Cheltenham Town 0 Crawley Town 1: Palmer heads Reds to opening day victory

Crawley Town FC. Ollie Palmer . Pic Steve Robards SR1820089 SUS-180731-115858001
Crawley Town FC. Ollie Palmer . Pic Steve Robards SR1820089 SUS-180731-115858001

A second half goal by new signing Ollie Palmer on his debut earned Crawley Town victory in their opening game of the season at Cheltenham.

Reds took the lead in the 63rd minute when former Lincoln City player Palmer rose highest for a corner kick and headed past Scott Flinders.

Cheltenham missed a penalty in the last 20 minutes when Kevin Mawson struck the crossbar.

Harry Kewell handed debuts to five new signings: Ollie Palmer up front, Dominic Poleon and Romain Vincelot as captain in midfield while Filipe Morais and George Francom were in defence.

Cheltenham also had a new look with manager Gary Johnson giving eight league debuts, including former Crawley loanee Liam McAlinden.

Crawley enjoyed a promising first half with Poleon (twice), Dannie Bulman, Vincelot, with a header, Josh Payne and Morais all going close to scoring.

For Cheltenham Manny Duku twice had chances, the second being denied by keeper Glenn Morris with a brilliant point-blank save, while Alex Addai had a shot deflected over the bar.

Reds had to make a clearance off the line after a long throw by Ben Tozer caused choas in the penalty area.

Robins’ ‘keeper Flinders was booked for bringing down Poleon on the edge of the box.

In the second half Lewis Young found Morias in the area but he could not strike the ball cleantly and it flew off-target.

Vincelot accidentally passed to Muku’s lofted shot was well wide.

Duku headed Broom’s cross from the right on target and was saved by Morris.

Morais then hit a free-kick narrowly wide of the post.

Palmer gave Reds the lead midway through the second half when he nodded in Morais’ corner off the post.

Cheltenham looked set to equalise when they were awarded a penalty when substitute Kalvin Kalala was fouled.

But Dawson fired the ensuing spot-kick against the crossbar to keep Crawley ahead.

Reds held firm as Cheltenham pushed forward in the final stages in search of an equaliser.

Crawley Town: Morris, Young, Morais, Payne, Palmer (Camara 90), Bulman (Randall 78), Doherty, Poleon (Grego-Cox 66), Francomb, Vincelot (capt), Connolly

Unused subs: Mersin, McNerney, Nathaniel-George

Cheltenham Town: Flinders, Tozer, Mullins (capt), Atangana, Duku, McAlinden (Dawson 64), Boyle, Debayo, Maddox, Baldwin (Broom 56), Addai (Kalala 64)

Subs: Lovett, Thomas, Smith, Forster

Attendance: 2,719 (141 away)