out a low cross all the way across the box to Kayal, who stroked home.
The hard-working Luke Rooney and Fenelon saw little rewards for their sharp passing as both tried to carve out moves to get Reds on the attack throughout the half.
On the stroke of half-time, Preston pulled off a great save to deny Hemed a second from an effort that was heading for the top corner after another smart Albion move.
Four minutes after the restart, Crawley had an opportunity to pull a goal back as Simon Walton put away Smith with a great pass and he went down under the challenge of Stockwell in the area.
The Albion stopper was soon to make amends as he guessed right from the resulting spot kick, down to his left to deny Walton from 12 yards.
The second half was a midfield battle with Crawley actually having the majority of play until the final ten minutes, whilewholesale changes to both sides didn’t improve the effort-on-target count.
Substitute Izale McLeod - one of six Reds changes - was soon the get on the action as he cut in onto his left foot and riffled an effort just over the bar.
The visitors also made eight substitutes themselves at the same time as Chris Hughton took a look at his whole squad.
With both sides tiring, Reds’ boss Yates gave young Summerfield a run out as he replaced Gwion Edwards for the final five minutes as the clock ran down on another useful pre-season workout.
Crawley: Preston (Lennox 76), Young (Bradley 64), Ashton (Nehemie 64), McNerny, Henderson (Bawling 64), Rooney, Smith (R.Edwards 76), Walton (c), G.Edwards (Summerfield 85), Fenelon (Barnard 64), Harrold (McLeod 64).
Brighton: Stockdale, Salter, (Dallison 45), Rosenior, Rea, Bong, March (Calderon 23), Stephens, Kayal, Lua, Lua, Hemed, Baldock. Subs: Manepaa, O’Grady, Chicksen, White, Tilley, Monakana, Holla, Ince (all used 64).
Referee: Tim Robinson.
Attendance: 2200 (933 away).