Cheltenham clash was just the sort Crawley Town love

Crawley Town again showed their liking for top notch opposition as they took all three points in a clash with the league leaders Cheltenham Town.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 7:30 am
Jordan Maguire-Drew celebrates the only goal of Crawley's clash with Cheltenham / Picture: Jamie Evans - UK Sports Images

Their win on Friday night in a match rescheduled because of the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh may have surprised neutral fans but not many Reds supporters. It was just the sort of fixture they revel in.

The closely contested match was settled by a welcome debut goal for January arrival Jordan Maguire-Drew who scored off a post after 77 minutes when set up by Tom Nichols. The goal was a killer as both defences had controlled the game and the Robins got very little change out of Crawley’s back line, who kept their third clean sheet in a row.

The winning goal was all the more welcome as Crawley had failed to profit from two earlier golden chances. The first had fallen to Ashley Nadesan who had wriggled away from his marker but scooped the ball over the bar after gliding past the emerging keeper. In the second half Cheltenham’s Sean Long played an inexplicable back pass to Tom Nichols (who was otherwise yards offside) but the skipper couldn’t turn and control the ball before he was closed down.

These two squandered chances might have been serious black marks on the strikers’ records were it not for their redoubtable efforts in the rest of the game. Nadesan had clashed heads with his marker and played the rest of the game sporting a natty red headband whilst the mercurial Nichols took plenty of punishment before gaining the last laugh with the assist for the winner.

As at Bradford City, the basis of the win was the superlative defensive work of centre-backs Jordan Tunnicliffe and Joe McNerney. And Nick Tsaroulla and Archie Davies continually threatened the visitors in their wing back roles and for my money they have done enough this year to merit being first choice in their positions.

They had plenty of work to do as the Robins are high scorers and this was recognised by Jack Powell who played a covering role in midfield where his creative abilities were limited. I would like to see the Reds’ playmaker spend more time in the opposition half but, like the mercurial Nichols, Powell loves to be where the action is and preferably behind the ball..

I am sure the Reds will relish Tuesday night’s game against Newport County, in which another win could bring a play-off place tantalisingly close.