Mackail-Smith's hat-trick ends Crawley's unbeaten away league run

Crawley Town goalkeeper Glenn Morris skippered the side in the absence of skipper Jimmy Smith at Wycombe this afternoon. Picture by Steve Robards
Crawley Town goalkeeper Glenn Morris skippered the side in the absence of skipper Jimmy Smith at Wycombe this afternoon. Picture by Steve Robards

Former Brighton & Hove Albion forward Craig Mackail-Smith struck an 11-minute second half hat-trick to send Crawley Town crashing to a first League 2 defeat on the road in six matches this afternoon.

As well as Mackail-Smith's treble, Eberechi Eze broke the deadlock as Wycombe Wanderers struck four times after the break to ease to an emphatic 4-0 triumph at Adams Park.

The defeat leaves Reds without a league win in six - seeing them slip three places to 21st in the table - having scored just one goal in their previous six League 2 matches.

Reds made three changes from the team that drew with Forest Green Rovers last time out. Injured skipper Jimmy Smith missed out for the first time in the league this season, while Dannie Bulman and Lewis Young also made way for Josh Payne, Josh Yorweth and Aryan Tajbakhsh.

Both teams were without a win in five League 2 outings coming in to and it was Crawley who fashioned the first chance.

Enzio Boldewijn's clipped cross was flicked towards goal by the head of Verheydt, only for Wycombe goalkeeper Scott Brown to superbly parry wide and deny the Dutch forward his second goal in as many games after ten minutes.

The home side were going long towards powerful frontman Adebayo Akinfenwa in the early exchanges, with Reds looking comfortable at the back.

Wycombe did come close to breaking the deadlock on 17 minutes, though. Joe Jacobson's delivery was met by centre-half Anthony Stewart who - with Crawley goalkeeper Glenn Morris beaten - saw his header come back out off the crossbar.

The Chairboys were looking the more likely as the half wore on and Reds survived a couple of scares on the half-hour. First, Jacobson's corner picked out Stewart - who cleverly snuck round the back - only to see his fierce volley kept out by a great stop from Morris.

Wycombe did have the ball in the net less than a minute later, only for referee Anthony Coggins to rule it out. Luke O'Nien's header lopped over Morris but his effort was chalked off for a foul on the goalkeeper.

After ending the first half on top, Wycombe were ahead five minutes in to the second. Eberechi Eze showed great feet, then exchanged passes with forward Akinfenwa, before firing past the onrushing Morris.

Wycombe had the ball in the net again 12 minutes later but referee Coggins ruled it out. Jacobsen's corner was met by Stewart - whose header beat Morris - but he was bundled to the floor with a foul given.

Eze continued to look a threat and Morris did well to deny him 20 minutes from the end. Paris Cowan-Hall's cross picked out an unmarked Eze at the back post, whose curling effort was parried away by Morris.

Midfielder Josh Yorweth came within an inch of levelling a minute later. His deflected 25-yard effort flashed agonisingly wide of the far post.

A lively five minute spell was then brought to a close with former Brighton & Hove Albion man Craig Mackail-Smith doubling the home side's lead. Akinfenwa was provider once again, this time finding Mackail-Smith, who kept his composure and rifled in to the top corner.

Mackail-Smith was on fire, firing a further two goals past Morris, to complete an 11-minute hat-trick and send Crawley crashing to a third defeat on the road this season.

CRAWLEY TOWN: Morris; Lelan, Connolly, McNerney, Evina; Yorweth; Roberts, Payne, Tajbakhsh, Boldewijn; Verheydt. Subs: Mersin, Young, Doherty, Bulman, Lewis (Tajbakhsh, 58) , Randall (Evina, 80), Camara (Roberts, 58).