A stunning double from Reece Grego-Cox helped Crawley Town to a welcome 4-1 win against Scunthorpe United in the FA Cup First Round with his 96th minute second ensuring most of the meagre crowd of 1706 went home feeling ecstatic in the teeming rain.
The goals earned him the Man of the Match award but he had some tough opposition.
Dannie Bulman played as only he can – perpetual motion whether surging forward or shoring up the defence. The defence did OK and that meant former Red Jamie Proctor (not the most popular man on the park) suffered a torrid return. Panutche Camara was at his effervescent and eccentric best and the visitors struggled to contain him.
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Much of this encounter was close with defences on top although Reds threatened more whilst Scunthorpe were reliant on Ryan Colclough who scrambled an untidy equaliser for them on 79 minutes. Ashley Nadesan had given Crawley a first half lead heading home the loose ball as keeper Jake Eastwood did well to parry a fierce shot from Nathan Ferguson.
Grego-Cox restored Reds’ lead with a barn storming shot on the run but in truth we should have faced a replay. Normal time was nearly up when Alex Gilliead latched onto a mistimed pass by Tom Dallison and closed in on the exposed Glenn Morris. His Row Z effort in front of the travelling fans will not have endeared him to them.
Ashley Nathaniel-George and Grego-Cox put the icing on the cake with two goals in added time to ensure Crawley’s place in the Second Round draw and left me wondering when I last saw nine Crawley goals in six days.
Beforehand an impeccable minute’s silence showed Reds fans can honour Remembrance with the best of them,
Those fans anticipated any easy night in the Sussex Senior Cup as they visited Southern Combination League Premier outfit East Preston. That might sound cocky but the nature of the county cup is such that mismatches are likely. We previously reached two consecutive finals but were embarrassed last season by Haywards Heath Town.
Reds stuck to the script and finished with a result that was well merited triumphing 5-0 despite a very plucky effort from the home side. In difficult conditions most of the squad performed well and the return of Joe McNerney was very pleasing. Ashley Nadesan and Tarryn Allarakhia looked to be the pick of the bunch but others still have to find their best form.
Denzeil Boadu appeared a little lost at times despite his glamorous list of former clubs and I think nobody would benefit more from being given a chance on the bench. Gyliano van Velzen has made that step but despite being Dutch he has a long way to go to emulate the impact of Enzio Boldewijn.
It was a good night out and I am now eagerly anticipating the draw in both cups