City Ease Past Crawley In Clack Comeback

Second half goals from the returning Josh Clack, as well as singles from Matt Axell and substitute Sam Ndlovu were enough to see City ease past Crawley Down Gatwick on what was the first of many cold afternoons to come at the Countrywide Gas Stadium.

It was the visitors who had the first sight of goal, with Russell Malton playing Michael Belli in, but Belli could only drag his shot wide.

Clack tested Andrew Greaves with a cross, which Greaves spilled right into the path of Gicu Lordarche, who smashed his shot into the post.

Clack and Lordarche, who were threats throughout, both saw shots go wide before Rob Hutchings’ silky flick to Terrell Lewis, but the exciting full back’s cross couldn’t find either Lordarche or Kaleem Haitham.

The versatile Ellis Martin then put a delicious ball in from a free kick, only for the determined Clack to head wide.

In what was a half of many chances, and as a result increasing frustration, Kieran Hartley had a shot from outside of the box, which a nervy Greaves spilled, luckily for him, just wide.

There was time for one more chance before the break, with the tricky Haitham turning his defender inside out, only for Clack to head wide again.

Half Time: City 0-0 Crawley Down Gatwick

City started the second half the way they ended the first, on the attack. Hutchings was the first to test Greaves, but the visiting keeper was equal to his effort.

However, 10 minutes into the second half the goal did finally come. Lordarche picked up the ball on the halfway line and used his pace to run through Crawley’s defence only to see his shot saved, but Clack was there to head the ball into an empty net, in his first game in months.

Clack then returned the favour, setting up Lordarche who’s effort was saved onto the crossbar, as City looked to get a quick fire second goal.

Nonetheless, Crawley could well have levelled moments later. Malton fired a shot in from distance, only to be denied by City’s shotstopper Matthews.

City, though, did double their lead in the 70th minute, after Axell turned and fired a powerful shot right into the top corner past a helpless Greaves.

Debutant, Greg Peel, came on for City and saw his first effort go over the bar after brilliant build up play from Hutchings and Haitham.

Hartley then had another shot, rocketing an effort from way out, only to see it whistle inches wide, whilst Lordarche, who shone throughout and deserved a goal was denied again by Greaves.

Crawley pushed for a goal through their substitute James Day, but Matthews held on for yet another clean sheet in what has been a superb start to the season for Chi’s number one.

There was time for City to grab a third, late on as Ndlovu calmly slotted the ball home after questionable defending by the visitors.

City remain top of the league and host Windsor next Saturday in the FA Vase.

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