Corinthan Casuals 1 Crawley Down Gatwick 1: Top two finish with honours even in Trophy clash

Crawley Down Gatwick FC  (Pic by Jon Rigby)
Crawley Down Gatwick FC (Pic by Jon Rigby)
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Crawley Down shaded their biggest game of the season so far as the top-two sides in the Ryman South met in the FA Trophy.

An absorbing end-to-end contest kept both sets of fans on the edge of their seats until the end as the Anvils came back from going a goal behind to force a replay.

Ryman South leaders Casuals went in front in only the eighth minute when Malachi Hudson crossed the ball into the box from the left and in the melee that preceeded, wideman Jamil Okai poked the ball home.

Casuals started to put the Anvils under pressure with Okai again bringing out the best in Anvils’ keeper Kieron Thorp.

The Anvils then started to get a toehold on the game, with Carey putting a free-kick well over.

A neat build-up between Cousins and Tom Bold ended in Bold being brought down in the box. In a repeat of the Burgess Hill game in midweek, Carey placed his penalty to the left of the keeper and bring the Anvils back into contention.

With the added impetus of the goal the Anvils started to take over the running of the game with first Dapo Kayode having a long shot at goal followed by another which keeper Kieran Sanderson held at the second attempt.

The best Anvil chance came ten minutes before half-time when Gary Holloway put in a fierce cross that had Cousins sliding in at the far post but was unable to make contact.

For the Casuals a Malik Quani charge down the middle was diverted for a corner which when taken caused plenty of activity before being cleared off the Anvil goalline, with the clock running down Casuals’ leaders Sol Patterson-Bonner than slammed a Hudson corner over the bar.

With both sides out to avoid a possible replay the game started well for the Anvils with Breach heading over a Kayode centre, however Bold was booked and shortly after another Anvil penalty appeal went unanswered.

Yet again Breach went near from another Carey free-kick, as the hosts struggled to get through a superb Anvil rearguard in which newcomer Owen Roberts stood out.

On the hour Casuals bought on the much travelled Conner French and he immediately made his mark, with first a fierce cross followed by a rasping shot which Thorp punched clear, and again on 75 minutes a snap shot inside the box bringing the excellent Thorp to his knees, both sides still chased the game with several more incidents but with no further additions to the scoreboard.

Down: Thorp, Roberts, Farrell, Carey, Holness, Breach, Bold, Holloway, Rivers. Cousins (Fox), Kayode.

Unused subs: Hills, Eason, Frankland, Elson.

Attendance: 93

Man of the Match:

Owen Roberts