Crawley slump to defeat at Oldham

Rory Fallon gets in a slide tackle

Rory Fallon gets in a slide tackle

First published in Sport
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Crawley were unable to follow up their famous victory against Wolves in midweek as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at struggling Oldham Athletic.

Reds looked a shadow of the team which had toppled the leaders as they went down to a solitary goal from Danny Philliskirk in the first half.

The visitors only really got going after half-time but Paul Rachubka was only called into serious action once to save from a Billy Clarke volley.

The result means Reds remain in 12th place in League One, 12 points outside the play-off zone.

Crawley were bidding for a third successive win for the first time this season but struggled to reproduce the tempo that helped them beat Wolves in their previous outing.

James Wesolowski tested Paul Jones after just five minutes with a stinging shot from 20 yards which the Reds goalkeeper pushed away.

Jones was powerless to prevent the hosts taking the lead in the 18th minute as Crawley were caught on the break.

The visitors did get men back behind the ball as it was worked to Philliskirk in the area but the striker twisted past his marker to fire a shot inside the far post from 12 yards.

It was no more than the hosts deserved and they could easily have extended their lead before half-time as they dominated the opening 45 minutes.

David Worrall squirted a shot inches wide on the turn after some more sloppy defending by Reds and then a combination of Joe Walsh and then Paul Jones kept out efforts from Gary Harkins and Jonson Clarke-Harris just before the break.

Boss John Gregory reacted to Crawley’s woeful display in the first half by making a double change during the interval. Jamie Proctor replaced the ineffective Sullay Kaikai up front with Paul Connolly coming on for Mark Connolly at right-back.

Whatever the Reds boss said at half-time certainly had an effect as the visitors looked a lot more lively in the second half.

Paul Rachubka was forced into his first serious action of the game after 56 minutes when he got down well to save a volley from Billy Clarke which was headed inside the far post.

Reds continued to dominate in terms of possession without being able to open Oldham up. Joe Walsh went close from a corner while Mike Jones saw a shot deflected wide but otherwise the hosts were able to keep Crawley at bay.

Oldham twice came close to wrapping it up in the final ten minutes with substitute James Dayton having an shot blocked on the line and then Paul Connolly denying Clarke-Harris what looked a certain goal with a last-ditch tackle.

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