Blues up and running after late Ralph strike

Crawley Town 1-1 Southend United

Nathan Ralph’s late equaliser gave Mark Moseley’s Shrimpers their first point of the season, cancelling out Ashley Nadesan’s first-half opener, on Saturday.

Hitman Tom Nichols almost netted straight from the kick-off, with the Southend defence caught square, but Harry Lennon did enough to distract the former Peterborough striker.

Nicholls again fancied his chances, but Lennon was again on hand to deny the hungry hitman.

Having weathered the Red Devils’ early storm, it was the now experienced Elvis Bwomomo’s whose clever flick fooled Crawley’s Joe Doherty, on 11 minutes, but his fine drive was a good height for former Shrimpers’ stopper, Glenn Morris.

Emile Acquah and Brandon Goodship wasted possession deep in enemy territory and the Blues were punished on 21 minutes when Nadesan’s low drive beat Mark Oxley from Jake Hessenthaler’s free-kick.

Oxley then made a superb block to deny Ashley Nadesan, barely four minutes later, from Tyler Frost’s fine flick, as Crawley were threatening to end the contest within the first half-hour, with Nichols then denied by Shaun Hobson.

Hobson then had a chance to level, shortly before the interval, but was unable to direct Kyle Taylor’s set-piece goalwards.

There was no Crawley let-up and shortly after turnaround Ferguson brought out a fine Oxley block, before Nadesan headed over, when well-placed.

For all Town’s pressure they needed that second goal and almost took their foot off the gas when, on 52 minutes, Ralph started a fine move, which saw Tom Clifford find Emile Acquah, who could only shoot straight at a grateful Morris.

With both sides continuing to trade blows Frost wasted a glorious 70th-minute opportunity before Morris was fortunate to hold on to Goodship’s piledriver, a minute later.

With five minutes remaining, Ralph got the goal Southend certainly deserved, meeting the workmanlike Terrell Egbri’s right-wing cross, with a cool finish.

Despite a late Crawley flurry, with Oxley equal to sub, Ricardo German’s close-range effort, the Blues held out.

Crawley Town: Glenn Morris, George Francombe, Tony Craig, Jordan Tunnicliffe, Josh Doherty, Nathan Ferguson, Jake Hessenthaler, Tyler Frost, Ashley Nadesan, Tarryn Allarakhia (Jack Powell 61′), Tom Nichols (Ricardo German 83′) Subs not used: Tom McGill (GK), Joe McNerney, Archie Davies, Sam Matthews, Brian Galach

Southend United: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, Harry Lennon (Timothee Dieng 76′), Shaun Hobson, Nathan Ralph, Tom Clifford, (Richard Taylor 74′), Jason Demetriou, Kyle Taylor, Terrell Egbri, Brandon Goodship (Lewis Gard 90′), Emile Acquah Subs not used: Harry Seaden (GK), Lewis Gard, Harry Phillips, Matt Rush, Harry Kyprianou

Referee: Brett Huxtable
Assistants: Nicholas Cooper & Marc Wilson.
Fourth Official: Michael Chard


Brian Jeeves