Sat 18th Aug 2018
Crawley Green 3-4 TAFC First team
TAFC goals: Luke Dunstan (2), Ashton Campbell, Kieran Turner (pen)
LUKE'S BRACE SECURES LATE DRAMATIC WIN
Phew what a finale to this enthralling seven goal thriller. With just a few minutes of normal time left we seemed to be heading for our first league defeat of the season but then Luke Dunstan, ably assisted by Carl Mensah, came to the rescue with two late goals to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
It was a fully deserved win as we had dominated possession and territory and created a lot of gilt edge chances, but some profligacy in front of goal nearly proved to be costly.
This was our first visit to Crawley Green's new stadium and it made a change for our players to strut their stuff on a green playing surface, not well watered grass but an artificial 3G pitch. The game was played against the background noise of airplanes regularly flying over from nearby Luton Airport.
We made three changes from Saturday's line up with starts for Ben Johnson, Jack Read and new keeper Andrew McIntosh, our third custodian of the season. Ian and his team adopted a more attacking line up with Jack Read joining Ashton Campbell up front.
Our hosts had started the season off impressively, winning their opening 3 games, scoring 12 goals and conceding just 3. As well as facing an in form home side we also had to cope with an unfamiliar playing surface but it seemed to suit us very well as we dominated the opening half hour during which we played some great attacking football.
We looked dangerous from the start with Kieran Turner having an early shot blocked and Jack Read was off target with an effort after Luke Dunstan had flicked on Chris Vardy cross. In the 5th minute Ashton Campbell challenged the home keeper to a long ball which fell to Jack Read who fired a possible opportunity over.
A minute later Kieran Turner got to the bye line and crossed to Jack Read who failed to convert a chance he would normally put away in his sleep. Later Ben Johnson instigated a move that led to Ashton Campbell striking a shot at the keeper. We went even closer in the 12th minute when Alex Campana's cross struck the bar and post before bouncing away to safety.
The early pressure finally produced a result when we took the lead in the 18th minute. Sam Joliffe lofted a lovely pass down the left for Chris Vardy who is relishing his new role of left back. Vards crossed to Ashton Campbell who took his time to pick his spot and slot home his 3rd goal of the season. Score 0-1.
Very little had been seen of the home attack but they shocked us by equalising 9 minutes later in somewhat fortunate circumstances when what looked like an intended cross from right back Mark Bunker sailed over Andrew McIntosh and found the net. Score 1-1.
This seemed to spur on the home side and chances were created at both ends. Ashton Campbell headed a great cross from Chris Vardy wide and Green's prolific centre forward Oluwanimilo Ajigbolamu, who had already got 5 goals to his name this season, put an easier chance over from close range when nicely placed at the far post.
Mark Riddick struck a lovely shot when a free kick fell to him forcing the keeper to tip the ball round the post and Jack Read was just unable to get a decent contact to cross from Alex Campana with the ball just rolling the wrong side of the post. Then Chris Vardy linked up nicely with Kieran Turner with the former smacking a shot into the side netting.
With half time looming we got in a muddle from a cross only half clearing the ball to Brandon Carney. The Green winger had his back to goal but produced a superb over head kick to find the net. So despite creating a host of chances and having much more of the play we went in at the break a goal behind. HT Score 2-1.
The second half resembled a game of attack against defence as we piled forward looking for an equaliser and Green defended in depth hoping to catch us on the break.
Four minutes after the restart Alex Campana's free kick found Mark Riddick whose close range bullet header went wide of the goal. Soon afterwards Ben Johnson combined with Alex Campana and Luke Dunstan before shooting wide of the goal. Our players thought we should have had a penalty in the 52nd minute when Ashton Campbell fierce drive appeared to be kept out by a defenders arm, but nothing was given.
It was a carbon copy of the first half with us doing the attacking and creating the better scoring opportunities but it was our opponents who showed us how to finish. Picking a loose ball up in midfield the skillful Brandon Carney worked his way into our area before crossing for Ajigbolamu to score. Score 3-1.
It seemed incongruous that after playing so well we were facing defeat but fortunately we were given a life line just 3 minutes later when the referee awarded us a penalty for a foul on Ashton Campbell. After missing two penalties already this season Kieran Turner took over the responsibility and coolly sent the keeper the wrong way to reduce the deficit back to one goal. Score 3-2.
Our opponents dropped deeper as we pushed forward leaving ourselves vulnerable to quick breaks. Mid way through the half Green produced a fine move to set up Morgan who fired a firm shot over. Later Ajigbolamu broke through two tackles but Andrew McIntosh kept us in the game by making a fine save from the home centre forward.
Ashton Campbell fired a shot from the right just past the far post and Elliott Goward did likewise from the other flank. With Green defending for their lives and the clock ticking towards full time it looked as if we would run out of time then with two minutes of normal time left Luke Dunstan stood up to the mark and finally make the break through.
It came from an Elliott Goward corner which Carl Mensah nodded back towards the far side where Luke produced an athletic bicycle kick to crack the ball into the net. It was a superb finish and a great way to open his account for the season. Score 3-3.
With our hosts stunned by this very late intervention we went for the jugular and we got even more joy a minute into added time. Again it stemmed from an Elliott Goward corner which fell to Carl Mensah. The big man showed great skill to lose his marker and strike a shot that the keeper pushed out. Luke was the first to react to slot home a dramatic winner. Score 3-4.
There was one moment of panic when Ajigbolamu went down in the box with the home supporters naturally calling for a penalty but the referee waved away their appeals and we were able to hold on for a very good win. FT Score 3-4.
This was a terrific come back by the players who showed tremendous spirit and determination to keep going to the end to secure a win against a very good team. It was a fully merited 3 points which moved us up to second in the table behind Biggleswade FC who have 9 points from 3 games, 2 more points than us.
Our next game will be at home to London Tigers on Saturday for a league fixture.
CG:1 Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton 2 Mark Bunker (14 Sam McClelland 89) 3 Sam Willett 4 Sam Pemberton 5 Kyle Lincoln (Capt) 6 Michael Moss 7 Connor Waite (12 Sam Peverall HT) 8 Tyler Ingham 9 Oluwanimilo Ajigbolamu 10 Aaron Morgan 11 Brandon Carney (15 Gulain Lusambya 81). Subs not used: 16 Donik Sopa 17 Billy Lobjoit.
TA:1 Andrew McIntosh 2 Ben Johnson (14 Joe Fitzgerald 77) 3 Chris Vardy 4 Mark Riddick 5 Luke Dunstan 6 Carl Mensah 7 Alex Campana (12 Billie Busari 65) 8 Sam Joliffe (Capt) 9 Ashton Campbell 10 Kieran Turner 11 Jack Read (16 Elliott Goward 60). Sub not used: 15 Roy Byron.
CG:Mark Bunker (27), Brandon Carney 941), Oluwanimilo Ajigbolamu (55)
TA:Ashton Campbell (18), Kieran Turner Pen (58), Luke Dunstan (86, 90+1)
The following report has been taken from the website of Crawley Green FC
Brandon Carney (1)
Mark Bunker (1)
Oluwanimilo Ajigbolamu (1)
Saturday 18th Aug, 2018
Crawley Green FC 3 v Tring Athletic FC 4
In a pulsating game Crawley Green conceded two goals in the last three minutes as Tring completed their comeback from 3-1 down to run out 3-4 winners.
Although their were many twists and turns through out the afternoon quite frankly the visitors should have had the game sewn up in the first 15 minutes. From the first whistle Tring completely dominated the game.
In the opening minutes Alex Campana had a shot blocked and Jack Read shot wide from the rebound. Crawley were then caught out by a long ball and Ashton Campbell collided with Crawley cover keeper Danzelle St.Louis-Hamilton. The ball fell to Read who shot over when it seemed easier to score. Minutes later an unmarked Read missed an even easier chance when failed to convert a cross by Kieran Turner.
Crawley replied with a good run from Oluwanimilo Ajigbolamu which was cleared by Chris Vardy and then had a cross from Sam Pemberton which was scrambled out for a corner.
Back came Tring as Turner set up Campbell who shot straight at St Louis-Hamilton. Campana then had a cross that hit the bar and post before it was cleared and in the 18th minute the visitors deservedly took the lead. Vardy made ground down the left and his cross was turned in by Campbell to make it 0-1.
Crawley then got into the game with an Aaron Morgan free kick which was deflected for a corner. Morgan took the corner and Kyle Lincoln headed wide. After 27 minutes Crawley drew level. Mark Bunker collected the ball on the right and curled a shot over Andrew McIntosh to make it 1-1.
Tring's Campbell and Crawley's Ajigbolamu went close at either end before St Louis-Hamilton made a fine save to deny Mark Riddick. Campana turned provider for that man Read and you guessed it he sliced his shot wide. Vardy then played in Campbell who shot into the side netting.
After weathering the storm Crawley scored the goal of the game after 41 minutes. Pemberton crossed from the left and Brandon Carney converted with an overhead kick which flew past McIntosh and it finished 2-1 at the break.
Tring continued to dominate after the break and Riddick headed wide from a Campana free kick followed by an effort from Ben Johnson which went wide. Campbell was next to fire in a shot which cannoned off Lincoln for a corner with Tring howling for a penalty.
Crawley bounced back and increased their lead after 55 minutes. This time Carney turned provider with a cross for Ajigbolamu to make it 3-1. Crawley desperately needed to hold on to their 2 goal advantage but 3 minutes later Tring reduced the deficit.
Sam Peverall conceded possession and a Vardy cross from the left caused mayhem in the Crawley box. The net result was a booking for Lincoln and penalty for the visitors. Kieran Turner stepped up to comfortably convert the spot kick to make it 3-2.
From the restart Tyler Ingham went close for Crawley and Tring replied with efforts from Campbell and Turner which were saved by St Louis-Hamilton. After 80 minutes Ajigbolamu went through after being set up by Carney but McIntosh was quickly off his line and the chance for 4-2 was gone.
It seemed inevitable that if Crawley conceded, Tring would go on to win the game and that feeling proved to be correct. With Crawley missing several experienced players due to various commitments they were unable to stem the tide of attacks. Tring swarmed forward in search of an equaliser which duly followed after 88 minutes.
A corner from the left was headed back across the goal and Luke Dunstan was on hand to make it 3-3. Crawley were desperately hanging on but in added time they conceded again. Another corner from the left resulted in a shot that St Louis-Hamilton should have caught but he parried the ball to the grateful Dunstan who smashed the ball home to make 3-4 and seal the game.
Although it would have been a smash a grab if Crawley had hung onto a point, disappointingly they had nothing to show for their part in a thoroughly entertaining game which Tring deserved to win.
Next Saturday 25 August 18 Crawley Green entertain Aylesbury United in the Preliminary Round of the Emirates FA Cup.