Report by Scott Gibbons
Crawley 2’s 8- 2 Crawley 3’s
Saturday’s game posed an interesting prospect of a Crawley vs Crawley showdown.
The 2’s fresh off a 7-0 hammering away to title favourites Brighton and the 3’s following a resilient 0-0 with St Francis.
The game started at a frantic pace and a moment of brilliance in the first minute from Nick Bennett saw his upright, reverse hit from the left present James Fuller with the opportunity to skilfully deflect home the opener.
A second soon followed with Karl Bass placing a flick into the bottom corner from a short corner and then a third with Rob Payne lifting the ball beyond the keeper Gary Thornton and marginally over the line.
It was a disastrous start for the 3’s, but they settled into the half and were much the better side in the ten minutes before the break; Lewis Clark, Alex Howarth, Reuben Crawford and Will McCaffery showing good energy in the midfield and defenders Aman Sandhu, Chris Hards, Alex Foxcroft and debutant Jonny Rowtcliff looking much more assured at the back. They also started to look much more of a threat on the attack; testing 2’s keeper Lewis Cordingley and winning a series of short corners, which they were agonisingly unable to convert for a much-deserved goal.
Into the second half and Fuller converted another to stretch the lead further, but the 3’s weren’t dead and buried, with 3’s man of the match George Avis scoring his first goal in five years after some good work by Scott Mansfield.
The match was in the balance with Thornton making a string of excellent saves to deny 2’s skipper Scott Gibbons with a one on one and Fuller again with an outstanding stick save from a full-blooded hit.
However, in the last fifteen minutes the 3’s resistance finally caved with Gibbons dispatching a sumptuous hit into the inside netting, before adding a second from Payne’s pass.
The 3’s rallied again with a deserved goal for Seb Watson, but excellent work from 2’s man or the match Jason Mansfield and the tireless Hammad Jalal saw a goal from Bass and then Fuller’s hattrick complete the scoring with some excellent team goals.
In the closing stages a cynical foot from Foxcroft saw the 3’s end with ten men and despite the score line of 8-2 they can hold their heads high and take much pride from their performance.
2’s squad: Gibbons (c), Cordingley, Teale, Berry, Saraw, Bennett, Payne, Bass, Jalal, J Mansfield, Fuller, Fish, Dhiman
3’s squad: Thornton, Rowtcliff, Sandhu, Hards, Foxcroft, Crawford, Clark, Howarth, Avis, McCaffery, Watson, S Mansfield
The 2’s are home to Lewes 4’s on Saturday, with the 3’s hosting South Saxons 3’s.