Newport County 0, Crawley Town 4: Reds record biggest away win of the season and return to play-offs with impressive display

Crawley Town picked up their ninth – and biggest – League Two away win of the season, beating Newport County 4-0 at Rodney Parade on Easter Monday and saw them go back into the play-offs.
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It was a brilliant response to Good Friday’s defeat to Doncaster as goals from Dion Conroy, Ronan Darcy, Laurence Maguire and Adam Campbell saw them to the impressive victory.

Conroy, returning from injury, was one of three changes to the side who lost 2-0 to Doncaster Rovers at the Broadfield Stadium. He, Kellan Gordon and Nick Tsaroulla came in to replace Joy Mukena, Ade Adeyemo and Harry Forster, who missed out completely through injury.

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Conroy was given the captain’s armband and he led from the front with the opening goal inside the first 60 seconds. After the Reds won a corner on their first attack, a passing routine ended with Will Wright whipping in a superb cross and Conroy was on hand to volley home. It was the perfect start a reminiscent of their start at Tranmere nine days ago.

But Newport fought back and put Reds under a lot pressure without any real threat. But on 14 minutes, Will Evans beat the offside trap and had plenty of time to line-up a shot but Corey Addai was more than equal to the shot and saved well.

A minute later Conroy gave away a free kick on the edge of the area, but Evans’ effort deflected wide off his own player. Addai was then booked for time wasting.

Offrande Zanzala then couldn’t quite get the ball out of his feet as he twice tried to shoot after breaking into the box. It was all Newport County but on 26 minutes, the Reds got a second, very much against the run of play.

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The home side were appealing for a free kick after a strong challenge from Tsaroulla. But the returning Reds favourite carried on with his run and he travelled a long way before passing to Klaidi Lolos. He turned on the edge of the area before passing to Darcy.

Dion Conroy opened the scoring for Crawley Town at Rodney Parade | Picture: Eva GilbertDion Conroy opened the scoring for Crawley Town at Rodney Parade | Picture: Eva Gilbert
Dion Conroy opened the scoring for Crawley Town at Rodney Parade | Picture: Eva Gilbert

The midfielder cut inside past two players before firing low into the corner for his sixth goal of the season. Five minutes later Darcy danced his way into the box again, but this time his shot rebounded off the post.

Lolos then broke clear a couple of times but couldn’t find a fellow white shirt or the back of the net – the second effort he should have hit first time as the keeper denied him.

Harrison Bright replaced the injured Newport skipper Scott Bennett before they had another chance to score, but Bryn Morris fired wide from the edge of the after Jay Williams was winded after blocking another shot.

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Reds did manage to see the half out to lead 2-0 but not without Williams receiving a yellow card for a foul on the centre circle.

It was a more sedate start to second half with Crawley controlling the game and possession. Lewis Payne replaced Newcastle United loanee Matthew Bondswell for the home side as they looked to try and get into the game. Omar Bogle and Luke Jephcott then came on to replace Zanzala and Seb Palmer-Houlden.

The next goal was always going to be vital and luckily for the 230 travelling Reds fans, it went their way. Having hardly threatened the home side’s goal for the first 23 minutes of the half, a long free-kick from Wright sailed into the Newport area and Maguire got behind the defence to volley home with a striker’s finish to effectively finish the game off and completely knock the wind of the home side. Campbell then replaced Danilo Orsi, who again worked hard with little reward, before Liam Kelly came on in place of Williams.

A frustrated Harry Charsley was then booked for a petulant late challenge on Liam Kelly as Reds looked to see the game out. With the game sewn up, Mukena replaced Conroy, Jack Roles came on for Lolos and Raf Khaleel made a rare appearance, replacing scorer Darcy.

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Lindsey’s men then rubbed salt into Newport wounds in added time with a brilliant fourth. Liam Kelly and Wright toyed with the home side in the midfield before the former found Gordon on the right. He crossed in and Kelly go the slightest touch on to Campbell, who fired home from 10 yards.

After Friday’s defeat to Doncaster, this was the response Lindsey would have wanted. A thoroughly professional and clinical performance which saw them claim three points and thanks to other results, get the Reds back in the play-offs, two points clear of Morecambe in eighth.

Crawley travel to Mansfield Town on Saturday.