Crawley Town 1-3 Stevenage: Alex Revell's late double clinches victory for Dino Maamria's impressive Boro
PUBLISHED: 17:09 11 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:29 12 August 2018
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Two late goals from Stevenage’s experienced Alex Revell sealed a battling 3-1 victory over Crawley Town 3-1 in League Two on Saturday.
The wily Revell nodded home on 88 minutes after an Alex Reid cross in a hard-fought match against Harry Kewell’s men, before clinching the victory with a second four minutes into injury time with a cool finish following a James Ferry through ball.
First half substitute Reid – who replaced the injured Danny Newton after he left the field with a hip complaint on 36 minutes – nodded home three minutes after the break to put Dino Maamria’s Stevenage 1-0 up.
The summer signing from Fleetwoood Town outjumped Romain Vincelot to get on the end of a Luke Wildin cross from the right flank to guide his header past home keeper Glenn Morris – sending the 140 travelling fans into raptures in a crowd of 2,102,
The joy was shortlived as six minutes later Crawley’s giant striker Ollie Palmer made it two goals in two games to level at Broadfield Stadium.
Earlier former Colchester forward Curtis Guthrie made his first start for Maamria’s men after being one of 14 new signings arriving at the Lamex this summer.
The Sussex version of the Red Devils fielded an unchanged side after their 1-0 victory at Cheltenham at last Saturday to mark the start of Kewell’s second season in charge.
Three of his players made their home debuts, Palmer, Crawley’s match winner at Whaddon Road a week ago, Dominic Poleon and George Francomb.
Boro were looking for revenge after Crawley took four points out of six against Boro last term.
The visitors from North Herts suffered a 1-0 defeat the last time they visited Broadfield Stadium in their final match of 2017.
The result followed on from a hard-fought 1-1 draw at the Lamex two months earlier which saw Ibrahim Meite cancel out a Danny Newton opener.
In a shapeless opening it was clear the home side’s physicality and fitness levels were to be a match for Stevenage.
What was also apparent was that Kewell’s men were prepared to play a more direct style to suit their 6ft 5in frontman, Palmer, who signed from Lincoln City in June.
The first shot on goal was on 26 minutes when Guthrie fired a low shot from outside the box at Crawley keeper Glenn Morris, who gathered at the second opportunity.
However, as referee Peter Wright blew for half time on this absorbing battle high on commitment but lacking in penetration and composure in the final third a goalless opening 45 minutes was a fair – some would say the only – reflection on the offering produced by both teams.
The second half started with a bang as first half substitute Reid headed home 180 seconds after the interval to send the travelling Boro fans behind home keeper Morris’ goal to put Maamria’s men 1-0 up.
The joy was shortlived as the giant Palmer nodded home with a back post header on 53 minutes to level the scores and dampen Stevenage spirits after a Filipe Morais cross.
There followed a period of home domination which fired the crowd, even if the end result saw promising moves break down as the well-organised Boro defence held firm. With 11 minutes remaining former Spurs academy player Emmanuel Sonupe replaced Guthrie and nearly scored with his first touches, after the ball fell to him in a crowded box, but his shot was defelcted narrowly wide.
But that was before Revell’s late victory double to seal an impressive triumph for Maamria’s men to send the visiting fans into raptures, safe in the belief their team will surprise many in this division this season.