Wolves 2 Crawley Town 1: Crawley suffer last minute heartache at Wolves

Wolves V Crawley 23-8-13 (Pic by Jon Rigby)
Wolves V Crawley 23-8-13 (Pic by Jon Rigby)

Unlucky Crawley Town experienced a heartbreaking end to their first ever trip to Wolves which ended in a 2-1 defeat.

The former Premier League club scored a 94th minute winner from the penalty spot by Scotland international Leigh Griffiths.

Moments earlier Reds had netted a deserved injury-time equaliser by Billy Clarke.

This followed plenty of good play from the Reds in the aftermatch of a nervy opening 15 minute spell when Wolves took the lead.

Crawley made their first ever appearance at the massive Molineux which was full of Premier League style atmosphere and large-scale support.

Crawley Town fans were packed into the top right hand corner of the stand behind their own goal in the first half.

It was likely it would take the Reds time to settle in front of such a large audience and in front of the live Sky TV cameras.

It proved to be the case as Wolves dominated the opening exchanges.

Bjorn Sigurdarson forced had the first chance for the home side, forcing keeper Paul Jones into making a good save when he got on the end of a corner kick.

Sigurdarson then headed Wolves into an early lead in the 7th minute when he latched on to a Kevin Doyle cross from the left.

Doyle had danced past skipper Josh Simpson, who had been moved from his usual midfield role to right back to shoare up the leaking defence.

Mat Sadler set up Nicky Adams for a chance just a few yards in front of goal but he fluffed his attempt.

Doyle then crossed again with another dangerous move for Wolves but this time £3 million pound signing Bakary Sako nodded the ball wide of goal.

Crawley gradually got into the game as the first half progressed and should have equalised by half-time.

First Alexander had a shot deflected close to goal which could easily have found the net.

Then as the interval beckoned, Joe Walsh managed to put a ball from only four yards wide of goal after a heavy touch from Alexander gave him the ball by surprise.

Crawley had two chances either side of the break when Nicky Adams had a couple of shots saved at by keeper Carl Ikeme.

As rain fell, Sam Ricketts then went close at the other end, driving powerfully from 25 yards which was pushed over the bar by Paul Jones.

Michael Jones set up Clarke who had a go from 23 yards and forced a saved from Ikeme.

A Dannie Bulman cross found Alexander in front of goal who headed on target but the ball was easily caught by Ikeme.

The industrious and skilful Zeli Ismail crossed to Sigurdarson who threatened in front of goal, howerver he couldn’t control the ball and Paul Jones grabbed it to make it safe.

Reds built some good pressure during the middle of the second half and created a nice move when a run down the right led to a one-two between Adams and Alexander, only for Adams to blast well off-target.

Alexander received a yellow card for a foul from behind on Doyle and from the ensuing free-kick, Sako forced a superb diving save to deny him from the six-yard box.

Ismail then coasted down to the Reds byline, avoided Walsh and delivered a testing cross from the right which again forced a full length save from Jones.

Crawley continued to play entertaining football and could easily have scored when Andy Drury delivered a corner back to outside the area from where Mike Jones sliced first time narrowly wide.

Wolves had three late chances as Danny Batth’s header found Doyle on his heels and keeper Paul Jones was too quick for him to strike. Ismail sped past Mike Jones before launching a shot over the bar, then in another opportunity, Ismail supplied to Sako who blasted powerfully wide.

Crawley finally equalised in the 91st minute with a superb team move which ended with substitute Jamie Proctor laying back for Billy Clarke to bury in the back of the net.

But just as a dream draw looked to have been earned, Wolves grabbed a late winner in the fourth minute of added time when Kyle McFadzean was controversially penalised for handballing a Kevin McDonald cross in the area and a penalty was signalled.

The incident caused uproar infront of the home fans and a huge cheer of approval went around the stadium when the decision was flagged by the assistant referee and then Adams was booked for protesting.

Adams and Clarke later admitted the handball was correctly awarded after seeing the TV replay which showed McFadzean had slighly raised his right arm outward.

Finally substitute Griffiths stepped up and put away the winner from the penalty spot to the right of Jones and as Wolves nicked the three points in a night of drama.

REDS: Paul Jones, Mat Sadler, Kyle McFadzean, Billy Clarke, Gary Alexander, Andy Drury (Luke Rooney 77), Josh Simpson, Joe Walsh (Mark Connolly 70), Dannie Bulman (Jamie Proctor 77), Nicky Adams, Mike Jones. Unused subs: James Hurst, Connor Essam, Sergio Torres, Jonathan Maddison

WOLVES: Carl Ikeme, Matt Doherty, Danny Batth, Richard Stearman, Samuel Ricketts, Zeli Ismail (George Elokobi 90), David Davis, Lee Evans (Kevin McDonald 90), Bakary Sako, Bjorn Sigurdarson (Leigh Griffiths 72), Kevin Doyle. Unused subs: Aaron McCarey, Jack Price, Anthony Forde, Jake Cassidy

Referee: Simon Hooper