Murphy’s on fire as Red Devils march on
BRISTOL Rovers manager Darrell Clarke admitted a slow start cost his side as they slumped to a rare away defeat at in-form Crawley.
Rhys Murphy’s quickfire early double – scoring twice in a minute – set Crawley on course for a club recordequalling fourth successive Football League win.
Matty Taylor’s penalty three minutes from time came too late for Rovers to salvage a draw.
Clarke said: “A few crazy minutes cost us, big style.We weren’t good enough for the first 15 minutes and it’s cost us.Two goals in a minute from, for me, bad defending, and then we were on the back foot.
“The boys had a right good go after that, but they camped in their half.
“We’ve come away from home with a team that’s got a bit of confidence, their game management was obviously very good.
“The referee helped them along with that with the amount of time he kept chatting to players, and in the end we huffed and we puffed but we couldn’t get back in the game.”
Crawley took the lead after only nine minutes when Murphy poked home and, just a minute later, a long ball was headed straight into his path, to fire a sublime strike into the top right corner past the helpless Lee Nicholls.
Rovers then took the initiative, but couldn’t make their pressure pay as Crawley cleared two efforts from corners off the line.
Ellis Harrison’s low header early in the second half forced a save from veteran home goalkeeper Darryl Flahavan.
Crawley remained dangerous and Murphy’s mazy run could have ended in his third, but for a superb challenge by Tom Parkes.
The visitors seemed out of luck as Billy Bodin’s drive hit the post, but their persistence came good as the tricky Bodin was felled in the box by Mitch Hancox.
Taylor dispatched the resulting penalty to set up a grandstand finish but the hosts held firm.
Crawley boss Mark Yates said: “We knew it was going to be tough.We started brilliantly, the best start we’ve had. “We played some good football in some really good areas and did what we do best.We created quite a few chances and thoroughly deserved the half-time lead, playing against the wind.
“Credit to them, they showed what they’re about in the second half, but it’s a 90-minute game and that’s all I’m bothered about.We showed in 90 minutes that we deserved our win.
“The second half wasn’t as pretty and wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, but we’re 2-0 up and the opposition have nothing to lose, and I thought we stood firm.”
STAR MAN SONNY BRADLEY