Crawley were only able to field the bare 11 for their away trip to St Francis in Burgess Hill. Justin Maynard and Andy Burton making first appearances for the 2’s this season. With limited warm up time due to prior games overrunning, both teams were sluggish to start, with Crawley doing their usual hard work in defence but unable to replicate that movement going forward.
Scott Gibbons tried to craft chances for himself but St Francis were able to stand firm against his probing runs with the ball. Alex Coote took a free hit quickly and unleashed a reverse hit from the top of the “D” and it was arrowing into the top corner only for the St Francis keeper to show his quality and pull a fantastic save out of the bag. That Keeper seemed to have a motto of “they shall not pass” and was equal to any shot that Crawley had.
St Francis did not really create any clear cut chances and with Crawley unable to score, went in at half time at 0-0. A quick chat, and ready to go again, Crawley had a goal mouth scramble and Scott Mansfield, mishit a reverse sweep from close range to lob the keeper and give Crawley the lead, and at the same time accidently injured a St Francis defenders family jewels and the poor bloke was unable to continue.
All of sudden Crawley looked a different team with some slick passing moves and St Francis unable to cope with Liam Mulcahy’s skill on the ball. However St Francis were not beat and a forward was in the Crawley “D” and a (very) robust challenge from Ian Berry resulted in a penalty stroke being awarded (How Ian did not get a yellow card, none of us will ever know!). Chris Rockingham dived to his right to save the stroke but he was beaten, 1-1.
Crawley surged forward and with the very last play of game won a penalty corner. The ball was scrambled goal wards only for a St Francis defender to block a shot with his body, the Umpire awarded a penalty stroke. Jamie Westwood stepped up and he duly buried it to the delight of his team mates who took a well-deserved 2-1 win.
Chris Rockingham, Jamie Westwood, Ian Berry, Simon Teale, Justin Maynard, Andy Burton, Kane Paterson (c), Alex Coote, Scott Gibbons, Scott Mansfield, Liam Mulcahy
Scorers: Jamie Westwood, Scott Mansfield