Walker and King sink Crawley

Stevenage manager Darren Sarll during Stevenage vs Crawley Town, Photo: TGSPhoto

Stevenage manager Darren Sarll during Stevenage vs Crawley Town, Photo: TGSPhoto - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Stevenage posted back-to-back wins for the first time this season as goals from Tyler Walker and Jack King handed them a 2-1 victory over visitors Crawley Town.

The result was good enough to move Darren Sarll’s men into the top half of the table and the performance was full of swagger, the perfect way to build on last weekend’s thrilling success over Hartlepool United.

Just a fortnight ago Boro buckled at Grimsby, going down 5-2, but since then the introduction of the likes of King, on loan from Scunthorpe, Walker, from Nottingham Forest, and left-back Kgosi Ntlhe, a permanent deal from Peterborough, have transformed this side into a more balanced and confident outfit.

They were not even disrupted by a late change in personnel before the game as Ronnie Henry pulled up through injury with Charlie Lee coming in at right-back, while with Dean Wells (ankle) also missing out there was some good news as fellow centre-half Luke Wilkinson returned to the side.

Boro, buoyed no doubt by the 6-1 win over Hartlepool last time out, started to hit their stride quite early and Matt Godden, up top alongside last week’s two-goal star Walker, hit the back of the net but was pulled up on a tight offside, while King fired off target.

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While Tom Pett, United’s chief tormentor last week, caused Crawley left-back Chris Arthur all sorts of problems, his work wasn’t in vain; his crosses were often contested by Stevenage players as they pushed players forward.

It almost paid off, too, after 30 minutes but King’s header from a cross hit the bar and Walker’s shot was blocked.

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At the other end Fraser Franks threw himself in front of a Jason Banton shot, just as Wilkinson had done earlier in the game to deny one of Banton’s team-mates.

Just as the half came to an end Stevenage got the goal their play deserved, and it went the way of Walker with his third in two matches. He was perfectly teed up with a fine, low pass from Andrew Fox and, 20 yards out, made no mistake with a low driven shot just inside Mitchell Beeney’s left-hand post.

Stevenage began the second half as they had finished the first - on the front foot.

They soon doubled their lead, and again it started with a cute ball by Fox. This time the winger was sitting deep and sent the ball down the line on the left. Godden was soon on his bike to collect it, and once he did he waited, unchallenged, before picking out King who side-footed it home for 2-0.

Wilkinson, not satisfied with his defensive duties, then stung the hands of Beeney from about 40 yards. It was a stunning shot and almost crept in, but the keeper was just able to get enough of his wrists behind it to keep it out.

Crawley huffed and puffed - Adi Yussuf had a shot blocked while Lee’s diving header stopped Bobson Bawling from getting on the end of a cross - and they were kept at bay until the 85th minute when James Collins headed in from a couple of yards after Billy Clifford had got to the byline and sent in a high ball.

Collins then put the ball in the back of the net only to be flagged by the assistant referee, and despite a nervy last few minutes Boro held on for the win to continue their upturn in fortunes.

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