The great start to the season continues for the Reserves and now we’re adding clean sheets to the mix as well.
A decent and ultimately comfortable 3-0 win over Redhill, who were certainly no pushovers. It took a while for The Anvils to get a foothold in the game, although there was a great chance after 15 minutes, when a 40 yard ball from Matt Crane landed perfectly in the path of Luke Scott as he burst through the defensive line and advanced on goal; a great one-on-one save from the Redhill keeper (the first of many) thwarted Scott’s effort.
Around the half-hour mark, Lewis Croal could have had a quick-fire hat trick! The first was all Croal’s own making, as he won the ball and drove through 2 challenges, before more goalkeeping heroics was to deny him.
A few minutes later, Croal was one-on-one again; again the Redhill keeper was to keep them in the game.
Barely a minute later, Croal was alive to a rebounded shot, but again the keeper won the battle.
Minutes before the break, the deadlock was finally broken! Lewis Croal instrumental in the move; driving across the box and drawing 2 defenders to him, before slipping a delightful ball through the gap for Ben Whiteman. Whiteman touched the ball out in front of him before unleashing an early right-foot shot, low across the keeper and in off the far post.
1-0 (42 mins)
Early in the 2nd half, there was another great chance for Lewis Croal. A long ball and screams for offside that might have had some substance, if Croal hadn’t been in his own half!!
Croal raced away, with the whole half empty in front of him and support arriving; as the keeper advanced to close the angle, Croal opted to take it round him but the Redhill keeper claimed the ball well, low down to his left.
Shortly after, Redhill had a breakaway of their own. A threaded ball split the Crawley Down defence and the Redhill striker was clean through. Matt Crane raced out to shut the striker down and as he attempted to knock it past Crane, Crane got down incredibly well to claim the ball off the striker’s toe!
From Crane’s kick out, Luke Scott controlled well on the right wing and turned his marker superbly, to race away down the line. 2 touches later, Scott delivered a great ball into the box that narrowly missed the head of Lewis Croal; Aaron Ryder picked up the ball and shaped to shoot, before laying it back to Luke Pearse; Pearse’s first-time 30-yard effort curled beautifully away from the keeper and into the very top-left corner.
2-0 (57 mins)
The game was still very much to-and-fro at this stage and shortly afterwards Matt Crane was to display even more goalkeeping heroics; as a Redhill striker looked to have him beat, Crane produced unreal acrobatics to thwart the effort. The striker turned out to be adjudged offside anyway, but nobody knew that at the time.
In the closing minutes, Lewis Croal finally got the goal that had been threatening to materialise all game. Aaron Ryder stealing in to move the ball forward from midfield with the outside of his right foot and Ben Whiteman leaping well, as he had all game, to flick the ball perfectly into the path of Croal. Croal raced away again, and this time got the better of the Redhill keeper with a clinical finish.
3-0 (87 mins)
With barely a minute to go, there was a great chance for a 4th. Lewis Croal in a tangle but emerging with the ball; Croal spread the ball out wide for Andy Goodwin and Jorge Tejera to go clear. Goodwin took a touch to advance on goal and struck a shot well, but the Redhill keeper made another great save.
4 games unbeaten then, 3 points clear at the top and now a clean sheet to build on. The season is really gaining legs for the Reserves and the performances that we’re more than capable of just keep on materialising.
1. Matt Crane
2. Aaron Cradock
3. Danny Grafton
4. Aaron Ryder (c)
5. Aaron Baston
6. Sam Packham
7. Michael Parr
8. Luke Pearse
9. Lewis Croal
10. Ben Whiteman
11. Luke Scott
12. Andy Goodwin
14. Jorge Tejera
16. Ashley Hollom
1. Andy Goodwin (Michael Parr) 75 mins
2. Jorge Tejera (Luke Scott) 75 mins
Ben Whiteman (Lewis Croal) 42 mins
Luke Pearse (Aaron Ryder) 57 mins
Lewis Croal (Ben Whiteman) 87 mins
Matt Crane (47 mins)
Michael Parr (62 mins)
MAN OF THE MATCH: