Sam Ashford thinks Crawley would have beaten Harrogate with 11 men - 'It's a little bit annoying but that's football'

Crawley Town striker Sam Ashford said last night's 2-2 draw against Harrogate was a 'really good' point in the circumstances — but there remained an element of frustration.

Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 9:33 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 9:42 am
Crawley striker Sam Ashford scored in the 2-2 draw against Harrogate on Tuesday evening. Photo: Getty Images

The Reds were leading 2-1 at half-time, after quickfire goals from Joel Lynch and Ashford completed a remarkable turn-around minutes before the break.

However, key defender Lynch picked up an injury and wasn't able to return for the second half. John Yems had already used his only defensive option on the bench — Archie Davies — to replace George Francomb, who picked up an injury early on.

Forward Ashley Nadesan was the man to come on, with most of the players then forced to play in makeshift positions.

Things were made even more difficult when Nadesan saw red moments after Davies' own goal had brought Harrogate level.

Against the odds, Crawley restricted the high-flying visitors to relatively few chances and sealed a valuable point. See how we rated the players here"With eleven men, I think we probably would have got the winner," said Ashford, whose fine first-half finish was his first league goal of the season.

"It's frustrating as I do think we probably would have gone on and got the three points.

"It's a little bit annoying but that's football.

"We were playing with ten men for the majority of the second half [so] a point is really good to hold on to at the end especially.

"We are pretty happy with that."

On the red card, which came after Nadesan and Harrogate's Connor Hall locked heads in a heated exchange, Ashford said he wasn't blaming his teammate.

He said: "It's one of those things that happen in football, it wasn't necessarily Nadderz's fault."

Things could also have been different if Lynch was fit enough to continue in the second-half.

Everyone associated with Crawley, including Ashford, is hoping the injury the experienced defender picked up wasn't serious.

"He has come in and looked really solid," Ashford said.

"It's just what you want from your centre-half really.

"I'm just gutted for him, hopefully he's not out for too long. He's been absolutely quality since he's come in."

Ashford, 25, said the way a depleted Reds side handled the second-half dilemma 'shows just how strong we can be'.

He added: "The boys are playing well out of position.

"Archie [Dvaies] playing at centre-half is mental when you think about it. He's been in a great shift, same for Jake [Hessenthaler] at right-back.

"We just had to sit in, weather it out, and see if we can nick something on the counter attack. It's a solid point in the end."

The striker also praised the contribution of the home support, who were in fine voice all night — even when Harrogate scored their second.

Ashford said: "Last season was my first professional season and it was without fans.

"Now I am realising how good it is with fans, they can literally carry you through the whole game.

"They were quality the whole way though. It's just a shame we couldn't quite get the three points."