Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Clarke stunner earns Crawley dramatic win
Billy Clarke fired home a stunning winner as Crawley came from behind to win an incident packed game against Gillingham at Checkatrade.com Stadium.
Reds looked in trouble when they fell behind to a Danny Kedwell penalty a minute after half-time and then had Gary Alexander sent off.
The game turned on its head when Gillingham were also reduced to ten men with the dismissal of Charlie Lee and Kyle McFadzean equalised from the resulting free kick.
Clarke gave Reds the lead but Gillingham punished more sloppy defending from the home side to equalise through Leon Legge.
Crawley got the win they deserved thanks to a moment of magic from Clarke as he lashed home an unstoppable shot from 20 yards to lift Richie Barker's side into sixth place in League One.
Crawley dominated the first half against a Gillingham side happy to defend in numbers and try to nick something on the break.
The tactic was pretty effective too as despite enjoying the majority of possession and camping inside the Gills half for long periods Reds were unable to carve out many clear-cut chances.
An early goal would have changed the game entirely but Gary Alexander could not get a touch to a teasing low cross from Nicky Adams and when the ball was whipped back in by Andy Drury it deflected over the bar.
Adams had a chance to open the scoring after 16 minutes when an attempted clearance by Bradley Dack hit one of his team-mates and fell to the Crawley winger but his effort was blocked.
Stuart Nelson was comfortably the busier of the two goalkeepers in the opening 45 minutes and made three important stops to keep the score level.
First he blocked a header from Alexander after he was found unmarked at the far post by James Hurst and then he did well to claw away a shot from Billy Clarke following a mistake by Adam Barrett.
The best of the three saves was to come, however, as Nelson reacted quickly to get down and keep out a well-struck shot from Adams at his near post.
At the other end Paul Jones’s only action was to keep out a shot from Adebayo Akinfenwa which came straight at him from 20 yards.
After a rather dull first half the game exploded into life immediately after the interval with two goals and two red cards in the space of nine minutes.
Gillingham won a penalty within a minute when Danny Kedwell was tripped in the area by Mark Connolly. Kedwell smashed the spot kick into the roof of the net.
The situation became worse for Reds five minutes later when Alexander was shown a straight red card after tangling with Leon Legge near the far touchline.
The numerical advantage only last three minutes, though, as Charlie Lee was shown a second yellow card for bringing down Adams.
Reds rubbed salt in the wounds by equalising from the resulting free kick. The ball was pulled back by Andy Drury and although Clarke failed to make proper contact with his header the ball fell to McFadzean to rifle a volley into the top corner.
The game was completely turned on its head in the 65th minute as Crawley took the lead. Adams curled a free kick against the post and the ball rebounded straight to Clarke to stab home.
Gillingham came roaring back to equalise four minutes later. Adams lost possession on the left and Dack drove in a low cross which Legge bundled home from close range.
Nelson denied Crawley a third with saves from Andy Drury and Josh Simpson but could do nothing about Clarke’s winning goal.
The Irishman picked up the ball 45 yards out, ran at the Gills defence before firing a stunning shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.
Reds pressed for a fourth goal to wrap up the points and Nelson had to save from Adams and Simpson in quick succession.
The precarious nature of Crawley’s lead was highlighted with four minutes to go when McFadzean headed against his own post with Paul Jones reacting smartly to punch the rebound to safety.
Comments are closed on this article.