Promotion secured as Crawley fight back
SSML Division One: Crawley Green 2 Edgware Town 2
Crawley Green came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with champions Edgware Town secure the point they needed for promotion on Thursday night.
With Baldock Town losing at Brimsdown the previous evening, Crawley needed one point from their remaining two fixtures to finish runners-up.
Any slip up tonight would have sent Crawley to local rivals Ampthill Town on Saturday looking for a result, but the Maroons were under the cosh early on, Ben Hammond’s cross was cleared for a corner by Mark Smith and Mark Kirby heading against the bar.
Crawley responded with a shot from Charlie Clayton and from the corner Stuart Strange had a header which was cleared with Crawley appealing in vain that the ball had crossed the line.
However, after 12 minutes the Crawley defence were caught out by a long ball from keeper Sam Styles and Jay Molloy broke clear and calmly drill past Dean Bull to make it 1-0.
Back came Crawley and Clayton had a fierce shot saved by Styles after being set up by Strange.
The Town forwards were a constant threat though and on the half hour Dean Bull made a terrific save to keep out another Molloy effort.
Clayton then caused panic in the Town defence when he chased down Fergus Moore but his shot went over the bar.
Bull kept Crawley in the game once more with another outstanding stop from Jack Ward but in added time the visitors doubled their lead.
A corner from the right fell to Nick Turner who headed home from close range to make it 2-0 at the break.
In the second half Crawley stormed forward looking to find a way back into the game and after 52 minutes they made it 2-1.
Graham Clarke picked up the ball on the edge of the box and bullied his way past three defenders to smash the ball past Styles.
A minute later Crawley were level as Tuesday evening hat-trick hero Clayton, a product of the Crawley Youth system, rifled in from 25 yards.
Both teams went for a winner and with a noisy contingent of Baldock Town supporters urging Edgware forward, Jack Ward had a shot go wide of Bull’s right hand post.
Bull then made his third tremendous save of the night when he kept out an attempt from Adem Ali which was destined for the top corner.
Crawley replied with a free kick from Browne which went over and a header from Sam Halfpenny that was saved by Styles.
Clayton and Clarke then combined to set up Browne but he shot over when he should have hit the target.
As the game ebbed and flowed Molloy had a shot saved by Bull before Smith saw his a header cleared and Strange’s corner rebounded off the post.
In the closing minutes Town had one last effort which was headed clear by Liam McGovern as the game finished 2-2, to ensure Crawley will be playing Premier Division football next season.
Congratulations go to Manager Mark Smith and his assistant Dean Bull together with Bobby Males and James Sherlock.
Many thanks also go to the Club and Football Committees for their remarkable support over the last 17 seasons and finally this season’s sponsor Gibbs & Dandy.
Next week’s Club presentation evening at Crawley will celebrate an amazing season, with the first team winning the Division One League Cup and sealing promotion.
The second team took the Reserve Challenge Trophy and made the Beds Intermediate Cup final, while the Sunday side won the Beds Lower Junior Cup and North Home Counties Division Two.