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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
22:04 18th March 2014

Crestfallen At Crawley

Crawley Town 2 (B. Clarke 26, Tubbs 31)

Wolves 1 (Henry 25)

After taking the lead against Crawley Town, Wolves conceded twice in the five minutes that followed and then failed to make any impression on the home defence as they struggled to get back into the game. 

It was a disappointing performance by Wanderers – one that resulted in a first defeat since early January. 

Skipper Samuel Ricketts returned to the side as the only change from the team that were held to a draw at Molineux by Shrewsbury Town three days earlier.

Wolves kicked-off defending the end of the ground that was crammed with their supporters on a pitch that was heavily sanded on the halfway line near the players tunnel.

Crawley enjoyed the attacking play in the opening stages and Danny Batth blocked a shot from Josh Simpson after Matt Tubbs had pulled the ball back into his path.

The first attempt for the visitors came from James Henry whose effort from fully 35-yards out was too high to trouble Town keeper Paul Jones.

Carl Ikeme had to push the ball over after Tubbs chipped the ball towards goal and Billy Clarke’s corner was cleared by Batth.

Nouha Dicko drove narrowly wide although Jones was there to watch the ball go wide, before Wolves moved into a 25th minute lead. Henry took the ball from the centre circle before hitting a shot from 25-yards (pictured) that took a deflection. Jones got a foot to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.

Wolves’ joy proved to be short lived as Crawley pulled level just a minute later. Andy Drury played a low ball into the box and Clarke ran in to slot the ball home from the right of the six-yard box.

Bakary Sako fired high over the bar after Michael Jacobs had played the ball to him before the Crawley fans were celebrating again in the 31st minute as Tubbs found space on the edge of the box before lobbing the ball over the stranded Ikeme.

In the 36th minute Kenny Jackett made a change to his formation going from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2 after the introduction of Leon Clarke who took the place of Jacobs.

There was a chance for Kevin McDonald after Jones had failed to collect a Dicko shot cleanly but the keeper recovered to claim the ball in a nick of time as the midfielder closed in.

Wolves should have been level five minutes before the break as Leon Clarke ran onto Batth’s through ball. Jones made a fine save parrying to deny the striker but Henry, running in, put the loose ball over the bar from eight-yards out.

Half-Time: Crawley 2 Wolves 1

Henry had a low effort from 20-yards well saved by Jones at the expense of a corner that was taken by Sako and cleared by the home defence.

Town enjoyed much of the attacking threat although Ikeme wasn’t called upon to make any saves of note. But the keeper had to be alert as he sprinted from his line to save at the feet of Simpson. 

Little was going right for the Molineux men when they went forward but there was finally a chance for Sako when the ball broke to him and he hit a left-foot angled shot that Jones parried at his near post. Henry’s corner was cleared.

A double switch for Wolves followed with Lee Evans taking the place of Jack Price and Dave Edwards that of Sako.

Henry blasted the ball high and wide after teeing himself up for a volley and, at the other end, Simpson was a lot closer with a neat flick that just missed the far post after a low cross from substitute Jamie Proctor.

There was another chance for Town when Proctor got his head to Billy Clarke’s cross with the ball flying across the face of goal and wide.

Edwards laid a pass off to Dicko whose shot went out of the ground, then Henry became the only man booked in the game after a foul on Dennie Bulman.

In the dying minutes, Edwards had a shot blocked, a Ricketts centre went into the side netting and Jones saved an effort from Leon Clarke although the referee had already blown for a foul.

It climaxed a bitterly disappointing night for the near 2,000 that had travelled down from Wolverhampton.

Crawley: P. Jones, Sadler, M. Connolly, McFadzean, Clarke, Drury, Simpson (capt), Walsh, Bulman, Tubbs (Proctor 68), M. Jones.

Unused subs: Torres, Kaikai, Boateng, Maddison, Dicker, P. Connolly.

Wolves: Ikeme, Golbourne, Ricketts, McDonald, Batth (capt), Stearman, Jacobs (L. Clarke 36), Price (Evans 74), Dicko, Henry, Sako (Edwards 74). 

Unused subs: McCarey, Doherty,Elokobi, McAlinden.

Booking: Henry (87 – foul). 

Referee: C. Berry.

Attendance: 5,680 (1,962 away supporters).

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