Crawley Town 1 Reading 0: Henderson stuns Royals
Conor Henderson scored a stunning 30-yard winner with 11 minutes to go to clinch Crawley Town a deserved 1-0 win against Championship club Reading.
Henderson was one of seven substitutes who were brought on midway through the second half.
Crawley fielded three trialists in their starting line-up including two new full-backs in former Aston Villa and Cheltenham full-back Durrell Berry and Belgian defender from Antwerp Brian Van De Bogaert.
Former Arsenal and Spurs strikers Roarie Deacon and Lee Barnard signed contracts just before the game and played up front while former Birmingham City keeper Callum Preston continued his trial in goal.
Reading fielded new signing Orlando Sa up front making his debut having been bought for a reported £1 million from Polish club Legia Warsaw.
Crawley’s best chances in the first half came from a swerving shot by Jimmy Smith which was kept out by diving keeper Ali Al-Habsi.
Deacon looked a threat up front and seized upon a mistake before being put through by Barnard but suffed his shot.
Later Deacon showed great pace to beat the defence before again being denied by Al-Habsi.
Meanwhile at the other end, De Bogaert, making his debut, produced a superb block to stop a run by USA international Danny Williams.
Williams then hit the crossbar from a Sa header while Dominic Samuel blasted into the side-netting.
Reading’s Oliver Norwood supplied Sa with a gift from a free-kick but the new signing lifted the chance well over the bar from a few yards.
The visitors started the second half looking dangerous as captain Chris Gunter headed over the bar.
Former Crawley player Hope Akpan then played a one-two with Simon Cox but put the final ball narrowly wide.
Lewis Young showed a great turn of pace but no-one could connect to his cross from the right, as Crawley poured forward with attack after attack.
Gwion Edwards came off the bench and was denied by a good save on the goalline, then the energetic Luke Rooney delivered a great ball to captain Sonny Bradley who should have scored from immediately in front of goal.
Henderson then scored a remarkable swerving wondergoal from well outside the area which keeper Al-Habsi helped into his own net in the 79th minute to clinch victory.
Jon Ashton continued Reds’ dominant form by running on to a ball in thre penalty area but shpt over the bar from a narrow angle.
Finally substitute goalkeeper Aaron Lennox (ex- QPR U21s), one of three triallists who came on in the second half, pulled off a fine save to keep out an effort by Stephen Quinn.
REDS: Preston, Berry, Van De Bogaert, Walton, McNerney, Bradley, Smith, Barnard, Rooney, Young, Deacon
Subs: G Edwards, Henderson, Lennox, Fenelon, Ashton, Bawling, Harrold, R Edwards, Niheme
READING: Al-Habsi, Gunter, A Ferdinand, Norwood, Akpan, Williams, Taylor, Samuel, Griffin, Long, Sa
Subs: Bond, Obita, Tshibola, Blackman, Kuhl, Novakovich, Quinn, Hyam, Cox
REFEREE: Gavin Ward
ATTENDANCE: 1,288 (296 away)
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