Trialists given chance to impress as Reds beaten by Championship side Ipswich Town in friendly

Crawley and Ipswich players ahead of friendly at East Court.
Crawley and Ipswich players ahead of friendly at East Court.

Eight Crawley Town trialists were given a chance to impress as the Reds were beaten 1-0 by Championship side Ipswich Town in a friendly at East Court.

Playing at their temporary home ground in East Grinstead and following defeats at Fulham and Norwich, the Reds were looking for their first pre-season victory.

Harry Kewell gave first team chances to three trialists, with a further five on the bench.

Harry Kewell gave first team chances to three trialists, with a further five on the bench.

However, that didn't stop Harry Kewell from giving first team chances to three trialists, with a further five on the bench.

With Jimmy Smith, Ashley Nathaniel-George and Brian Galach ruled out by injury, starts were given to new signings Ollie Palmer and Reece Grego-Cox. Dominic Poleon and and George Francomb had to settle for a place on the bench.

Albeit a few injuries to key players, Ipswich deployed a strong side which tested Glenn Morris early on, forcing the keeper to beat away a strong Freddie Sears effort at the near post. However, the Championship side weren't kept out for long as they scored after just two minutes, with Grant Ward evading his marker before calmly finishing past Morris.

Reds, looking to make an instant response, broke forward with Lewis Young finding Grego-Cox with an excellent cross but the forward, who was signed yesterday, was denied by a superb reaction save from Dean Gerken.

Minutes later, in another good move, Josh Doherty was found in acres of space on the left before playing in Ollie Palmer whose effort was blocked away.

There were promising signs of an understanding between Palmer and Grego-Cox, with the pair influencing many of the moves in the final third.

Chances were limited for the remainder of the second half, despite an end-to-end encounter, with both sides trying to impose themselves on the game.

Both sides came close in the final five minutes, however. First Josh Payne's dangerous corner was headed just wide before Martyn Waghorn's goalbound effort was cleared off the line

Wholesale changes were made by Kewell at half time, with nine new players taking the field, including five trialists. Grego-Cox and Lewis Young were the only first half players remaining on the pitch, albeit for little more than 10 minutes, before being replaced by the two remaining substitutes Poleon and Francomb.

The visitors made just two changes at the interval, including former Reds forward Gwion Edwards, who joined earlier on Tuesday for a reported £700k from Peterborough United.

The second half continued where the first left off, with chances a rare occurance, and both defences particularly standing out.

Poleon took over from Grego-Cox as the main threat for Crawley and almost found an equaliser with a blocked effort from close range after an excellent run by Mammou.

Another former Reds forward Jordan Roberts, who left Crawley at the end of last season, came on for Ipswich, but he was unable to make the scoreline a more comfortable one for the visitors, whilst Crawley couldn’t quite force an equaliser.

With just one very early goal separating the sides two divisions apart, many positives can be taken for Crawley, particularly from the performances of some of the new names and overall defensive performance.

The Reds return to East Court on Saturday to play Charlton Athletic in another friendly (3pm), but not before facing Brighton and Hove Albion at the AMEX Training Centre on Friday (11am).

Crawley: Morris, L.Young, Connolly, M.Young (trialist) Doherty, Payne, Bulman, Whelpdale (trialist), Tarryn Allarakhia (trialist), Grego-Cox, Palmer

Subs: Mersin, McNerney, Francomb, Randall, Camara, Briggs, Sessay, Milsom, Turley (all 45). Poleon, Mammou (67).

Ipswich: Gerken, Woolfenden, Chambers, Spence, Kenlock (Emmanuel 78), Ward (Folami 85), Skuse, Dozzell (Downes 46), Nydam (Roberts 78), Sears, Waghorn (Edwards 46).

Attendance: 475