Two early goals saw Notts County suffer a 2-0 defeat away to Crawley Town.
The home side went in front after just 14 minutes, Kelly Youga’s spectacular overhead kick flew past Roy Carroll from an Anthony Wordsworth corner.
They doubled their lead only minutes later, Darren Ward this time nodding in from close range, again courtesy of an Anthony Wordsworth set-piece.
Notts did come close to pulling a goal back through both Garry Thompson and Jimmy Spencer, but Brian Jensen was equal to both efforts.
Izale McLeod nearly made it three, but a fantastic tackle from Jordan Williams denied the striker.
The defeat was Notts’ first in six games and the first under Ricardo Moniz.
Notts’ manager Ricardo Moniz named an unchanged team from the side that clinched a dramatic late equaliser on Tuesday night, after drawing 1-1 with Barnsley at Meadow Lane. It was Balint Bajner who grabbed the last gasp leveller after coming off the bench midway through the second half, and he started the game at Crawley again on the bench. Gary Jones played out a man of the match performance in midweek, and it was him and Alan Smith in the centre of midfield. Curtis Thompson returned to the side off the bench on Tuesday following an injury and he started the game on the bench again at Crawley.
It was the home side who got the game underway, but the Magpies were quick to test Brian Jensen in the Crawley goal. Graham Burke latched on to a loose ball. He drove at the opposition’s defence before aiming for the near post. Jensen was scrambling across his goal mouth, but Burke’s shot went just wide.
Crawley were looking to get an early goal themselves, Lewis Young opted for the long throw on a number of occasions, but the Magpies cleared their lines. A long punt from Jordan Williams was flicked on by Garry Thompson into the path of Jimmy Spencer. He had to go it alone, so decided to strike from distance, but his effort flew over the bar.
Despite seeing little of the ball in the opening stages, Crawley took the lead through an excellent effort. Josh Simpson won the home side a corner, Anthony Wordsworth took the set-piece and it was pinpoint for Kelly Youga, who tried the overhead kick and the connection was perfect as it flew past Roy Carroll.
Crawley continued their pressure from the goal and scored a second goal only moments later. It was Wordsworth again with a freekick. He whipped it into the box for Darren Ward to head home from close range.
Notts looked to get back into the game instantly. Blair Adams and Graham Burke combined on the left, Adams crossed, Jimmy Spencer got a head to it, but Jensen got up well to tip the effort over the bar. Adams nearly had a chance himself, but Crawley closed down well to deny the left back a sight on goal.
Notts were starting to carve Crawley open as they looked to pull a goal back. Gary Jones crossed for Garry Thompson, whose header looked to be going in, but Jensen was there again to tip his shot over the bar.
An injury to Paddy McCourt forced Notts into a change on the half an hour mark, Balint Bajner the replacement. Jones again tested Jensen in the Crawley goal. Burke’s corner was cleared to the midfielder, who hit his shot first time, but Jensen got down low to deny the strike from distance.
Crawley always looked dangerous on the break as Notts continued to retain possession. They had pace and power in the front line which made the game difficult for the Magpies defence.
HT: Crawley Town 2 - 0 Notts County
After the break, the away side were in on goal almost instantly. Jimmy Spencer played it out wide to an on running Garry Thompson, his first touch was a little heavy as Brian Jensen gathered up the ball with the forward baring down on goal.
Moniz made another attacking change as they sought to get back in the game. Will Hayhurst came on for Blair Adams. However it was Crawley who continued their attack on the Notts defence and should have gone three goals ahead. Mathias Pogba crossed in the from the right, Izale McLeod rose above everybody in the Notts defence, but his free header went wide of the target.
It was becoming a scrappy and slow game going into the last 30 minutes of the match. Notts were struggling to create anything up front, with Crawley’s defence remaining solid at the back.. Hayhurst was feeding a number of crosses into the box, but the forward line failed to get on the end of his threating passes.
Curtis Thompson was introduced as he continues to return from injury, he replaced Spencer. Crawley were looking comfortable with possession, playing amongst themselves at the back, whilst then sending up field for McLeod to run on to. A mistake from Jordan Williams allowed Crawley’s top scorer in on goal, however the Liverpool loanee made up for his mistake by making a last ditch tackle. The rebound fell to substitute Dean Morgan, but he skied the ball over the bar, with the goal open.
County did come close to pulling a goal back. A Graham Burke corner fell to Gary Jones, he hit it first time but it went well wide of the target. A rare second half chance for the Magpies to get back in the game.
Notts did continue to push forward in search of goal as five minutes added time was announced, but Crawley’s defence stayed strong at the back and didn’t allow any Notts players space to get in behind.
FT: Crawley Town 2 – 0 Notts County