Crawley Town beat West Ham u23s 2-1 in fast-paced pre-season friendly in front of 1,478 crowd

Sam Ashford was the match winner for Crawlley Town as they beat West Ham u23s 2-1 at The People's Pension Stadium.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 6:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 6:48 am

A Trialist’s first half header was cancelled out by Nevers’ powerful strike. However, substitute Ashford was the hero as his late goal saw Crawley win.

Crawley were well on top in the first half as a combination of slick short passing and runs in behind caused the young West Ham side a lot of trouble.

Sam Ashford celebrates his winner. Picture by Jamie Evans/UK Sports Images Ltd

Crawley’s high intensity was shown early on as Powell tried to find Nichols in behind from a quick free kick but he couldn’t quite get on the end of the clever ball.

They looked to not give West Ham any time on the ball with a high press and it worked well as they won the ball back often and looked to counter quickly mainly through the outlet of Nadesan.

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However, Morris was spared his blushes early on as his miss-hit clearance found Okoflex who’s attempted chip was far too long. West Ham struggled in the first half but they found some joy down their left-hand side as Longelo looked to provide overlaps.

Crawley looked to capitalise on their early pressure as Tyler Frost latched onto Morris’ long goal-kick, cut inside past two men before his tame shot found the gloves of the West Ham keeper.

Crawley’s strong pressure paid off 10 minutes in as Matthews’ tempting corner was spilled by the Keeper and Triallist got up well to head into an empty net.

In attack Crawley looked slick and quick with one touch passing mixed with long balls over the top utilising Nadesan’s electric pace. Set-pieces looked especially dangerous with Crawley heads getting on 4 or 5 well placed corners from Matthews and Powell.

Later in the half West Ham grew into the game with faster passing looking to get balls in from overlapping wing backs. But Crawley defended well getting out quickly on the wings to block the crosses that came in. Triallist looked especially strong commanding balls in the air and on the ground.

At the end of the half Matthews showed good footwork to nutmeg Longelo and drive into the box before playing a ball to the edge of the six-yard box where Nadesan had his shot well blocked.

The half time whistle saw Crawley go into the break with an impressive and deserved one goal lead.

After the break West Ham seemed to play with a different intensity caused by four substitutions. Most important of these was Pierre Ekwah who broke up Crawley’s play well and showed extraordinary range of passing to put West Ham on the offensive.

West Ham put Crawley under plenty of early pressure especially down the left-hand side as Okoflex looked to take on Davies and put crosses into the box. On multiple occasions in the second half, he saw his whipped crosses beat everyone in the box. This pressure nearly told as Okoflex had his pass deflected into the path of Chesters forcing Craig into a smart clearance.

Crawley had no answer for West Ham early in the second half with the young side winning the ball back well as Chester robbed Trialist and broke down the right wing before lashing a whipped ball across the box which needed Morris to deal with it.

West Ham played with far greater width in the second half from Okoflex and Ashby causing Crawley’s defence to look stretched at times. Nevers looked dangerous as he ran in behind tony craig and saw his one-on-one attempt role just wide of the post. Once again West Ham looked to attack down the right-hand side, Forson’s shot requiring a good save from Morris, However, the ball was not cleared leading to Nevers striking past Morris with a wicked shot.

He could have made it two a minute later as once again he got in behind the Red’s defence before his shot was tipped round the post by Morris. West Ham continued to dominate throughout the second half with Chesters finding increasing freedom in his number 10 role finding a good ball through to Ashby who’s shot could only find the side netting.

However, Crawley struck back late on, Frost showing his pace by striding down the left wing, cutting inside and playing a lovely weighted ball to Matthews who saw his curling effort go just past the post.

The second half substitute of Ashford and Trialist up front worked well with a good combination of strength and pace. Trialist’s strength won a corner which Powell characteristically whipped in before Nichols flicked just over.

Late on Powell picked up the ball in space on the right wing before floating a cross into a dangerous area. Whilst it was initially dealt with it fell to Nichols who lashed an effort straight at the keeper. The rebound fell to Sam Ashford who showed quick feet in the six-yard box before poking through the keeper’s legs.

This was enough to see Crawley end 2-1 winners in an action pact game. Manager John Yemms will be happy to see his team playing at a good intensity both on the attack and in defence with a strong press.

Crawley XI: Morris, Davies, Trialist, Craig, Dallison, Powell, Hessenthaler, Matthews, Frost, Nichols, Nadesan

SUBS: Trialist, Trialist, Payne, Rodari, Ashford, Noukeu, Trialist

Attendance: 1,478