Palmer shines as Crawley Town hold Belgian club KSV Roeselare
Crawley Town conceded a late equaliser to draw 1-1 at home against Belgian Division 2 side KSV Roeselare in their final pre-season friendly.
Reds sprung into life as a good one-two between Dominic Poleon and Josh Payne saw Payne burst away from the KSV defender.
Payne felt he was fouled but the ball fell to Poleon, who fired just over.
The Belgians’ first clear-cut chance didn’t occur until the 27th minute as they forced a good double save from Glenn Morris, after Junior Kangbo cut in from the KSV right delivered a ball into the box but the Belgians couldn’t convert.
Seven minutes later it was the Reds who were on the attack as a defence-splitting pass from Payne found Filipe Morais, who forced a good save from ‘keeper Wouter Biebauw.
As the first half drew to a close, the game remained goalless despite Roeselare keeping possession.
Five minutes after the restart George Francomb hassled a KSV defender into a mistake, playing in Poleon but his effort from a tight angle was easily taken by the ‘keeper.
Ollie Palmer was fouled cynically, and the resulting free-kick was punched out by as far as Payne, but his curling attempt was saved.
A stray ball from the KSV ‘keeper in the 66th minute found Reds sub Reece-Grego-Cox who played in Palmer, who coolly slotted past Biebauw.
As the game looked to be heading for a home win to the Reds after a convincing second half performance, KSV Roeselare snatched a draw with virtually the last kick of the game.
An uncharacteristic mistake from the usually unflustered Romain Vincelot saw him lose possession to KSV’s Camaline Abraw who delightfully dinked the ball over Morris.
With that the game ended 1-1, a fair reflection on what was an even game, but Crawley can look back on what was a very encouraging second half display.
Of the new signings, Vincelot looked especially composed at the back for the Reds, looking to get the ball forward and making several good tackles.
The only blot on his copy was his unlucky mistake that led to the KSV Roeselare goal.
Up top Poleon and Palmer looked lively.
He linked up the play well and was calmness personified as he stroked home the opening goal.
Francomb forced several KSV players into errors while Filipe Morais showed his class with several neat touches.
The subs, Grego-Cox and Ashley Nathaniel-George, both contributed well.
Grego-Cox played a lovely ball to Palmer with great coolness as Crawley went one up, and Nathaniel-George looked bright in his 15-minute cameo, leaving several KSV defenders in knots with his quick feet.
Crawley’s season gets underway next Saturday as they travel to Cheltenham Town looking to start their League Two campaign with three points.
Crawley Town: Morris, Francomb, Connolly (Randall 61’), Vincelot, Doherty, Young, Bulman, Payne, Morais (Grego-Cox 61’), Palmer, Poleon (Nathaniel-George 75’)
Man of the Match: Ollie Palmer