Crawley 3 Cheltenham 5: Reds show fight in disappointing home defeat
Crawley Town showed great fight to come back from the dead but still suffered a disappointing 5-3 defeat at home to midtable Cheltenham.
Reds got off to a terrible start when they found themselves trailing 2-0 after just 12 minutes.
Both goals were scored by Cheltenham’s Harry Pell, the first in only the seventh minute with a fine curling strike from 25 yards into the top corner.
Pell scored their controversial second from the penalty spot five minutes later on the rebound after ‘keeper Glenn Morris saved the initial spot-kick.
Cheltenham added a third before the break scored by Eisa who ran around Morris before finishing.
The second half saw a further goal by Eisa, and a fifth by Will Boyle while Karlan Ahearne-Grant and Panutche Camara scored consolation goals for Reds.
Harry Kewell made two changes to the side which lost to Wycombe with Yorwerth, who was back from suspension, replacing Mark Connolly who began a two-match ban after his sending-off against Wycombe.
Mark Randall was preferred to Josh Payne, who was on the bench.
It was an awful first half for Reds fans with their team going into the break 3-0 behind and needing a miracle to get anything out of the game.
Pell’s two opening goals more or less sealed the result.
There were no complaints over the opening goal but Reds were unlucky to concede the second as most people had seen Eisa handle the ball before Yorwerth committed the foul from which the penalty was awarded.
A big appeal followed from the Crawley players and the crowd certainly let referee Chris Sarginson know what they thought of him.
Cheltenham’s third goal was another good finish and meant the game was effectly over.
Reds were poor and could have been even further behind had not Cheltenham’s skipper Carl Winchester lifted a shot over the bar from a few yards out and then Morris denied Kevin Dawson with a great save with his legs.
The second half was more of the same with Eisa taking advantage of some woeful defending to score the visitors’ fourth.
Ahearne-Grant opened Crawley’s account, aiming the ball into a narrow angle after being set-up by Randall.
However Cheltenham quickly restored their four-goal lead with a headed strike from a corner nodded in by Will Boyle.
Camara made it 5-2 with a close-range header after good work by Ahearne-Grant and Lewis Young, who supplied the cross.
Young then made it 5-3 with five minutes to go when he tucked the ball into the net on the rebound after ‘keeper Scott Flinders saved an initial shot by Camara.
Despite showing fight in the second half, it was a disappointing afternoon for Reds’ fans as they suffered their second successive home defeat.
Crawley Town: Morris, Young, McNerney, Yorwerth (Tajbakhsh 67), Evina (Roberts 61), Boldewijn, Smith (capt), Bulman, Ahearne-Grant, Randall, Camara
Unused subs: Mersin, Sanoh, Payne, Lelan, Djalo
Cheltenham: Flinders, Grimes, Atangana, Pell, Dawson, Winchester (capt) (Graham 66), Boyle, Eisa, Moore, Chatzitheodoridis (Cranston 78), Andrews (Lloyd 66)
Unused subs: Lovett, Adebayo, Sellars, Onariase
Referee: Chris Sarginson (Staffordshire)
Attendance: 2,172 (155 away)
Man of the Match: Karlan Ahearne-Grant