Fulham sink Crawley with first half double strike

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Crawley Town went down 2-0 to Fulham in their third pre-season friendly.

Goals from Kostas Stafylidis and Hugo Rodallega in the space of three first half minutes decided a fairly even contest against a strong Cottagers line-up.

Reds worked hard in stifling temperatures but were unable to break down the Fulham defence having plundered 19 goals in their opening two friendlies against Billingshurst and Oakwood.

The closest they came was when Izale McLeod brought a good save out of Jesse Joronen while trialist Bobson Bawling also went close.

Crawley began brightly in a 4-4-1-1 formation featuring Josh Simpson in an advanced midfield role but Fulham slowly gained the ascendancy.

Brian Jensen produced two good saves to deny Cauley Woodrow and Lass Vigen Christiansen while at the other end Izale McLeod put his header wide after being picked out by a lovely cross from Conor Henderson.

Fulham were enjoying plenty of room down their left flank and it was full-back Stafalydis that gave them the lead in the 32nd minute.

Christiansen rolled a ball into his path on the left edge of the box and the Greece international drove a low shot inside the far post.

Stafylidis was involved again three minutes later as Fulham doubled their advantage. The on-loan Bayer Leverkusen defender sent in a low cross which presented Rodallega with a simple tap in from eight yards.

Fulham made four changes at half-time while Crawley introduced goalkeeper Raphael Spiegel for his debut following his loan signing from West Ham yesterday.

Both teams made further regular substitutions throughout the second half – Crawley making ten in total with only Jimmy Smith playing the entire 90 minutes - as the game lost the rhythm it had in the opening 45 minutes.

McLeod tested Marcus Bettinelli with a low shot while trialist Bobson Bawling almost scored with his first touch as he stretched to turn a cross from Simpson narrowly wide.

Fulham went closer to adding to their lead as Moussa Dembele headed over from a corner and then crashed a shot onto the underside of the bar from close range.

Reds almost nicked a consolation near the end when trialist Emmett O’Connor sent a dipping shot from 25 yards just over the bar.

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