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Harrogate Town 1-3 Crawley Match Report – Danny Pugsley

9 February 2022

Second half goals from Aramide Oteh, Nicholas Tsaroulla and Tom Nicholls condemned Town to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Crawley Town at The Envirovent Stadium.

Brahima Diarra’s first goal for Town had pulled them level with half an hour remaining after Oteh had put the visitors ahead but hopes of a comeback win were extinguished when Tsaroulla and Nicholls netted in the final ten minutes.

The defeat ended Town’s home unbeaten run of four games but made it four unbeaten on the road for John Yems’ side.

Town made one change from the side that defeated Bradford 2-0 last Saturday, a win that extended their unbeaten home run to four games in all competitions, with Jack Muldoon restored to the starting line-up in place of the injured Calum Kavanagh.

For the visitors Ludwig Franciette missed out through injury. Will Ferry replaced him in defence with George Francomb also coming in for James Tilley. Former Town-loanee Owen Gallagher was named on the bench.

It was the visitors who made the early running, pegging Town back in the opening stages with Leon Legge making a couple of timely interceptions.

Town soon warmed to the task though and a neat and precise build-up on the right saw George Thomson deliver a low ball that Luke Armstrong met at the near post. Town’s leading marksman couldn’t direct his effort on target though.

Mark Oxley, who helped thwart Bradford City on Saturday, was instrumental in keeping Town on level terms on 15 minutes when at full strength he was at full stretch to tip over from Will Ferry. From the resulting corner Jordan Tunnicliffe powered a header across the bar with the Town defence only able to look on.

The early warning signs were there for Town with the visitors profiting out wide and the lively Tom Nicholls the creative fulcrum.

It was perhaps inevitable that Town’s opportunities would stem from the feet of either Jack Diamond or Alex Pattison, the pair so critical to their offensive output in recent weeks. The dynamic duo combined on the edge of the area that resulted in Pattison unleashing  a drive that fizzed over.

Tsaroulla was the first name in the book on the half hour mark for a cynical pull back on Diarro. Isaac Hutchinson followed minutes later for an almost identical infraction.

Shortly before the break the quick feet of Nicholls created some space for himself in the Town box but the defence recovered to crowd him out block his effort from close range.

At the break John Yems opted to make a change with Tilley replacing Hutchinson, one of the two Crawley players who were carded in the first half.

And barely two minutes later the visitors grabbed the lead their play up to that point had arguably deserved.
Oteh, in just his second start since arriving on loan from Salford, stole possession in the centre of the pitch and weaved his way though the Town defence and slotted home past Oxley.

Diarra provided an immediate response to the setback, embarking on a solo run of his own but his shot lacked the power to trouble Morris.

Both Diamond and Legge then found their way into the book on 55 minutes for cynical fouls preventing further
Crawley attacks.

With plenty of time on the clock to turn things round Weaver turned to Mark Beck, who came on for Armstrong, whilst Crawley took the opportunity to make their second change, taking off goalscorer Oteh for Ashley Nadesan.

And no sooner had Beck entered the fray than Town were level. Diamond cut inside from the left and he played an inch perfect pace to the young forward Diarra who steadied himself before firing under Morris.

The game now was perfectly poised. Both sides sensed their play on the night could propel to take all three points.

Crawley made their third and final change by bringing on Reece Grego-Cox for Ferry with substitute Nadesan providing an anxious moment for Town hearts with his curling effort that was not too far from Oxley’s crossbar.

The killer blow came ten minutes from time though. Nicholls picked Warren Burrell’s pocket down the Crawley right and he had the simple task of squaring for Tsaroulla to tap home.

Nicholls then applied the gloss with a sumptuous finish from outside the box that left Oxley stranded and Town rueing what might have been.

TOWN: Oxley, Thomson, Legge, Burrell, Page, Diarra, Falkingham, Pattison, Diamond, Muldoon, Armstrong (Beck, 59).

Subs not used: Cracknell, Sheron, Smith, Kerry, Austerfield.

Goal: Diarra (60)

Booked: Diamond (54), Legge (56)

Crawley Town: Glenn Morris, Francomb, Craig, Powell, Nicholls, Ferry (Grego-Cox, 70) Tunnicliffe, Oteh
(Nadesan, 59), Tsaroulla, Payne, Hutchinson (Tilley, 45)

Subs not used: Gallagher, Matthews, Seymour.

Booked: Tsaroulla (28), Hutchinson (30)

Goals: Oteh (47), Tsaroulla (80), Nicholls (83)

Referee: Andy Haines

Attendance: 1,785 (73 away)

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