Match Report by Steve Innes
Crawley arrived in Eastbourne in good spirits after a few positive away results and knowing that it would be a tough away day having played Eastbourne twice last season and just snatching the title from them.
Crawley started well and after some good individual work by Steve Innes down the left wing saw Crawley win the first short corner a minute into the game, Crawley couldn’t convert but the positive start lead to Crawley creating more pressure and having most of the ball, the defence of Luke Kellaher, Joe Radoux and Mark Brightwell keeping the ball patiently, waiting for an opportunity to get Crawley forward.
The pressure told and the breakthrough eventually came when Brendan McCaolite intercepted a ball in the midfield and play it to Seb Watson in the area, he then played a smart 1-2 around the keeper with Steve Innes to score in an open goal.
This goal spurred Eastbourne into life and instantly they up their effort and created a chance of their own but Luke Murphy made a fine save. After some back and forth the last chance of the half went to Eastbourne who will consider themselves unlucky as a deflected effort was ruled out for a high ball in.
Second half started and Eastbourne produced much of the same put pressure on the Crawley goal but some excellent work from the defence and in the middle from James Innes, Reece Banton, Jonny Reigate, Brendan McCaolite and Jay-Tee Carter saw them limited to half chances.
Eastbourne won a short corner after some desperate defending from Crawley on the goal line, Murphy in goal managed to save the first but another corner was given when it struck a Crawley foot after the save. Eastbourne managed to dispatch this corner in the bottom right of the goal.
1-1 and game on for the winner saw both teams go back and forth with Eastbourne having most of the possession but not creating clear cut chances and Crawley having quick counter attacks that were just missing a final touch or bit of quality on the pass.
Entering the last stages and Crawley pegged back in their own 25, a great tackle in defence saw a breakaway opportunity when Jonny Reigate played an early ball to Kieran Fuller on the left wing, with just Innes in support Fuller took the defender on and beat him, the ball was there to be played square to Innes for a tap in, as Fuller played the pass a touch from the Eastbourne defender took it past the dive of the keeper and snatched victory with less than a minute to go.
Thanks to the travelling support, it is much appreciated. Onto a home game against Southwick at Worth School next Saturday.
Murphy, Brightwell, Kellaher, Radoux, J.Innes, McCaolite, Banton, Reigate, Watson, Fuller, S. Innes
Subs - Carter, Hooley-Jones, Hillman
MOM - Lukes (Kellaher and Murphy)
DOD - Watson
Scorers - Watson, Fuller (sort of)