Clayton's treble gives Crawley Green the edge
SSML Division One: Crawley Green 3 Broadfields United 1
A first half hat trick from Charlie Clayton secured another vital three points for Crawley Green with a 3-1 win against Broadfields United on Tuesday night.
Trailing to second placed Baldock Town on goal difference following their rivals Bank Holiday win at Ampthill Town, Crawley were quickly out of the blocks.
After only two minutes Liam Toomey latched on to a clearance from Dean Bull but his effort was blocked by Kieron Jimmy in the United goal.
Crawley then forced two corners which were cleared before they took the lead after 12 minutes.
A mistake in the United defence let in Clayton and drilled the ball past the advancing Jimmy to make it 1-0.
Shortly after, Clayton had another shot saved by Jimmy before Crawley forced another corner.
Aarron Browne whipped in the ball from the right and Alex Bennett fired over the bar from close range when it seemed easier to score.
After 23 minutes Crawley doubled their lead as Sam Halfpenny made a good run down the right and his cross was turned in by Clayton to make it 2-0.
Back came United with an effort from Billy Smith which was blocked before Clayton completed his hat-trick after 40 minutes.
Mark Smith did well to put Clayton clear of the United defence and he neatly lobbed Jimmy to make it 3-0.
Just before half time Smith and Browne combined to set up Clayton but this time his shot went wide.
At the start of the second half Clayton had another effort fly wide after being set up by Toomey.
Shortly after Browne has a free kick cleared and then Smith headed over from a Browne corner.
Minutes later Liam McGovern turned provider for Browne but his shot was well saved by Jimmy.
United worked their way back into the game and pulled a goal back after 80 minutes, Marley Anderson heading home from close range.
Tonight, Baldock Town travel to Brimsdown and on Thursday, Crawley Green entertain Edgware Town.