Crawley 1 Fulham 3
Fulham proved a much sterner test in this the Red Devils second pre-season match as predicted with the visitors fielding most of their first team squad with the exception of Paul Parker and Patrick Roberts whose transfer to Manchester City was completed yesterday.
Crawley Town fielded only three trialists in their lineup striker Roarie Deacon partnering Izale McLeod up front. Current Wolves youth defender Ben O’Hanlon played at left back while Callum Preston continued in goal.
Although the Red Devils were generally out played throughout the 90 minutes, there were signs of optimism for the home supporters with the way they played and the work rate over the match. The three goals that the visitors scored were from defensive lapses and the defenders will learn from this, the performance from Joe McNerney was encouraging considering the stepping up to a higher standard, he wasn’t one of the defenders at fault for the goals.
The Red devils had the first real chance when a mistake by the keeper allowed Crawley to win the ball deep in the Fulham half, Deacons shot cannoned off the cross bar to safety with the keeper beaten. Tom Cairney opened the scoring for the visitors on 15 minutes when Sonny Bradley failed to clear the ball from a corner, however, 2 minutes later the Red Devils were back on terms which was when Izale Mcleod was brought down in the area and referee Robinson pointed to the penalty spot, Izale made no mistake and scored his 3rd goal in two games. Matt Smith hit the crossbar and Scotland international Ross McCormack’s follow-up was disallowed because of a foul on the keeper.
Former Spurs and Wolves player Jamie O’Hara had a shot saved by Preston. But in added time in the first half, Fulham took the lead again by Jazz Richards on a counter attack firing the ball past Callum Preston.
Both Crawley and Fulham made changes during the second half which disrupted the flow of the game, but Crawley played some neat passing football putting the Cottagers on the back foot in at times. Again Deacon forced a fine save at point-blank range from keeper Bettinelli. Luke Rooney who was always available and wanting the ball in midfield and put in Edwards in, his shot was blocked and cleared away by the visitor’s defense. Former Manchester United’s Andy Cole son Larnell was causing the home defense some problems with his speed and trickery; he put in Adam Taggart who went close for the visitors at the back post. Fulham completed the scoring in stoppage-time when an un-cleared corner was hit home by Donnelly.
The attendance was encouraging as well with just over 2200, turning up for this match – this all bodes well for the forth coming season, most of the Red Devils fans went home happy, see their team give a good overall performance against a very strong opposition.
Red Devils: Preston, O’Hanlon (Fitzpatrick 45), McNerney (Sessegnon 80), Bradley (Ashton 59), Bawling (Boateng 65), Walton (Fenelon 65), Rooney (Young 65), Smith (Brister 80), Edwards (Barker 65), Deacon (Barnard 65), McLeod (Harrold 65)
Fulham: Bettinelli, Richards, Kavanagh, Hutchinson, Bodurov, O’Hara, Kacaniklic, Cairney, Christensen, McCormack, M Smith Subs: Lonergan, Grimmer, Burgess, Donnelly, Hyndman, Pringle, Tunnicliffe, Cole, Taggart, Woodrow
Next up at the Checkatrade.com Stadium is another Championship side, Brighton and Hove Albion are the visitors this Wednesday evening with the 7.45pm kick off. Brighton started the pre-season campaign on Saturday with a 0 – 0 draw with local Sussex side Lewes. Tickets are available for this match now and on the day.
On the playing front, Manager Yates is likely to offer Callum Preston a contract which is tantamount of his displays in the two matches he has played, but the manager has ended his interest in both Ben O’Halon and Ryan Richford who have both now
“CHT Sports Reporter”
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