Crawley made the trip to the south coast, hoping to repeat their success that they had earlier in the season against Brighton. They faced a much-changed Brighton line up, but they themselves brought a much-changed team from last week, with special mention to Chris Hards making his first appearance for the 2’s this season. The warm up proved tricky as Chris Rockingham took a ball to the knee and everyone feared the worst but thankfully he was able to pick himself up and carry on after a long lie down on the pitch.
Crawley started the match with some slick forward passing moves, but were unable to convert their pressure into goals. Brighton having been on the back foot in the opening 10 mins, started to find their way into the match. A quick break saw them catch the Crawley defence out and convert their overload into a goal. That goal seemed to spur Brighton on, and they went on to exert more pressure and despite Chris Rockingham’s best efforts and many saves, they eventually broke through again, 2-0.
Crawley did not give up though and continued to create half chances, but were unable to stick the ball in the net. Brighton then got a lucky break at a short corner where Luke Miles, bravely defending the post deflected a shot going wide into the goal. This could have been the sucker punch but Crawley fought hard and managed to get a goal back via short corner of their own, with Alex Coote tapping home from 1 yard out after Liam Mulcahy slipped the ball through.
Everyone then got a rest as Kane Paterson went down after taking a nasty whack to the ankle. Crawley, energised by the breather went in search of two more goals, Gary Marlow and Simon Teale linking well down the right side repeatedly. However the all-out attack play left the defence exposed and another swift Counter attack saw Brighton go 4-1 up.
This was harsh on Crawley who had dominated parts of the match, but they got a reward toward the end with James Fuller breaking at speed, finding Theo Hillman, with an artful dink over the keeper with first touch giving Crawley at least some justice for their efforts. The game could have been over but there was still time for Gary Marlow to get a green card for not retreating 5 yards.
Whilst the result was not what Crawley wanted, it was a fantastic team effort.
Chris Rockingham, Chris Hards, Ian Berry, Luke Miles, Simon Teale, Karl Bass, Alex Coote, Kane Paterson, Liam Mulcahy , James Fuller, Gary Marlow, Theo Hillman