Crawley Town 1 Forest Green Rovers 2: Christian Doidge’s late goal sinks Reds
Crawley Town suffered a heartbreaking defeat in a game they often threatened to clinch three points but somehow could not find the winner.
In a game in which Reds largely dominated Crawley took the lead in the 24th minute in fabulous style.
Skipper Dannie Bulman hit a stunning long distance strike from nearly 30 yards to bring the game to life.
However sixth-place Forest Green soon replied at the other end with an equaliser netted then minutes later by Chris Doidge.
Reds had several chances to regain the lead with Ollie Palmer and Filipe Morais going close.
But despite pressure from Crawley it was the visitors who clinched victory with a second goal of the game in the 88th minute by Doidge.
The last goal heralded a protest by fans carrying a banner with a message directed at Crawley’s director of football Selim Gaygusuz.
Reds head coach Gabriele Cioffi made one change to the side which lost at Morecambe with Joe Maguire replacing Ashley Nathaniel-George who was on the bench.
He was forced to make a late change to the bench with Brian Galach coming in for Ricardo German who got injured during the warm-up.
After a quiet start, the game exploded into life with brilliant shot from more than 25 yards by Bulman which flew into the net which will surely be a candidate for goal of the season.
Reds nearly scored an immediate second goal when Reece Grego-Cox crossed to Lewis Young who sped past the defender but could not beat ‘keeper Lewis Ward, then Ollie Palmer tried to follow-up by Nathan McCGinley cleared.
Reds’ lead proved shortlived as just ten minutes later Christian Doidge scored an equaliser, getting on the end of a ball from Reece Brown.
Crawley had two more chances to regain the lead before half-time.
Ollie Palmer controlled a ball to him and then backheeled a lovely pass to Morais who blasted narroely wide from outside the area.
Then Palmer and Panutche Camara completed a fine one-two and cross to set-up Palmer for a downward header which Ward got down low to gather.
Palmer might well have made it 2-1 early in the second half with a shot struck powerfully from outside the area which flew over the bar.
At the other end Tom Dallison did great work to intercept a ball from Carl Winchester to George Williams who had ran into the area.
Reds missed antother great opportunity when Camara surged forward and crossed to Palmer whose left-footed shot from the left of goal rolled inches wide of the right hand post.
Reds brought on Dominic Poleon instead of Grego-Cox as they pushed for a late winner.
Forest Green’s Brown was not closed down on a run through the middle and launched a shot which flew over the bar.
Palmer had a penalty appeal turned down and even had hits short torn as the referee made some decisions in favour of Forest Green which upset the home crowd.
Finally Forest Green scored a heart-breaking late winner, seizing on Morais giving the ball away which allowed Junior Mondal to cross to Doidge to nod in his second goal goal of the game to seal victory for the visitors.
Crawley Town: Morris, Young, McNerney, Grego-Cox (Poleon 75), Palmer, Francomb, Maguire, Dallison, Bulman (capt), Morais (Nathaniel-George 90), Camara
Subs: Mersin, Galach, Sesay, N’Gala
Forest Green Rovers: Ward, Shephard, Rawson, Winchester, Doidge, Brown, Williams (Grubb 76), Gunning (capt) (Collins 70), McGinley, Digby (Mondal 60), Mills
Subs: Montgomery, James, McCoulsky, Reid
Referee: Darren Drysdale
Attendance: 2,088 (204 away)