Carlisle United 4 Crawley Town 2: Gabriele Cioffi's side shows fight after terrible start

Ashley Nathaniel-George scored for Crawley Town during their 4-2 defeat at Carlisle United. Picture by Steve Robards.
Ashley Nathaniel-George scored for Crawley Town during their 4-2 defeat at Carlisle United. Picture by Steve Robards.

Crawley Town conceded four goals in a disastrous opening 30 minutes which paved the way for a disappointing 4-2 defeat in Cumbria.


Goals by Nathan Thomas (two), Callum O'Hare and Hallam Hope set what proved to be a winning lead with only a third of the match played.


Reds pulled two goals back with one by Ashley Nathaniel-George with his second goal in two games to make it 4-1 at half-time and an own goal in the second half, but the deficit proved too much to overhaul.


Head coach Gabriele Cioffi made one change to the side which drew with Notts County on Easter Monday with Reece Grego-Cox returning to the starting line-up in place of Luke Gambin.


Matty Willock returned to the subs' bench in place of Brian Galach, having recovered from injury.

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Carlisle took the lead in only the seventh minute when Nathan Thomas ran at the Reds' defence before blasting a shot past 'keeper Glenn Morris.


The Cumbrians then added a second two minutes later when Thomas scored again with an identical goal.


Carlisle made it 3-0 after just 20 minutes when Joe McNerney lost possession and Callum O'Hare netted the loose ball after Glenn Morris saved an initial shot by Regan Slater.


Thomas was denied a hat-trick from a similar position to his first two goals but the ball was deflected off Hallam Hope for a goal-kick.


Carlisle increased their lead to 4-0 in the 31st minute when Hope seized upon a mistake by Filipe Morais on the edge of the area and and fired into the bottom corner of the net.


Ollie Palmer had a go from inside the box after being found by Lewis Young but the ball was tipped over the bar by 'keeper Adam Collin.


Grego-Cox had an attempt supplied by Nathaniel-George but the effort was blocked and cleared.


Nathaniel-George gave Reds hope with a goal to make it 4-1 just before half-time after a one-two with Palmer.


In the second half Panutche Camara struck a shot from 25 yards but it went straight to Collin.


Cioffi made his first substitution of the game when he brought on Gambin in place of Palmer.


Grego-Cox had a go from a narrow angle which was saved and turned around for a corner.


Gambin looked dangerous after coming on put a good ball in front of goal which was parried by Collin but Morais lifted his shot over the bar from six yards.


Cioffi them took Morais off and brought on the fit-again Manchester United loanee Willock from the bench.


Crawley then pulled a goal back with 14 minutes to go when a great ball by Young was put into his own net by Anthony Gerrard.


Reds put pressure on the home defence in the closing stages as they searched for a third goal as Grego-Cox was twice denied with good saves by Carlisle 'keeper Cullen.

Crawley Town: Morris, Young, McNerney, Grego-Cox, Palmer (Gambin 58), Nathaniel-George, Maguire, Dallison, Bulman (capt), Morais, Camara
Subs: Mersin, Willock, Doherty, N'Gala, Sesay

Carlisle United: Collin, Miller, Liddle, Gerrard (capt), Parkes, Jones, Hope, Slater, Thomas, O'Hare (Kennedy 24, Cullen 69), Scougall (Gillesphey 81)
Subs: Gray, Glendon, Simpson, Branthwaite
Referee: Scott Oldham
Attendance: 4,514 (76 away)