It was back to winning ways for the Reserves, with a gritty comeback against a lively Sheppey United.
Goals from Lewis Croal, Ashley Hollom and Captain Aaron Ryder were enough to squeeze the points out of Sheppey in gloomy conditions at the Haven.
It was all Crawley Down in the opening period of the game, with several chances coming in the first quarter of an hour.
Lewis Croal with a good turn and an early ball dinked into the feet of Ashley Hollom; Hollom controlled well and shot early but the shot screwed wide of the post.
Soon after, Harrison Casselman showing good feet and great vision to spread the ball to Aaron Ryder; Ryder’s shot was well saved by the Sheppey keeper.
Harrison Casselman was instrumental in actually breaking the deadlock minutes later. He intercepted the ball on the edge of the Anvil’s box and launched it upfield to Sam Fildes; Fildes judged the initial bounce well before a cheeky turn to chest the ball on, into the path of Lewis Croal. Croal took the ball expertly in his stride and burst away from the Sheppey defence, leaving players trailing in his wake, before finishing well, low across the keeper.
1-0 (16 mins)
Sheppey started to grow into the game after the opening goal and a quick counter attack brought them level. The Sheppey striker getting to a through ball just ahead of Andy Greaves, touching it under him before rolling it into an empty net.
1-1 (24 mins)
Sheppey got their noses in front just after the half-hour, when quick passes and some great movement cut through Crawley Down; a ball over to the left hand side of the box found a man all on his own, with time to control before finishing confidently.
1-2 (32 mins)
Shortly before the break, there was a great chance to level the scores. A ball over the top for Sam Fildes saw him spring the offside trap and drive for goal; turning along the goal line and with a square ball on, Fildes opted to shoot; the shot blazing high and wide and it remained a 2-1 deficit going into the break.
The turning point in the game seemed to be just before the hour; a Sheppey striker benefiting from a missed offside call and was taken down in the box by Andy Greaves, the Referee pointing to the spot immediately.
The chance was missed however, when the spot-kick crashed back off the crossbar, bounced down and was cleared away by an alert Aaron Baston.
Crawley Down started to reassert their dominance on the game now and drew level through top-scorer Ashley Hollom. Aaron Ryder getting the move underway with a bursting run before slipping the ball through for Sam Fildes on the right. Sam Fildes got his head up and this time picked out a square ball for Hollom to blast home from close-range.
2-2 (67 mins)
With the game drawing to a close and a deal feeling that Sheppey were clinging on to a point, up popped Aaron Ryder to clinch a late winner. Andy Goodwin pumped a deep free kick goalwards from just inside our own half, it sailed to the far post where Ryder was sliding in to volley home!
3-2 (83 mins)
A crucial win for the Anvils, which puts them 3 points clear at the top of the table, going into a 2 week break from League activities, as Cup competitions take centre stage in the next couple of weekends.
1. Andy Greaves
2. Aaron Cradock
3. Harrison Casselman
4. Aaron Ryder (c)
5. Aaron Baston
6. Billy Wraight
7. Andy Goodwin
8. Luke Pearse
9. Sam Fildes
10. Lewis Croal
11. Ashley Hollom
12. Jorge Tejera
14. Luke Scott
15. Danny Grafton
16. Matt Crane
1. Luke Scott (Ashley Hollom) 76 mins
2. Danny Grafton (Luke Pearse) 76 mins
3. Jorge Tejera (Sam Fildes) 84 mins
Lewis Croal (Sam Fildes) 16 mins
Ashley Hollom (Sam Fildes) 67 mins
Aaron Ryder (Andy Goodwin) 83 mins
Lewis Croal (90 mins)
MAN OF THE MATCH: