Crawley Town came close to inflicting a real hiding on Scunthorpe United as they raced into a three goal lead in the first half through Jordan Tunnicliffe’s header, a marvellous curler from Reece Grego-Cox and Ollie Palmer.
When Palmer hit the crossbar after 52 minutes the fans had also seen two strikes from Bez Lubala ruled offside and the predatory Palmer denied by a splendid save from Ian Lawlor.
Then the visitors were awarded a very soft penalty and Kevin van Veen made it 3-1. I thought Dannie Bulman’s alleged offence was much less than the foul which had earned the Iron striker a red card in their previous game which the club later got rescinded.
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After the penalty the game changed dramatically as the Reds seemed to retire into their shell and let the visitors boss the remaining time. Some odd substitutions did not help although the manager had no choice but to replace my man of the match, George Francomb. He was finally kicked out of the game after providing three pinpoint free kicks.
Our strength in central defence kept them out and allowed the supporters to enjoy a final sigh of relief at the close although many were disappointed at the way we let things slip. Scunthorpe played well, especially in the first half, but suffered like us from the substitution of their best player, Alex Gilliead, whilst Grego-Cox was bizarrely subbed after Lubala had been indicated.
The potential of the changes brought to Crawley Town by John Yems and Lee Bradbury was plain to see as the Reds gained a valuable point against Plymouth Argyle at Home Park last Tuesday. The Devon club are a classy outfit and many people’s favourites to take the title.
I had no doubts that Reds would be at their best against such strong opposition and so it turned out. The team were as one but two individual displays stood out although only one was welcome.
Palmer is in exceptional form and took his goal tally to four in four days with a brace against Argyle showing two different qualities you want in a striker. Firstly he gambled and notched a real poacher’s goal from about twelve inches completing a move he had started himself. In added time he gained a point with a powerful close range header from Jamie Sendles-White’s headed pass. You can’t ask anything more of a centre forward.
In contrast Lubala, who otherwise enjoyed a decent game, was responsible for both Plymouth goals. He conceded a penalty that allowed Argyle to equalise and later lost possession and so set up the move that led to another goal for the Devon club’s super-sub Luke Jephcott.
It was a splendidly entertaining match with a host of scoring opportunities at both ends. Probably the resolute band of 87 travelling fans was happier at the end than the bulk of an impressive Tuesday night attendance of 9184.