Crawley Town v Crewe Alexandra: Lubala makes it four in four but Reds are defeated

Ashley Nathaniel-George was back in the starting line-up for Crawley Town. Picture by Joe Peplar
Ashley Nathaniel-George was back in the starting line-up for Crawley Town. Picture by Joe Peplar

Bez Lubala made it four goals in four games as Crawley Town but Gabriele Cioffi's men lost 2-1 to Crewe Alexandra at The People's Pension Stadium on Tuesday night.

Crawley came into the game two points and six points behind David Artell's side and Gaby Cioffi made four changes to the side drew 2-2 with Scunthorpe United on Saturday bringing in Ollie Palmer, Josh Doherty, Josh Payne, who skippered the side, and Ashley Nathaniel-George.

Crewe made one change with Nicky Hunt comin for the suspended Olly Lancashire.

Both sides looked like they wanted to play from the start and a clever corner routine in the first minute from the visitors was bundled wide before a good attack involving Panutche Camara, Palmer and Nathaniel-George before the latter's low cross was blocked.

Then two stunning stops denied the visitors an opening goal. First Charlie Kirk had the goal at his mercy but his fierce drive was blocked by Jordan Tunnicliffe's head on the line before Glenn Morris pulled off a superb low save at the near post from a Daniel Powell shot.

After another good save from Morris, Crawley grew into the game and a clever leave by Nadesan let Bez Lubala through and a nice nice touch set himself up to place the ball past Will Jaaskelainen in Crewe goal to give the Reds the lead.

Crewe still looked dangerous on the attack with Powell looking the most likely and on 23 minutes he just fired wide from a tight angle. But on the half hour Crewe got the goal they deserved. Another cross from the right started the move and found Kirk at the back post. Clever play from him found Ryan Wintle 18 yards out who drove hard and low into the bottom corner.

The Reds nearly hit back straight away but Payne's effort from distance just went over the bar. Nathaniel-George then had a swing and miss from a superb Doherty cross.

Lubala had a chance to make it five in four just before the break after great work by Nathaniel-George and David Sesay, but this time he was off target.

Cioffi made two changes at half-time, bringing on Reece Grego-Cox and Nathan Ferguson on for Nathaniel-George and Nadesan which left Palmer up top on his own supported by Grego-Cox and Ferguson.

There was no needle in the game but Lubala was booked for a late challenge on Tom Lowery, the first booking of the game.

The next goal was key and unfortunately for Crawley it went to the visitors after Charlie Kirk's cross was headed home by Paul Green. But Reds heads did not drop and it could have 1-1 just minutes later when Palmer's header from Grego-Cox's xross was stopped on the line by Eddie Nolan.

Crawley dominated for a period after the goal but a series of corners came to nothing for Cioffi's men as they started to build momentum for the first time in the match.

It all started to get a bit messy after this and the crowd were getting frustrated by Crewe's streetwise tactics as one player after another went down for attention.

Crawley started to really put under pressure in the last 15 minutes but they lacked the killer final ball. Grego-Cox showed real intent down the right and Palmer put himself about to cause problems for the visiting defense but it was not to be and it was a second defeat of the season for Cioffi's men.

Crawley Town: Glenn Morris, Josh Doherty, Josh Payne, Tom Dallison, Ollie Palmer, Ashley Nadesan, Ashley Nathaniel-George, David Sesay, Jordan Tunnicliffe, Panutche Camara. Subs: Michael Luyambula, Josh Dacres-Cogley, Reece Grego-Cox, Filipe Morais, Dannie Bulman, Nathan Ferguson, Brian Galach.

Crewe Alexandra: Will Jaaskelainen, Perry Ng, Harry Pickering, Ryan Wintle, Eddie Nolan, Daniel Powell, Chris Porter, Charlie Kirk, Paul Green, Nicky Hunt, Tom Lowery. Subs: Dave Richards, James Jones, Callum Ainley, Oli Finney, Owen Dale, Josh Lundstram, Lewis Reilly.