Late Tomlin goal gives Crawley victory at Swindon

Crawley Town's Lee Fowler (Pic by Jon & Joe Rigby) PPP-150131-181143004
Crawley Town's Lee Fowler (Pic by Jon & Joe Rigby) PPP-150131-181143004

A late Gavin Tomlin winner gave Crawley Town a vital three points away at third placed Swindon this afternoon.

The Reds man expertly smashed home via the underside of the bar with two minutes remaining to give the away side a 2-1 victory in League One.

It secured back-to-back victories for Dean Saunders’ men and sent Swindon to their third consecutive defeat, although just their third at home all season.

The victory was crucial for Reds to keep pace in the relegation battle with victories for Colchester and Leyton Orient and draws for Coventry and Yeovil.

Defender Richard Wood, who signed a month-loan deal with Reds yesterday from Rotherham, was handed a start at centre-back with Darren Ward unable to play against his parent club.

Marvin Elliott also missed out with a hamstring injury with Gavin Tomlin coming in for the midfielder and he played wide right as Reds line-up in a 4-4-2.

The visitors made the dream start as they took the lead in the fifth minute after some great running from Gwion Edwards.

He picked up the ball in midfielder, jinxed out wide and drove down the wing before delivering a low-cut back to the penalty spot, which the sliding Anthony Wordworth put past an outstreched Wes Foderingham.

Immediately back down the other end, Swindon looked to respond as John Swift curled a 20-yard free-kick narrowly wide.

The hosts had plenty of possession after that, but failed to find a way through a solid Crawley back line.

Lewis Price’s first call of action came on 20 minutes when he comfortably held a Yaser Kasim effort from range.

In a rare venture forwards from a Price free-kick, the ball fell to Edwards just outside the area and his dipping effort went just over the bar.

On the stroke of half-time, a good through ball put Andy Williams in, but he couldn’t get a good enough connection on his effort and Price was down to make a simple stop.

Swindon came up with renewed vigour after the break and had a golden chance to level on 50 minutes.

A deep Nathan Byrne cross found an unmarked Williams at the far post, but he appeared to be caught in two minds and tapped the ball to a greatful Price.

The hosts levelled three minutes before the hour-mark from a counter-attack after Izale McLeod was causing problems at the other end.

Jack Stephens put a through ball into Williams’ path on the right of the box and he neatly tucked past Price for his 20th goal of the season.

The dangerous Byrne was causing Reds problems down the left and his deep cross was headed just wide at the far post by Swift on 72 minutes.

Five minutes later a well-worked move saw the ball shifted across the Crawley box and Ben Gladwin’s effort from the left was bundled wide by Price.

Byrne’s cross-shot flashed over Price and across the face of goal on 83 minutes, but no-one was on hand to touch the ball home for Swindon.

But it was to be a smash and grab at the other end for Reds as Ryan Dickson’s long free-kick found an unmarked Tomlin who drilled home.

The visitors saw out a nervy five minutes of added time to move to within a point of safety.

Crawley: Price, Dickson, Bradley, Woods, Young, Edwards, Wordsworth, Fowler, Pogba (Bawling 86), Tomlin (Smith 89), McLeod (Harrold 89). Unused subs: Dutton, Bawling, Anderson, O’Connor, Morgan.

Swindon: Foderingham, Stephens, N.Thompson, Turnbull, Byrne, Kasim, Gladwin, Swift, Toffolo (L.Thompson 45), Williams, Smith (Hylton 78). Unused subs: Belford, Barthram, Branco, Rodgers, Obika.

Attendance: 7,692 (154 away).