Oxford Utd 1 Crawley Town 1: Edwards earns Reds a point from opening game

Oxford Utd V Crawley Town - Gwion Edwards scores for Crawley (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150808-181407002
Oxford Utd V Crawley Town - Gwion Edwards scores for Crawley (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150808-181407002
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A second half goal by Gwion Edwards earned Crawley Town a draw from their opening game of the season at Oxford United.

The Wales under-21 international headed home to give Reds the lead 12 minutes into the second half.

DM151011a.jpg Crawley Town FC team, August 2015. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150408-224942008

DM151011a.jpg Crawley Town FC team, August 2015. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-150408-224942008

But the goal was soon cancelled out through an equaliser eight minutes later by Oxford’s Danny Hylton.

The game was played at the impressive Kassam Stadium whose large pitch has been reduced is size to assist his players at the instruction of manager Michael Appleton.

It was played out in hot conditions 26 degrees which makes a welcome change for fans more used to colder weather, but was hard going for the players.

Mark Yates handed debuts to seven new signings plus a second debut to Luke Rooney who is back for his second spell.

Against the run of play Edwards nodded Reds into the lead after 57 minutes when he got on the end of a ball headed on from a Deacon ball.”

Crawley Observer sports editor Graham Carter

Freddie Woodman, Simon Walton, Joe McNerney, Lee Barnard, Jon Ashton, Roarie Deacon and Liam Donnelly all put on a Crawley shirt for the first time in a competitive match.

Lee Barnard played up front on his own and another new signing, Belgian Bryan Van Den Bogaert was left out having joined the club 24 hours earlier, with international clearance not have come through.

Captain Sonny Bradley switched from his regular position of centre back to fill in at left-back.

The first half was all Oxford with the home side dominating possession but the Reds defence managed to block a succession of attacking moves.

Crawley had an early header cleared off the line by Danny Hylton from a move involving Ashton and Barnard.

Simon Walton had to briefly go off with a head injury, leaving Crawley down to ten men for a short time but soon returned with a bandage around his head.

Oxford’s best chance came on the half hour when Kemar Roofe forced keeper Woodman to make a diving save.

At the end of a quiet first half for Crawley, Rooney struck a dangerous free-kick into the area which Oxford’s defence cleared.

At half-time Conor Henderson replaced the bandaged Walton in central defence.

From the first attack after the break, Alex MacDonald put Roofe throough for a shot which he pulled wide of the post.

Against the run of play Edwards nodded Reds into the lead after 57 minutes when he got on the end of a ball headed on from a Deacon ball.

Oxford brought on fresh legs upfront in the form of striker Patrick Hobden who replaced former Portsmouth forward Ryan Taylor, who had made his debut.

Oxford then equlised in the 65th minute when Rpse curled a ball into the path of Hylton who netted simply from short-range.

Woodman saved to deny an effort by Roofe again as the game syaed even until the final whsitle.

REDS: Woodman, Walton (Henderson 46), McNerney, Bradley (Capt), Edwards, Smith, Barnard (Harold 69), Rooney, Ashton, Deacon (Young 69), Donnelly

Unused subs: Preston, Fenelon, Bawling, Harold

OXFORD: Slocombe, Baldock, Skarz, Roofe, Mullins, Wright (Capt), Rose (Ruffels 80), Sercombe, Hylton, MacDonald (O’Dowda 77), Taylor (Hoban 61)

Unused subs: Crocombe, Long, Ashby, Dunkley

REFEREE: Jeremy Simpson

ATTENDANCE: 6,349 (299 away)

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