This was the proverbial game of two halves.
Well perhaps a bit more to Crawley, as they took the lead through Ollie Palmer’s strike on 16 minutes from an inch perfect pass from the ageless Dannie Bulman, then within 16 minutes the game turned around and Crawley were losing with goals from Whitehouse on 21 and Hanson on 32, despite two great saves by Glenn Morris only for both balls to be tapped into the net.
From then until half time it was Grimsby taking control of the game and Glenn Morris had to be again at his best to keep the visitors from increasing their lead.
Manager John Yems must have said a few choice words at half time as the Red Devils really upped their game, and with the introduction of Reece Grego-Cox at the start of the second half for the out of sorts Panutche Camera certainly livened up Crawley going forward, and gave the Grimsby defence much more to think about.
However, Grimsby had another great chance to increase the lead when Hanson’s strike went past the far post having beaten Morris for once. The home side though continued to push forward at every opportunity and then got back into the game.
Having seen the TV replays of the Crawley equaliser it is stunning, from defence a great pass by George Francomb found Ashley Nadesan who skipped between two defenders and raced down on goal, then instead of having a shot himself, unselfishly squared the ball to strike partner Palmer for an easy tap-in for his second of the game.
Crawley again upped their game and continued to push the visitor’s deeper and deeper into their own half, when on 77 minutes, Bez Lubala won the ball back in the opposition half and then passed to Palmer and his neat first time touch found a sprinting Ashley Nadesan who fired passed the keeper to put Crawley ahead again to the merriment of the home fans all around the stadium – it was only what they had deserved on the second half performance.
Two more changes were made to the home side with Francomb being replaced by Tarryn Allarakhia and then Ollie Palmer by Richardo German to a standing ovation by the home supporters.
In the final few minutes and in added time, you know Crawley – they gave back the initiative to the opposition who were trying to get on level terms again, corners and crosses came into the penalty area but great defending and blocking by the outfield players and then one brilliant save again from Morris saw the game out until the final whistle.
It was a terrific, entertaining game and played out by two teams who wanted the win – visiting manager Ian Holloway was extremely complimentary about the Crawley performance especially in the second half in his post-match comments to the awaiting press and also on Quest TV that evening when he was a guest in the studio.
Crawley now have a run of five away games where we play the top four teams starting with Plymouth on Tuesday evening – and amongst them, four games at home against teams that at are struggling.
It would be terrific if the Red Devils could pick some points on the road over the next few weeks - it going to be a tough ask, but with the current form of late, who knows – just keep this tempo up and with the front two players starting to play for each other we could spring a few surprises. We will be there supporting them.
UP UP and Away.
Salford City on 8th February – have you booked on our trip to Salford – with two coaches travelling to this game we now have just 10 seats remaining. We depart from the stadium at 7.30am and cost of the trip is again £20.00 and includes a buffet lunch on the way. Please contact Alain on 07771-792346 to book on.