Crawley super-sub Maguire-Drew’s thunderbolt topples leaders Cheltenham
Jordan Maguire-Drew’s first goal for the Reds earned a memorable victory over table-topping Cheltenham.
It was a sublime strike, drilling in off the post, to sink League Two’s high-fliers and make it a perfect week for John Yems' men after their win at Bradford on Tuesday.
Yems made one change from Crawley’s midweek win at Bradford, as Jake Hessenthaler came in for Josh Wright.
Early on Alfie May cushioned the ball into the path of Callum Wright, who showed neat footwork before bending wide.
Crawley had the best opportunity of the first half when Jack Powell found Ashley Nadesan with a quick long pass. Nadesan knocked the ball past Josh Griffiths but could only fire over an empty goal from the angle.
In stoppage time of the first half the Robins were inches away from an opener when a low cross came through a crowd of players before Tom Nichols turned the ball onto his own bar, with Crawley eventually hooking the ball clear.
In the second half Nichols was gifted a huge chance after cutting out Chris Hussey’s back-pass, but Griffiths was off his line quickly to smother Nichols’ attempted effort.
Crawley had another great chance when, from a throw in, Nichols worked the ball into the path of Nadesan, who twisted free from defenders with only Griffiths to beat, but he could only poke wide from close range after being put under just enough pressure.
Cheltenham hit the woodwork again when Sean Long’s cross was half-cleared out to Liam Sercombe, who chipped an audacious effort onto the bar.
Not long after, on 77 minutes, Crawley finally found a deserved breakthrough when Nichols found Jordan Maguire-Drew in space on the counter-attack.
The winger steadied himself and fired an unstoppable low drive into the bottom corner with his weaker right foot, the ball kissing the post on the way in.
Cheltenham came desperately close to equalising when a clever free-kick saw Finn Azaz flash the ball across to Charlie Raglan, who sliced a volley inches wide of the post.
Nadesan had a huge chance to seal the deal when a brilliant run by Maguire-Drew ended with him finding Nadesan a few yards away from goal, but the Cheltenham defenders were on the scene quickly to thwart him, in the last action of a fantastic win for the Red Devils.
Crawley: Morris, McNerney, Powell, Nadesan, Davies, Nichols, Tunnicliffe, Matthews (Craig 87’), Tsaroulla, Tilley (Maguire-Drew 67’), Hessenthaler
Cheltenham: Griffiths, Long, Hussey, Tozer, Raglan, Thomas (Azaz 80’), May (Smith 70’), Blair, Williams (Vassilev 80’), Wright (Chapman 70’), Sercombe.