Crawley 1 Forest Green Rovers 1: Verheydt heads Reds to thrilling draw

Thomas Verheydt. Picture by PW Sporting Photography SUS-170830-145954001
Thomas Verheydt. Picture by PW Sporting Photography SUS-170830-145954001

Thomas Verheydt scored on his return from injury to earn Crawley Town a 1-1 draw at home to Forest Green Rovers.

The Gloucestershire side took the lead in the 67th minute when Christian Doidge netted from short-range.

Reds levelled in the 80th minute with a headed goal by Verheydt which was his first competitive goal for the club.

Finally Jordan Roberts missed a 90th minute chance to clinch all three points at the end of an entertaining match.

Harry Kewell made two changes to his side which lost in the FA Cup at Wigan with striker Thomas Verheydt returning after missing 12 league matches having injured his knee against Charlton Athletic in a cup game at the end of August.

Left back Cedric Evina returned having been ill for the FA Cup game. Verheydt replaced Panutche Camara, who was on the bench and Evina replaced Josh Doherty who was on international duty for Northern Ireland under-21s.

Forest Green made just once change from the team which beat Macclesfield 1-0 in the FA Cup with left wing-back Alex Iacovitti coming in for the suspended Dale Bennett.

Josh Yorwerth was on Reds’ bench having been having been disciplined internally by the club causing him to miss the game last week.

Both teams and the crowd observed a minute’s silence before the game for Armistice Day in respect of those who gave their lives in two World Wars.

Forest Green had the first chance when Keanu-Marsh-Brown hit the crossbar with a shot which bounced out and was cleared.

Crawley began well, with two early chances falling for Jordan Roberts, one which was deflected wide and the other, he headed a cross from Josh Lelan over the bar.

Lewis Young’s fine run down the right ended with him shooting directly at keeper Bradley Collins, who made a comfortable save.

Verheydt did not see much of the ball in the first half hour, his only chance coming from Lelan’s cross which he failed to connect with.

Forest Green then began a period of domination with all the main chances and possession going to them.

Alex Iacovitti had a header held on the goalline by keeper Glenn Morris from a free-kick.

Keanu Marsh-Brown hit the crossbar then Christian Doidge fired the ball wide on the rebound.

Doidge then hit the post before Marsh-Brown had a shot deflected for a corner.

Morris was luckly not to have been sent-off in the 36th minute when he was booked for handling the ball outside the area.

Kewell made two changes at half-time with Dannie Bulman and Lewis Young replaced by Josh Payne and Josh Yorwerth.

Early in the in second half it was Crawley who hit the woodwork and went close with a series of chances.

Payne curled a shot against the bar, then Enzio Boldewijn crossed towards Verheydt who could make contact before Boldewijn spotted the keeper off his line and made speculative shot which forced Collins to tip the ball over the bar.

As Crawley maintained the pressure, Mark Connolly headed off a defender to Boldwewijn whose header hit the roof of the net.

Connolly then struck a thunderous shot from outside the area which forced Bradley collins to make a great diving save.

Kewell made his third substitution of the afternoon with Billy Clifford replacing Smith, who went off having apparently injured his hamstring.

The action continued with Clifford crossing for Verheydt who headed straight to Collins from the six-yard box for a comfortable save.

The visitors went ahead against the run of play when Doidge tapped-in after an initial shot by Marsh-Brown was only partially saved by Morris.

Roberts was brought down in the area and Reds appealed for a penalty but it wasn’t given.

But with ten minutes to go Verheydt brought the two sides level with a headed equaliser from a Roberts corner.

Roberts nearly sealed a late victory in added-time but took too long to shoot and the ball was cleared.

There was still time for Forest Green’s Scott Laird to hit the post before the final whistle at the end of an exciting second half.

REDS: Morris, Young (Yorwerth 46), Lelan, Boldewijn, Verheydt, Smith (capt) (Clifford 60), Roberts, Evina, Connolly, Bulman (Payne 46), McNerney

Unused subs: Mersin, Camara, Lewis, Tajbakhsh

FOREST GREEN: Collins, Laird, Traore, Collins (capt), Monthe (Wishart 68), Marsh-Brown, Doidge, Brown (Stevens 76), Fitzwater, Iacovitti, Osbourne

Subs: Pickering, Simpson, Randall, M.Roberts, James

REFEREE: Tom Nield

ATTENDANCE: 2,149 (202 away)

MAN OF THE MATCH: Thomas Verheydt