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Neilson strikes as Crawley clinch promotion
Crawley have been promoted to League One.
A 1-0 victory at Accrington Stanley on the final day was enough to clinch the final automatic promotion place in League Two.
Scott Neilson scored the decisive goal midway through the second half to render Southend's 2-0 win at home to Macclesfield irrelevant and spark wild celebrations from the 631 travelling supporters at the Crown Ground.
The result justified a major gamble by caretaker boss Craig Brewster as he made five changes to the side which lost 3-0 at home to Hereford the previous weekend.
The one that raised the most eyebrows was the inclusion of striker John Akinde for only his eight start of the season in place of Billy Clarke.
Dean Howell, Michel Kuipers and Charlie Wassmer all paid the price for poor performances against Hereford as they dropped out, with Wassmer and Howell not even included on the bench.
Scott Shearer got the nod in goal for his first appearance since suffering a serious knee injury nine weeks ago while Warren Cummings took over at left-back.
There was also a recall for David Hunt for the first time since breaking a bone in his foot against Stoke City in the FA Cup in February. He came in at right-back with Josh Simpson pushing into midfield and Kyle McFadzean dropping into the centre of defence.
Scott Neilson replaced Scott Davies on the right of midfield in what represented a big gamble on the part of Brewster.
Shearer was called straight into action as Stanley made a positive start. The Reds keeper smothered an effort from Marcus Carver after he had skipped past a weak challenge from Wayne Cummings inside the opening two minutes.
He then stuck out a leg to deny top scorer Padraig Amond who had beaten McFadzean for pace and from the resulting corner saved Michael Liddle's header.
Reds were on the back foot for the majority of the opening 20 minutes but the visiting fans were given something to get excited about when Akinde fired a shot inches over from 20 yards.
The home side were causing plenty of problems from corners and twice went close to scoring from Jamie Devitt deliveries. Carver glanced the first narrowly wide of the far post while Hunt was perfectly positioned to clear Amond's effort off the line just before the interval.
Reds had a glorious opportunity to take the lead right on the stroke of half-time when Simpson played in Neilson but the midfielder lashed his shot past the far post when he should at least have hit the target.
Crawley would have learned that Southend were winning against Macclesfield during the break and they began the second half with more urgency.
Gary Alexander had a good chance to break the deadlock when he headed wide from Hunt's cross and then Akinde smashed a shot off target from ten yards.
Reds continued to crank up the pressure and went agonisingly close three times in the space of four minutes.
McFadzean's header from a Neilson corner was touched over by Dunbavin who then got enough on Akinde's powerful shot to turn it on to the bar. From the resulting corner another header from McFadzean was cleared off the line by Craig Lindfield.
The goal had to come and it finally arrived in the 67th minute. A long ball from McFadzean dropped nicely for Neilson who did well to control before turning and firing a low shot inside the post.
The goal sent the away fans into raptures and they sang for the entirety of the remaining 23 minutes.
They had few nervous moments during that period as Crawley were happy to control the game without really pushing for a second.