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REPORT| Demetriou at the double as County win at Crawley

26 September 2017

A stunning pair of headers from Mickey Demetriou ensured County made it back-to-back wins in League 2 with a 2-1 success at Crawley Town.

But it was in-fact the home-side who took the lead on 30 minutes, with their own header, a looping one from Mark Connolly that left Joe Day with no chance.

Demetriou got the equaliser just 10 minutes later, heading home from all of four yards after a Sean Rigg corner.

And it was a carbon copy for the second, which arrived on 51 minutes. Both times home keeper Glenn Morris may look back and think he could have punched the deliveries, as County secured a second away league victory this season.

Mike Flynn elected to name an unchanged team from the 1-0 victory over Grimsby Town on Saturday.

That meant the Exiles kept to the 4-3-3 formation used last time out, although there was still the option to revert to other tactics as seen during that Grimsby game.

Crawley Town manager Harry Kewell also named the same team that started in their 2-1 win at Barnet on Saturday.

It appeared that they would use the 3-4-3 formation elected last time out, with Ibrahim Meite the main man up-front. The decision to keep the same team also meant that ex-Exile Mark Randall began on the bench, in what would be his first appearance against his former employers.

And it was County’s Frank Nouble to have the first sighting of goal within the opening five minutes. Captain Joss Labadie did superbly to dispossess Arjan Tajbakhsh about 40 yards out. His pass to Amond went straight to Nouble, who could have potentially crossed, only to decide to go himself and hit the side-netting.

The home side’s first real opportunity came in the 10th minute. But Josh Lelan’s free-kick was a simple one for Joe Day to read and hold.

And the home-side probably should have opened the scoring with the first real sight at goal in the game. The ball fell to an unmarked Ibrahim Meite in the area after a defensive mix-up from County, only for the striker, on loan from Cardiff City, to somehow fire it wide.

The slow start to the game in terms of chances could be attributed to the pressing of both sides. Within three seconds of any player receiving the ball, an opponent was surrounding him and errors were being made as a consequence.

An offside flag came to County’s saviour on 20 minutes, as Mark Connolly’s cross looked like it could cause County a problem, although Meite was adjudged offside in the build-up.

A speculative effort from Rigg gave the County defence a bit of a rest-bite as the possession was all in the County half, although his 50-yard effort sailed well out of the Checkatrade.com Stadium.

An injury to Mark O’Brien caused a temporary halt to proceedings on 28 minutes, but the tenacious defender was okay to return to the action after a small break on the side-lines.

It would be fair to say that the writing was on the wall for County and the home-side did take the lead on the half-hour.

It was the product of an inviting delivery from Boldewijn, which saw Mark Connolly rise highest and power a looping header over Joe Day, who could do nothing to prevent the opener.

Demetriou had a chance to immediately respond for the Exiles, although didn’t catch his header cleanly from the edge-of-the-area, and home goalkeeper Glenn Morris saw it safely past his far-post.

And the home-side had a big chance to double their lead on 36 minutes. Lewis Young was in acres of space on the right-hand side and perhaps could have shot himself, although he elected to cross to Jordan Roberts who couldn’t connect in the six-yard area.

But the Exiles made sure that the home-side would rue that missed opportunity, as Mickey Demetriou headed home an equaliser on 40 minutes. It came from a Sean Rigg corner, which Morris arguably could have punched, but his hesitancy left Demetriou with the simplest of tasks to head home from four yards.

And if anything, County themselves could have been ahead before half-time, clearly taking encouragement from the goal.

The best chance of the remaining five minutes fell the way of Sean Rigg. He was tussling with Lelan in the area, got the shot away but blazed it high and wide.

But before that, Willmott came agonisingly close with a speculative 30-yard effort. Morris thought for all the world that he had it covered, and was probably fortunate to see it ricochet back off the post.

At the end of two additional minutes, Tozer curled over from outside the area in what brought about the end to the half.

It probably was a fair reflection of the first-half, in which both sides had their spells of dominance.

The Exiles decided to make a change at the interval, Mark O’Brien, who was only recently returning from an injury lay-off made way as Dan Butler came on in his place.

And County could have taken the lead within 60 seconds of the restart.

Frank Nouble waltzed his way into the area to force a shot on the angle, which Morris did well to turn wide of the near post.

Butler was booked within three minutes of coming on, for what was a culmination of the foul-count in the first-half, in the first yellow card given out by referee Craig Hicks in the game.

The Exiles were clearly starting the second-half as they finished the first and took a deserved lead on 51 minutes.

And it was the same combination that brought about the second goal as Demetriou got his second. And again it could be argued that Morris could have punched it clear, but Demetriou rose highest to head home from four yards.

It was no more than the Exiles deserved for their positive start to the second-half, Crawley looking somewhat off the pace as the game approached the hour-mark.

Labadie was booked during the celebrations of the second goal as the Exiles scored in-front of their 75 fans, the second booking of the night.

Scot Bennett replaced Pipe in the second County substitution on 62 minutes, as the full-back looked to be carrying a knock, as the Exiles continued to be in the ascendency.  

That forced Kewell into an attacking change, as midfielder Josh Payne came on for Lewis Young, who committed a foul within 30 seconds of coming on.

A looping header from Amond almost extended the County advantage on 67 minutes, and they could have been punished for it just two minutes later.

A 30-yard free-kick from Payne went off the post for a goal-kick, in what was arguably Crawley’s opening chance of the second-half.

Panutche Camara came on for the home-side to provide more attacking substance, Meite making way, as Kewell was clearly displeased with the paradigm of the game as it approached the final 15 minutes.

The first yellow card for the home side came on 77 minutes, Tajbakhsh the offender, for preventing a swift County counter-attack.

Tozer swiftly followed him into the referee’s notebook as it gave Payne another chance to test Joe Day. But this one sailed well wide as Day didn’t even move.

The final substitution for the home side saw Randall reunite with the Exiles, the midfielder making 25 appearances for the club last season.

Amond headed over shortly after for County, Jordan Roberts booked for dissent for the home side as the game approached the final five minutes.   

The indication of four additional minutes saw Dolan come on for the final County substitution, Amond coming off as Flynn wanted to sure things up in the midfield.

Yorwerth hit the post with 60 seconds to go as the home-side threw everything at the Exiles, only for County to hold on and secure a deserved victory.

County: Day, Pipe (Bennett 65’), Demetriou, O’Brien (Butler 45’), White, Labadie (C), Tozer, Rigg, Amond (Dolan 90+1), Nouble

Subs not used: Bittner, Reynolds, McCoulsky, Quigley

 

Crawley Town: Morris, Young (Payne 67’), Connolly, Boldewijn, Smith (C), Roberts, Yorwerth, Evina, Tajbakhsh (Randall 81’), Lelan, Meite

Subs not used: Doherty, Mersin, Bulman, Sanoh, Camara

 

Referee: Craig Hicks

Attendance: 1,455 (75 away)

Next up for County: Luton Town (29th September) AWAY

 

Photo used is not from the match in the report.


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