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MATCH PREVIEW: Crawley Town vs Swindon Town

Robins return to league action with trip to Broadfield…

2 December 2022

After a two week break, Scott Lindsey’s side face Crawley Town this weekend looking to bounce back to winning ways with a valuable three points.

Town are currently just a point outside the play-off places, while tomorrow’s opponents sit just three clear of the relegation zone with a new manager in the hotseat.

Here’s our preview ahead of the crunch clash, which gets underway at 3pm.

The lowdown…

Founded as Crawley Football Club in 1896, they helped found the West Sussex League a year later before moving across to the Mid-Sussex division.

The club actually disbanded in 1935, but re-established themselves in the Brighton, Hove and District League three years later, before switching divisions again in 1951 to the Sussex County League.

Further moves ensued to the Metropolitan League five years on, before turning semi-professional in 1962 and heading into the Southern League twelve months later.

After securing promotion out of Division One in 1968/69, they were to be relegated the following year.

The 1983/84 season arrived and saw Town promoted to the Southern League Premier Division, where they stayed for a total of 21 seasons, before promotion into the Conference as champions in 2003/04.

In 2005, they turned fully professional but were hit hard by financial difficulties and entered administration the following year.

They survived, and under the stewardship of Steve Evans, reached the Football League as Conference champions in 2010/11, and then secured promotion to League Two.

Three seasons were spent in League One before relegation back to League Two in 2015 where they’ve remained ever since.

Previous meetings…

Swindon have work to do if they’re to turn around a poor run of recent results against this weekend’s opposition.

Just one win in their last twelve meetings means the history books favour the hosts on Saturday, with that last win for Town coming back in October 2019.

Looking back at the last six, the two sides met twice last term in League Two.

In the first clash of the season, back in February, the tie at the County Ground ended all square with a 1-1 draw.

Ben Gladwin’s stoppage time winner saved Swindon’s blushes after Jack Powell had converted a first-half penalty that day.

In the return a month later, Crawley emerged 3-1 winners on home turf, with Josh Davison’s equalising goal proving a consolation.

You then have to go back to the 2019/20 campaign in League Two for the next showdown between the pair.

Swindon inflicted a painful 4-0 drubbing on their West Sussex opponents in October of that year.

Eoin Doyle helped himself to a hat-trick that day with Jerry Yates rubbing salt into the wounds with a late fourth, before the proposed second fixture that season was cancelled due to the COVID.

The 2018/19 campaign saw the tie at Broadfield end two-apiece in August 2018, as Swindon let a two goal lead slip to share the spoils, before a narrow 1-0 defeat at SN1 followed later that season.

Crewe’s season so far…

It’s proved a turbulent campaign for Crawley so far this term with The Red Devils currently sitting nineteenth in the standings, just three points above the drop zone.

Just one win in their last seven games in all competitions spelt the end of the road for interim manager Lewis Young, who’d stepped in following the sacking of Kevin Betsy in October, with former West Ham and Tottenham midfielder Matthew Etherington taking the reins last week.

One win in their first six in all competitions meant their season didn’t start ideally, but they’ve taken heart from some confident cup performances to add league points to the board.

Despite a poor recent run overall, Crawley have only been defeated once in their last five league encounters, with that loss coming away at Walsall last month.

The manager: Matthew Etherington…

As mentioned above, Matthew Etherington has been appointed the new manager of Crawley, with tomorrow’s fixture marking his first in the hotseat.

Despite an impressive playing CV boasting the likes of West Ham, Tottenham and Stoke City, the now 41-year-old embarks on his first full-time role as a manager.

Before his appointment at The Peoples Pension Stadium, the former midfielder was coach of Peterborough United’s Under-18s, where he’d come through the ranks more than 20 years’ previously.

He’s also had a spell as assistant and more recently, caretaker boss back in February this year, following the departure of Darren Ferguson.

Players to watch…

With any side looking to taste success on the domestic front, a consistent goal scorer is key, and Crawley have one in their ranks.

Anthony Nadesan has helped himself to six league goals so far this term in his eighteen appearances, although he’s managed just one in his last six in all competitions having notched four in October.

James Tilley is having a great season in Town colours, with the right-winger finding the net of five occasions.

The former Brighton youngster has settled in well since joining almost a year ago, and will be a player Swindon will need to be wary of tomorrow.

The same goes for centre-forward Tom Nichols, who hasn’t found the net as much as he would have wanted this term, but has contributed six assists in the league games he’s featured.

The 29-year-old is capable of unlocking defences and bringing team mates into play, and is a key member of the Crawley starting eleven.

Former Newport County striker Dominic Telford is also a threat and gives Matthew Etherington another option with regards to firepower.

Liverpool loanee James Balagizi is experiencing his first taste of senior football and has produced some impressive displays that have caught the eye.

Two goals and an assist for the exciting 19-year-old shows he’s hit the ground running at Broadfield.

Another loan player has also been quick to make his mark in the shape of Teddy Jenks.

The 20-year-old Brighton prospect has made ten appearances for Crawley this term, and has slotted nicely into their midfield.

There’s a familiar face in the Town ranks too, with former Swindon defender Dion Conroy occupying their number three shirt.

The 26-year-old departed SN1 in the summer to join The Red Devils after five years as a Robin, racking up 113 league appearances in total.

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