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Late goal sees Crawley slip to another away defeat
Crawley Town’s problems on the road continued as they went down to a late goal at Bradford City.
Substitute Gary Thompson bundled home from a corner with four minutes to go to condemn Reds to their fifth defeat in their last six away games.
Crawley had fallen behind six minutes into the second half when Aaron McLean caught the defence napping to score on the counter-attack.
Jamie Proctor looked to have earned John Gregory’s side a point when he came off the bench to equalise in the 66th minute only for Reds to be punished for more sloppy defending.
Gregory made two changes to the side which lost 1-0 at Notts County on Easter Monday with skipper Josh Simpson returning from injury and Dannie Bulman restored to the starting line-up.
Gregory also switched to a 4-4-1-1 formation – with Simpson in the advanced midfield role – which had worked so effectively in the home win over Wolves.
Neither team had anything left to play for except pride and that was clear to see from a dismal first half devoid of any quality or passion.
Matt Tubbs had an early sight of goal for Crawley but otherwise Reds did not look like creating anything as passes went astray at regular intervals.
Bradford were not much better and their best two chances came from set-pieces, Rory McArdle heading straight at Paul Jones and Mark Yeates curling a 20-yard effort just wide.
The game was in desperate need of a goal and it arrived five minutes after the interval as Reds were caught out on the counter-attack.
Kyle McFadzean had a shot saved after Jon McLaughlin had flapped at a corner but from the resulting clearance downfield McLean raced clear to fire past Paul Jones.
Gregory responded by bringing on Sergio Torres and Proctor for Gary Dicker and Mike Jones while switching to a 4-4-2 formation.
It had the desired effect as Reds levelled in the 66th minute, Proctor racing on to a ball over the top from McFadzean before coolly lobbing the advancing McLaughlin into an empty net.
Proctor continued to cause the Bradford defence problems and set up Matt Tubbs for one effort at goal which the striker sliced well wide.
Paul Jones looked like he had earned Crawley a point when he saved from Thompson at his near post but from the resulting corner Thompson forced the ball home from close range.
Bradford (4-4-2): McLaughlin; Darby, Davies, McArdle (McHugh, 59), Drury; De Vita (Bennett, 69), Doyle, Jones, Yeates; Stead, McLean (Thompson, 62). Subs not used: Jameson, Meredith, Dolan, McBurnie.
Crawley (4-4-1-1): P Jones; M Connolly, McFadzean, Walsh, Sadler; M Jones, Bulman, Dicker (Torres, 57), M Jones (Proctor, 57); Simpson; Tubbs. Subs not used: Maddison, Essam, Fallon, Richefond, Isaacs.
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