Stevenage 2 Crawley Town 1 - Reds lose to James Ball brace despite dominant display

Dominic Poleon scored for Crawley to make it 1-1
Dominic Poleon scored for Crawley to make it 1-1

Crawley Town were unlucky to return from Stevenage with nothing after giving a dominant display in Hertfordshire

The home side won through two goals in the first half scored by substitute James Ball.

Reds had equalised through a well-taken goal by Dominic Poleon and had plenty of opportunities to draw level but it wasn't to be.

They looked the dominant side for much of the game but despite pressurising after the break, could not find the net to earn what would have been a deserved draw.

Head coach Gabriele Cioffi named an unchanges side from the one which beat Cheltenham last week with Ollie Palmer retaining his place.

New signing defender Tom Dallison who joined the club on Tursday after being released by Falkirk was named on the bench.

Stevenage suffered an early blow when their captain and former Brighton striker Alex Revell limped off injured after just ten minutes and was replaced up front by James Ball.

Revell had already looked menacing with an wearly breakaway chance, firing over the bar.

Crawley had the first good chance to score when Palmer set up Dominic Poleon who fired over.

Ball soon made an impact after coming on when he headed home from a cross from the right by Luther James-Wildin to put the hosts in front.

Crawley got back on to level terms in fine style in the 36th minute when David Sesay sent in a fine cross for Poleon who controlled the ball and fired into the net.

Reds looked the more likely to go into half-time with the lead as Panutche Camara put Palmer through for a chance but the Reds top scorer was denied by 'keeper Paul Farman.

But it despite good play by the visitors, Stevenage regained the lead five minutes before the break when Ball scored his second goal of the game, pouncing upon a ball spilled by Glenn Morris following a cross.

Morris then made an important save to deny Stevenage a third goal as James-Wildon ran past two Reds players and set-up Danny Newton for a deflected shot.

You could not believe how Stevenage were still in the lead as Luke Gambin's wicked cross is a tricky one for Farman which ended up going behind after hitting the crossbar in a desperate goalmouth scramble.

Palmer took a fine shot which was saved which fell to Camara but he fired wide on the rebound.

Farman pulled off another fine save to prevent Sesay finding the Reds forwards.

Filipe Morais replaced captain Josh Payne off the bench for his first taste of action since Reds' FA Cup tie against Southend on November 20.

Lewis Young came on for David Sesay to become the first Reds player to make his 200th appearance for the club in one spell since they joined the Football League.

Reece Grego-Cox replaced Poleon up front in Cioffi's final substitution.

Crawley's fans really made themselves heard as Reds pressed hard with wave after wave of attacks in the closing stages.

Keeper Farman touched a great chance by Young which rolled inches wide of the post.

Crawley Town: Morris, Doherty, Payne (capt) (Morais 66), Connolly, Palmer, Poloen (Grego-Cox), Gambin, Francomb, Maguire, Sesay (Young), Camara
Unused subs: Mersin, Dallison, Bulman

Stevenage: Farman, James-Wildin, Hunt, Timlin, Cuthbert (Wilkinson 68), Byrom (Iontton 55), Revell (capt) (Ball 10), Seddon, Newton, Makasi, Nugent
Unused subs: Sonupe, Vancooten, Henry, Smyth
Referee: Thomas Bramall

Attendance: 2347