Crawley pull off famous win against Wolves

Matt Tubbs scores the matchwinner tonight. Picture by Tony Wood

Matt Tubbs scores the matchwinner tonight. Picture by Tony Wood

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Crawley toppled League One leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers in front of a record league crowd at the Checkatrade.com Stadium.

Wolves took the lead through James Henry against the run of play in the first half as they looked to extend a ten-game unbeaten run.

But Reds hit back immediately with two goals in the space of five minutes through Billy Clarke and Matt Tubbs to swing the game back in their favour.

Wolves put Crawley under intense pressure in the second half but Paul Jones made good saves from Henry and Bakary Sako to secure a famous win.

It is the third time this season that Reds have beaten a team at the top of the table having overcome Peterborough and Leyton Orient previously.

The result lifted them two places to 12th in the table, 12 points behind sixth placed Peterborough with three games in hand.

Crawley started the game well in a new 4-5-1 formation with Josh Simpson causing Wolves plenty of problems in an advanced midfield role.

Reds found it difficult to break down a Wolves defence which had kept eight clean sheets in their last ten games, however, and when then stunned when they fell behind against the run of play in the 25th minute.

There appeared little danger when Henry picked up the ball 30 yards from goal but nobody closed down the Wolves midfielder and his low drive caught Paul Jones out, the goalkeeper attempting to kick the ball away but only diverting it in off the underside of the bar.

That was harsh on Crawley but their response was immediate as they scored twice in four minutes to take the lead.

They were level within 72 seconds as Tubbs set up Simpson inside the area and although the Reds skipper was closed down the ball fell kindly to Clarke to fire into an unguarded net from six yards.

It was only the second goal Wolves had conceded in their last nine games but the visitors were picking the ball out of the back of the net again in the 31st minute.

Clarke lifted a lovely ball over the defence for Tubbs to run on to and he coolly lobbed his seventh goal of the season over the advancing Carl Ikeme.

Wolves boss Kenny Jackett responded by bringing on striker Leon Clarke for midfielder Michael Jacobs seven minutes before the interval and switching from 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 formation.

It almost paid instant dividends as Clarke broke away only to be denied superbly by Paul Jones with Henry wastefully putting the rebound over the bar from eight yards.

Jones produced an even better save five minutes after the interval, diving full stretch to tip a low shot from Henry around a post.

The Reds keeper had to be alert again in the 68th minute to push away a snapshot from Bakary Sako which was arrowing inside his near post from 25 yards.

Jones also saved from Clarke in injury time but Reds had chances to wrap up the win when Simpson’s clever flick from a low Jamie Proctor cross rolled agonisingly wide.

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