Crawley Town preview

Newport County AFC will be looking to keep their positive League Two form going when they travel to West Sussex on Saturday to face Crawley Town. The Exiles haven’t lost on the road in the league since the opening day of the season, but the home side have a superior home record of late and will looking for an upset on the weekend.

Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this League Two fixture…

Last five matches in League Two

Not the best of results for Crawley Town recently as in the last five League Two outings, they have lost every away game but won every home fixture.

Unfortunately for the Red Devils, when looking at their last five league results specifically, three of the fixtures have come on the road meaning they have only been able to acquire six points since 22nd September.

That run starts with manager Gabriele Cioffi’s first defeat at the helm as they went down 1-0 at Forest Green Rovers. Talisman Reuben Reid secured all three points for the Green Devils, in what is still their only home success this season in League Two.

Crawley bounced back from that defeat when securing a 3-1 home victory over Yeovil Town. Ollie Palmer and Carl Dickinson traded goals in the first-half, before Ashley Nathaniel-George and Filipe Morais scored after the break to secure what was, at the time, Crawley’s third victory in four matches.

But their away form has been a cause for concern and former manager Harry Kewell ensured he took all three points from Crawley as Notts County secured a 3-1 victory. Kane Hemmings, Jon Stead and Nathan Thomas put them fully in command – whilst Dominic Poleon grabbed a consolation in stoppage time.

Another home win then follows for the Red Devils as they defeated struggling Cambridge United 2-0 at Broadfield Stadium. After a closely run contest in the first-half, Luke Gambin and Palmer struck after the restart to ensure a victory for the home side in West Sussex.

Last weekend, Crawley failed to ascend into the play-off places as they suffered a 3-1 defeat at another play-off aspiring outfit in Colchester United. Luke Norris stole the show for the U’s, grabbing two assists for Sammie Szmodics and ex-Exile Frank Nouble before hitting the target himself, while Morais converted a penalty for the away side.



Crawley Town manager Gabriele Cioffi has a couple of players unavailable as he prepares to welcome County to West Sussex on Saturday.

Captain Jimmy Smith is likely to miss both meetings against the Exiles this season, with the midfielder ruled out for the majority of the campaign having suffered a cruciate ligament injury.

Defender Bondz N’Gala will also be missing for the Red Devils after he was dismissed in stoppage time last weekend having needlessly kicked out at Luke Norris in-front of the referee.

Winger Ashley Nathaniel-George missed out last time out through injury but is fit to return, while former Exile Reece Grego-Cox also comes back into contention having spent the past week with the Republic of Ireland U21s.

Crawley Town team vs Colchester United (4-4-2): Morris, Maguire, N’Gala, Connolly, Young, Gambin (Camara 64’), Morais (C), Payne (McNerney 85’), Francomb, Poleon (Allarakhia 77’), Palmer


One to Watch – Ollie Palmer

Striker Ollie Palmer has made a sensational start to life as a Crawley Town player having joined the West Sussex side over the summer.

The 26-year old has found the net on seven occasions from 14 appearances in all competitions – getting a double against Swindon Town alongside further strikes past Cheltenham Town, Stevenage, Bury FC, Yeovil Town and Cambridge United.

Only the goal against Cheltenham Town came away from Broadfield Stadium and he has been directly responsible for winning his side five points already in the campaign.

For a 26-year old, Palmer is well travelled across the lower divisions of the Football League and non-league, starting with Woking in the Conference South back in 2010.

Alongside a short loan stint at St Albans City, Palmer finished his debut season with two goals from 20 appearances for Woking and after another loan spell at Boreham Wood, moved on to Havant & Waterlooville.

After a good first season, Palmer must have done something right in the second campaign because Chelsea were reportedly scouting the striker and he finished with 25 goals from 44 appearances.

A move to the Premier League giants never materialised, however, but he did get a move into the Football League when joining Mansfield Town who, alongside County, had just achieved promotion into League Two.

Seven goals from 64 appearances saw him shipped out on loan to Grimsby Town, then in the Conference, before being afforded another Football League opportunity at Leyton Orient ahead of the 2015/16 campaign.

His goals to games ratio was slightly better, 14 from 74, but again he found himself on loan, this time to Luton Town but he could only add another three goals from 18 appearances.

Last season, Palmer found himself at Lincoln City and he was at least able to register his best goals return in the Football League – 11 for the campaign – but he moved from the Imps to the Red Devils over the summer.


Manager – Gabriele Cioffi

It’s certainly quite easy to follow a distinct pattern at Crawley Town since manager Gabriele Cioffi took charge at the club.

Joining on his 43rd birthday and having just seen the Red Devils defeat table topping Lincoln City, Crawley have since won every single home League Two fixture and lost every away League Two fixture.

There is a slight anomaly as sandwiched within those results the Red Devils lost at home to Portsmouth in the CheckaTrade Trophy, but its been a good start for the Italian in his first managerial position in England.

In fact, this role is only Cioffi’s second managerial job and he will certainly be looking to rewrite the wrongs from his first position – where he was sacked by Lega Pro Seconda Divisione club Gavorrano after only securing one win from his first ten matches.

He’s held several coaching positions since retiring from the playing side of things in 2012, staying with Carpi as assistant coach for a full campaign.

The short stint at Gavorrano then comes, before Cioffi relocated himself to Australia and worked as youth coach for Eastern United FC. He went back to Italy for a short spell as youth coach at Südtirol but was quickly on a plane once again, this time to move to Al Jazira Club in the United Arab Emirates.

In December 2016, the Italian joined compatriot Gianfranco Zola as part of his backroom staff at Championship outfit Birmingham City but left in April 2017 – moving to Crawley last month when replacing outgoing manager Harry Kewell.


Stadium – Broadfield Stadium

A relatively new stadium in comparison to some of the more prestigious and historical venues across League Two, Broadfield Stadium has been home for Crawley Town since it was built in 1997.

A mixture of terracing and seating, Broadfield Stadium is the second smallest across the entirety of the division, only trailing Forest Green Rovers’ The New Lawn, and has an official capacity of 6,134.

The record attendance at the stadium is slightly smaller than the official capacity, but it wasn’t a happy afternoon for the majority of the 5,880 spectators there as Crawley Town were knocked out of the FA Cup by Reading thanks to an Adam Le Fondre double on 5th January 2013.

On matchday, County will have seated tickets running alongside the pitch and terraced tickets available for behind the goal. Find out more ticket information here.

Despite being a relatively new stadium, County have actually visited the stadium on 10 previous occasions – starting with a 2-2 draw on 28th August 1999 thanks to goals from Carl Dale and Lee Brown.

County then secured back-to-back victories there by score lines of 2-1 and 1-0 on 5th May 2001 and 23rd February 2002 respectively, before suffering their first defeat at Broadfield Stadium 2-0 on 7th September 2002.

Another victory then comes in a 2-1 success on 26th April 2004 before a six-year break when returning after County stormed to the Conference South title in the previous campaign.

Danny Rose, Craig Reid and Darryl Knights all scored in-front of 467 County supporters in a 3-2 victory on 16th October 2010, before the Exiles again won by the same scoreline on 8th October 2013 when 81 away fans made the trip for a Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie. 

The remaining three visits to Broadfield Stadium all come in League Two, starting with the 2-0 defeat on St David’s Day 2016 when 105 supporters travelled for the midweek fixture.

Crawley again won on County’s next visit, this time by three goals to one when 107 supporters travelled to West Sussex on 16th December 2016, but the Exiles got their revenge last season when a Mickey Demetriou double gave them a 2-1 success on 26th September 2017. A total of 75 away supporters were present that night.   


Meetings in the 2017/18 campaign

Two identical score lines and a full return of six points for County in the two meetings against Crawley Town last season as they controlled the fixture both home and away.

That starts with the first fixture between the two sides on 26th September 2017 as County came from behind to win and make the journey home from the Stadium that little bit more special.

Crawley’s opener came on the half hour as Mark Connolly connected superbly to an Enzio Boldewijn delivery to head home, before Mickey Demetriou levelled proceedings on 40 minutes with a header of his own from a Sean Rigg corner-kick. 

In truth, Red Devils goalkeeper Glenn Morris probably should have commanded his area more and punched the ball before it reached Demetriou, but he didn’t, and failed to learn from that mistake as exactly the same thing happened on 51 minutes to put County in-front.

It was nothing more than County deserved for an encouraging start to second-half proceedings, but they still had to hold on to secure victory, Josh Yorwerth hit the post 60 seconds before the end, but they couldn’t find the equaliser and the Exiles took the points.

Watch the highlights.

Read the full match report from the Stadium.

In the reverse fixture, Friday Night Football hit Rodney Parade and the Exiles once again came out on top against their League Two counterparts by a 2-1 scoreline.

County hit the woodwork twice in the early stages and had to work hard for what was a deserved lead, but it came on 40 minutes as Ben White found Padraig Amond unmarked in the area and the Irishman did the rest.

If there’s one thing you can say about Demetriou and his relationship with Crawley Town, it’s that he likes scoring against them, and he got his fourth in three matches against the Red Devils when converting a penalty just before half-time.

Away captain Jimmy Smith did pull a goal back in the second-half after a scramble in the area eventually afforded him some time to shoot, but County held on quite comfortably from there to ensure it was a night to remember ahead of facing Tottenham Hotspur eight days later.

Watch the highlights.

Read the full match report from Rodney Parade.



Referee: Charles Breakspear

Assistant Referee 1: Richard Kendall

Assistant Referee 2: Thomas Ramsey

Fourth Official: Stephen Brown

Breakspear is currently embarking on his sixth season as a Football League referee having officiated his first match in League Two on the opening day of the 2013/14 campaign when York City started the campaign off in perfect fashion having secured a 1-0 victory over Northampton Town.

He has refereed 14 matches this season, giving out 43 yellow cards and seven red cards, including brandishing two yellows and a red in his inaugural fixture as Stevenage and Tranmere Rovers drew 2-2 at the Lamex Stadium.

Two matches have been officiated this season by Breakspear without a single booking being awarded – the EFL Cup draw between Millwall and Gillingham which the Championship side won on penalties, alongside the draw between Portsmouth and Shrewsbury Town in League Two.

Breakspear has given out more than one red card for a fixture just once this season and that match included Crawley Town. Josh Payne was sent off for the Red Devils, as were James Dunne and Toumani Diagouraga for Swindon Town, when the sides drew 2-2 at Broadfield Stadium.

That follows on from refereeing a total of 47 games during the 2017/18 campaign, a season in which Breakspear brandished 163 yellow cards and 18 red cards throughout the entirety of the campaign.


County Connection

Breakspear has refereed a match involving Newport County AFC on 13 previous occasions. He is not the luckiest of omens for the Exiles, however, as they have won only three of those previous matches – drawing another five and losing the remaining five.

Last season, Breakspear refereed three matches involving County, starting with the 1-1 home draw with Mansfield Town on 21st October 2017. Only Dan Butler was cautioned from a County perspective.

There were red cards brandished in the other two games that season, captain Joss Labadie getting dismissed alongside bookings for Mickey Demetriou, Frank Nouble and Shawn McCoulsky in the 2-0 defeat to Wycombe Wanderers on Boxing Day 2017.

Swindon Town’s Rollin Menayese was then dismissed for a second bookable offence as County beat the Robins 2-1 at Rodney Parade on 14th April 2018.

In the 2016/17 campaign, another three County matches were officiated by Breakspear, the first of which saw Luton Town convert both penalties in their 2-1 victory at Kenilworth Road. The Exiles received six bookings - Dan Butler, Darren Jones, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Mark Randall, Ben Tozer and Jon Parkin the offenders.

He again refereed County on Boxing Day but they again suffered defeat as Portsmouth fought from two goals behind to win 3-2 at Rodney Parade. Bookings for Jazzi Barnum Bobb, Ben Tozer and Rhys Healey.

Breakspear refereed both County games against Luton that season and the teams played out a 1-1 draw at Rodney Parade on 21st March 2017. Mark O’Brien was sent off for two bookable offences, whilst Tom Owen-Evans, Joss Labadie, David Pipe and Sean Rigg received yellows.

In the 2015/16 season, Breakspear only refereed one game and it was arguably the biggest of the campaign in the Emirates FA Cup tie with Blackburn Rovers on 18th January 2016. Both sides received a red card, Joe Day for County and Chris Brown for Blackburn, alongside a further booking for Connor Dymond.

Again it was just the one game officiated by Breakspear in 2014/15, but it wasn’t the greatest affair as the Exiles drew 0-0 at Plymouth Argyle. Ismail Yakubu and Andy Sandell were both booked on 21st March 2015.  

In County’s first season back in the Football League, Breakspear again refereed one game but it didn’t go to plan as Dagenham & Redbridge won 2-1 at Rodney Parade. David Pipe was sent off, with further bookings for Lee Minshull and Tom Naylor on 19th March 2014.

In County’s non-league days, Breakspear officiated another four fixtures and they all came during the 2012/13 promotion season, starting with the 0-0 draw with Stockport County on 8th September 2012.

Ismail Yakubu was booked as County beat Mansfield Town 2-0 on 12th February 2013, Tony James and Michael Flynn were cautioned in a 1-1 draw at Ebbsfleet Town on 9th March 2013, while no yellows were given as Braintree Town were overcome 1-0 on 9th April 2013.


Other League Two matches that day (All 3pm kick-offs)

Bury FC vs Notts County

Forest Green Rovers vs Cheltenham Town

Grimsby Town vs Exeter City

Lincoln City vs Cambridge United

Macclesfield Town vs Carlisle United

Milton Keynes Dons vs Northampton Town

Morecambe vs Colchester United

Oldham Athletic vs Port Vale

Stevenage vs Crewe Alexandra

Swindon Town vs Mansfield Town

Yeovil Town vs Tranmere Rovers


Travelling to the game?

All your travel, parking and ticket information can be found here. 


Can’t make the match?

You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook, Snapchat 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 from 2.45pm.

An on-the-whistle match report of this match will be provided on the Club website upon the end of the game. Michael Flynn’s post-match analysis will appear on the website the day after the game, while you can watch all of Flynn’s post-match press conference as-well as two County players by subscribing to iFollow Exiles.