Crawley Town in top of the table clash

Matt Tubbs scores the winner in the final minutes against Gateshead
Matt Tubbs scores the winner in the final minutes against Gateshead

BLUE Square Bet Premier leaders Crawley Town have a golden opportunity to extend their advantage when they take on arch-rivals AFC Wimbledon in a top of the table clash.

The programme could not have thrown up a more interesting time for this local derby battle than now, and with it the Reds will be performing live for the first time in two years on TV on new Conference broadcasting channel Premier Sports.

Tomorrow night’s visit to Kingston to take on the Dons will have an extra edge to it because Crawley have just taken over AFC’s early season lead.

A 3-0 defeat for Wimbledon away at fellow promotion chasers Luton Town on Friday night set up the prefect invitation for Crawley to take over at the top.

As their rivals had already played, Crawley were in the unusual situation at this level that they knew a simple victory at home to 12th placed Gateshead on Saturday would be enough to lift them to the top of the pack for the first time this season.

However the game at Broadfield Stadium certainly proved to be far from a pushover, with the Reds only finally scoring the winner off virtually the final kick of the game to clinch a 2-1 victory.

Matt Tubbs scored his second in thrilling style, heading home an inch-perfect cross from the right wing by central defender Kyle McFadzean in the 94th minute to bring a big cheer to the Broadfield faithful who were bracing themselves for a disappointing 1-1 draw.

Reds assistant manager Paul Raynor said: “The AFC top of the table clash is a massive game. We watched them on Friday and Luton were outstanding on the night, while the breaks didn’t go for Wimbledon.

“We have watched them twice and have had them watched and Wimbledon will also be involved in the promotion picture as (manager) Terry Brown has put together a strong side.

“This is why our players have come to Crawley Town - to play on the big stage, to win the league and get promoted.”

Left backs Sam Rents or Dean Howell could make a return to the team from injury after Simon Rusk left the field with a twisted knee on Saturday. x