Crawley Town 1-0 Oldham Athletic: Early Walsh goal sees Reds go five unbeaten

Reds are up to eighth after going five unbeaten
Reds are up to eighth after going five unbeaten

Defender Joe Walsh scored his fourth goal of the season to hand Crawley Town a hard-fought 1-0 win at home to Oldham Athletic.

The Welsh centre-back’s early goal proved enough to see off the Latics, who twice struck the woodwork, as Reds stretched their unbeaten run in League One to five games to move up to eighth in the table.

Reds boss Richie Barker named an unchanged side from the one that had drawn 1-1 away at Colchester seven days before.

And Walsh, who was presented with his Wales Under-21 cap prior to kick off, celebrated that and signing a new contract on Thursday by putting Reds ahead inside six minutes. The young centre back has become a real attacking threat at set pieces and when the ball fell kindly to him following a corner he lashed his fourth of the season high into the net.

After the early fillip Reds dominated the initial possession without finding an real openings.

Oldham’s first chance saw skipper Korey Smith slide a ball through to Charlie MacDonald, who ignored strong appeals for offside but was denied by the legs of Paul Jones in the home goal.

Former Crawley striker MacDonald came even closer to drawing the visitors level when, unmarked he headed Jonathan Grounds’ deep cross against the outside of the post, and following up James Tarkowski’s shot was well blocked by McFadzean.

Reds were playing some neat stuff but their next chance came six minutes from half-time when Emile Sinclair suddenly found himself through on goal, and though he rounded keeper Mark Oxley the angle was against him as he rolled his shot against the foot of the post.

The lone Reds forward was nearly in the clear again but instead of have a go with his weaker left he checked inside and was dispossessed by a defender.

In the early minutes of the second half Latics forward MacDonald missed an even clearer opportunity when, from a cross Reds keeper Jones and Jonson Clarke-Harris both went up for the ball and it fell right to the striker, who again unmarked could only nod against the crossbar, and Jones did well to claw away the rebound.

It took Reds until the 67th minute to produce a second-half effort at goal. Following some nice one-touch football substitute Jamie Proctor and Clarke combined for the latter to send a curling shot over the bar from just inside the area.

The introduction of Proctor for the ineffectual Emile Sinclair seemed to liven Reds up in attack. He instantly controlled a long ball from the back in the channel before touching it into the path of Adams, though with Clarke surging into the six yard box his cutback was just behind him meaning Clarke had to adjust and could only guide the ball just wide.

Continuing a positive spell for the hosts Clarke then went surging through the middle before slipping in Adams, who unselfishly returned the pass only for Clarke to miscue when well placed inside the box.

With only three minutes remaining the Reds defence got themselves into a muddle dealing with a ball over the top but in a real scramble Paul Jones made a crucial diving save to just keep out Adam Rooney’s header.

And in a frantic finish Reds so nearly sealed victory when sub Sergio Torres squared for an unmarked Adams, but Latics keeper Oxley rushed out and saved with his legs as the hosts took all three points..

Reds: Paul Jones, Mat Sadler, Josh Simpson, Kyle McFadzean, Joe Walsh; Dannie Bulman, Mike Jones; Andy Drury (Hurst 80), Nicky Adams, Billy Clarke (Torres 86); Emile Sinclair Proctor 65).

Subs: James Hurst, Mark Connolly, Connor Essam, Sergio Torres, Jamie Proctor, Luke Rooney, Johnny Maddison.

Oldham: Mark Oxley; Jonathan Grounds, James Weslowski, James Tarkowski, Korey Smith, Charlie MacDonald, Jonson Clarke-Harris (Rooney 62), Anton Rodgers (Scmeltz 45), Matteo Lanzoni, James Dayton (Philliskirk 71), Joseph Mills.

Subs: Sidney Schmeltz, Adam Rooney, Paul Rachubka, Carl Winchester, Kirk Millar, Edjis Joksts, Danny Philliskirk.