Crawley Town 2 Grimsby Town 1: Palmer brace earns home victory
Crawley Town recovered from going behind to beat Grimsby Town thanks to two first-half goals by Ollie Palmer.
Grimsby took an early lead when former Red Wes Thomas opened the scoreline for the visitors in the 12th minute.
Palmer equalised and then scored his 15th goal of the season five minutes before the break to give Crawley the lead at half-time.
Head coach Gabriele Cioffi had to watch the game from the stands as he was given a touchline ban by the FA for accumulating four yellow cards.
Newly appointed coach Craig Brewster plus assistant Nathan Rooney were in the dug-out.
Cioffi fielded an unchanged side to the team which lost 1-0 at MK Dons.
Filipe Morais, Ricardo German and Ibrahim Meite were on the bench in place of Dominic Poleon, Ashley Nathaniel-George and Joe Maguire.
Grimsby made two changes from the side which lost 2-0 at home to Cambridge United with Ludvig Ohman and Martyr Woolford being preferred to Reece Hall-Johnson and Harry Clifton who were on the bench.
Reds went behind in only the sixth minute when a cross by Elliot Embleton was headed down by Ohman to an unmarked Thomas in the box who volleyed in from 12 yards.
Crawley tried to respond immediately and were so close to doing so twice in a minute when Matty Willock and Reece Grego-Cox both hit the crossbar.
Palmer saw an angled header fly straight to ‘keeper James McKeown to give him a comfortable save.
Reds’ attacking pplay was rewarded after 26 minutes when Lewis Young crossed from the right and Palmer headed in an equaliser.
Willock then fired another chance straight at ‘keeper James McKeown from a ball from Young as Reds continued to press.
Palmer scored his second goal of the game in fine style to give Crawley the lead when Grego-Cox supplied him, he dummied before firing from close-range past McKeown.
Palmer was brought down in the penalty area at the start of the second half but the referee waved play-on.
Joe McNerney went close with a double chance from a tight angle, his header came back to off McKeown and he lifted his ensuing shot narrowly over the bar.
Grimsby manager Michael Jolley made a double substitution on the hour, bringing on Jordan Cook and Harry Clifton for Kristian Dennis and Martyr Woolford.
Crawley were denied going further ahead due to some outstanding defending by Ludvig Ohman who made a fine goalline clearance to deny Willock.
Palmer looked certain to complete a hat-trick when played through by Panutche Camara but he was stopped before he could shoot by a combination of Ohman and McKeown.
At the other end Thomas did well to set-up a shot which flew over the bar.
Reds brought on Morais for the last 15 minutes in place of Willock, who received a standing ovation as he left the field.
Grego-Cox came off to another big round of applause giving Ibrahim Meite the last eight minutes for his second debut as Crawley saw out the end of the game to clinch a valuable three points.
Crawley Town: Morris, Young, McNerney, Grego-Cox, Palmer, Francomb, Dallison, Sesay, Willock (Morais 75), Bulman (capt), Camara
Subs: Mersin, Payne, German, Meite, N’Gala
Grimsby Town: McKeown, Ring, Ohman, Collins (capt), Hessenthaler, Dennis (Cook 60), Woolford (Clifton 60), Embleton, Davis, Hendrie, Thomas
Subs: Hall-Johnson, Cardwell, Vernham, Russell, Whitmore
Att: 2,043 (412 away)
Man of the Match: Ollie Palmer