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PREVIEW | Exiles head down to West Sussex to take on Crawley Town

25 September 2017

A first Tuesday night away fixture in League 2 sees the Exiles travel to Sussex to take on Crawley Town. The Red Devils finished just three places and three points above County last season, causing Dermot Drummy to lose his position as manager at the end of the season. They have started things off better this campaign, however, accumulating 10 points already this season.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League 2 encounter.

Last six league games

Crawley Town rose three places to 17th in League 2 following their 2-1 victory at Barnet at the weekend. That was their first win in four league games, meaning they have taken 10 points from their last six league outings.

And they also won six games ago, in what could be, even at this early stage, one of the shock results of the whole season.

The Red Devils stunned Swindon Town by securing a 3-0 away victory at the County Ground, following an own goal and strikes from Jimmy Smith and Jordan Roberts.

They made it back-to-back wins with their only home success thus far this season, 2-0 against Yeovil Town, Roberts scoring in each half to continue his impressive start to the campaign.

But then their season looked again to be faltering somewhat as they went three games without success. A solitary goal from Smith wasn’t enough for the Red Devils as they went down 3-1 to Colchester, before Ibrahim Meite’s first professional goal got them a point at Stevenage.

Another defeat soon followed, this time 1-0 at home to league leaders Notts County, before the win at Barnet on Saturday. A double from Smith saw them take all three points at the Hive, with the striker currently the club’s top scorer thus far with four goals.

 

Team-news

The Red Devils have a near perfect bill of health ahead of our encounter, with only striker Thomas Verheydt expected to be unavailable.

The Dutchman has had a setback on the road to recovery from the knee-injury sustained earlier this season, with the forward returning to his homeland for further treatment last week.

Defender Mark Connolly made a return from his own injury problem to start at the weekend, in one of three changes to the starting team.

That saw Crawley set up in a 3-4-3 formation with former Exile Mark Randall being used as a second-half substitute.

 

Team vs Barnet (3-4-3):

Reds: Morris (GK), Connolly, Yorwerth, Lelan, Young, Evina, Tajbakhsh (Randall 74), Smith (C), Boldewijn, Meite (Camara 82), Roberts.

 

One to Watch

Name: Enzio Boldewijn

Age: 24

Position: Winger

Goals this season: 1

Previous clubs: FC Utrecht, Den Bosch, Almere City

Boldewijn is one of three Dutchmen currently on the books of Crawley Town.

He has been with the club since July 2016, making his debut on the opening day of last season. He scored his first goal for the club three days later in the EFL Cup defeat to Wolves, in one of six goals during the campaign.

He has one goal already this term, that coming in the opening day defeat to Port Vale. The 24-year old got his first assist at the weekend, setting up Jimmy Smith’s winner as he looks to make an impact in his first spell in English football.  

Boldewijn joined Crawley following three years at his hometown club Almere City. In all competitions, the winger made just shy of 100 appearances, netting 16 goals in the process.

Prior to his spell with Almere, the winger started his career at FC Utrecht. But he only lasted a season with the club, making 11 appearances and producing no goals, before being loaned out to Den Bosch.

He didn’t fare too much better with them either, scoring only once in 31 games, before kickstarting his career at Almere and now Crawley Town.

According to SKY BET, Boldewijn is priced as the fifth likeliest player to score for Crawley in our encounter. That sees him at 17/2 to score the opener, or 3/1 to score at any time.

 

Manager – Harry Kewell

Kewell took the reins at Crawley Town this summer, after previous manager Dermot Drummy left the club at the end of the season.

It is the first professional managerial position of his career, having previously coached with Watford U21’s.

In taking the job at Crawley, he became the first Australian to manage a professional English side, and swiftly moved to appoint ex-County manager Warren Feeney as his assistant, to help with the adjustment into management.

Ahead of our encounter, Kewell has taken charge of 11 games so far, winning just three of those matches at a win rate of 27.3%. They have lost a further seven, four of which have come at home, with one draw.

Before turning to management, Kewell had a hugely successful playing career, citing Leeds United and Liverpool amongst his clubs.

He made a combined 380 appearances with Leeds and Liverpool, winning four major competitions whilst at Anfield.

Kewell started for Liverpool in their stunning Champions League comeback win in Istanbul in 2005, winning the Super Cup the following August.

He also won the Community Shield and FA Cup in the 2005/06 season.

 

Stadium – Checkatrade.com Stadium

Built in 1997, the Checkatrade.com stadium has been home to Crawley Town ever since, having previously spent 48 years at Town Mead.

The current capacity of the stadium is 6,134, with away supporters being housed in the North Stand, where up to 1,600 Exiles fans could be accommodated.

107 County fans made the trip to West Sussex last season, while 81 made the trip for our encounter in the Johnstone Paint Trophy during the 2013/14 season. A huge support of 467 was present for our visit to Crawley in 2010.

 

Previous meetings

The two clubs have met on eight previous occasions, with the first coming in the 2010/11 season when both clubs were in the Conference.

And it was the Exiles who won the first ever encounter between the two sides, as goals from Danny Rose, Craig Reid and Darryl Knights gave the Exiles a 3-2 away victory on 16th October 2010.

However, the Red Devils made up for the defeat with their own victory just a week later in an FA Cup meeting. A 1-0 victory for the visitors ended County’s 18-month unbeaten streak at Spytty Park, with the result spring-boarding Crawley’s run to the fifth round of the competition, eventually losing to the other Red Devils Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford.

Another 1-0 victory for Crawley at Spytty Park later in the season saw them cruise to the Conference Title.

Then, since County’s promotion, the sides have met on five other occasions.

The first of those games came in the Johnstone Paint Trophy when the Exiles fought back from 2-0 down to secure a 3-2 away win.

In 2015/16, Crawley secured a double over County. The Exiles failed to score in either of the meetings, suffering a 3-0 defeat at Rodney Parade before a 2-0 loss away.

Last season, Crawley made it three wins in a row against the Exiles with a 3-1 victory. County exacted revenge back at Rodney Parade, as Mickey Demetriou’s stunning 25-yard effort gave Mike Flynn his first home win in charge of the club.

 

Officials

Referee: Craig Hicks

Assistant Referee 1: Stuart Butler

Assistant Referee 2: Declan Ford

Fourth Official: Samuel Lewis

Hicks is currently in his first season as a Football League referee, having been promoted from the National League over the summer.

So far this season, Hicks has refereed eight games, the last of which came on 16th September as Accrington Stanley beat Chesterfield 2-1. That saw Hicks dismiss Chesterfield’s Bradley Barry for a second bookable offence, as-well as giving out a further seven yellow cards, taking his overall tally for the season to 26 yellow cards and one red card.

Last season, Hicks officiated 27 games in the National League. He gave out four or more yellow cards on seven occasions, with a total of 70 yellow cards and six red cards for the campaign.

This game will be the first time that Hicks has refereed a match involving County.

 

Other League 2 fixtures that day (All 7:45pm kick-offs)

Cambridge United vs Forest Green Rovers

Carlisle United vs Stevenage

Cheltenham Town vs Mansfield Town

Chesterfield vs Yeovil Town

Exeter City vs Notts County

Grimsby Town vs Colchester City

Lincoln City vs Barnet

Morecambe vs Luton Town

Port Vale vs Accrington Stanley

Swindon Town vs Coventry City

Wycombe Wanderers vs Crewe Alexandra

 

Can’t make the match?

You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the club’s official Facebook and Instagram pages.

Don’t forget – if you reside outside of the UK, you can watch the game live by subscribing to County’s iFollow service. Commentary by Tim Thraves can also be found at the Match Centre.


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