SSML Premier Division: Hoddesdon Town 2 Crawley Green 6
A superb hat-trick from Charlie Clayton helped Crawley Green come from a goal down to run out resounding 6-2 winners against Hoddesdon Town on Saturday.
Fresh from their 6-1 midweek victory against high-flying Wembley, the hosts were quickly on the attack with efforts from Kardan Campbell and Jordan Watson.
Crawley replied with a shot from Ashton Grant which was saved by Stefano Said, who had been promoted from the U16s due to injuries and unavailability.
Watson headed over, before Hoddesdon were in front on 12 minutes, when Crawley were caught out by a long free kick and Louis Rose fired home.
They almost had a second when Watson’s attempt was saved by Dean Bull, but Green finally settled and turned the game around with two goals in two minutes.
Firstly, Aarron Browne’s fine run and cross found Sam Halfpenny who teed up Clayton for his first of the afternoon.
Then on 23 minutes, it was Browne’s turn to get on the scoresheet when he fired a long range free kick past Said to make it 2-1.
Hoddesdon immediately responded, Watson firing wide, while Green looked for a third, with efforts from Halfpenny and JJ Billy blocked and Clayton off target.
Just before half time, Dean Dummett headed over from a Bull free kick as Green remained ahead at the interval.
In the second period, Hoddesdon came storming out of the blocks and Rose saw his early shot go wide.
Said then saved well from Clayton and Ashton Grant whipped in a corner from the right which bounced to safety off the bar.
After 50 minutes, Hoddesdon were awarded a hotly disputed penalty when Joss Lillis went to ground in the area, only for Rose to smash his spot-kick wide.
Kieran Asumadu-Sakyi, Dominique Njoya and Rose all were denied by some brave Crawley defending as Town looked for a leveller.
Once again, the visitors weathered the storm and put the result beyond doubt with a three goals in just seven minutes.
First, Grant curled in another corner from the right and the ball fell to Charlie Clayton who stabbed home to make 3-1 on 69 minutes.
Hoddeson were back in the contest once more, when Bradley Fraser scored the goal of the game, lashing past Bull to pull one back.
The Maroons weren’t to be denied though as in the 74th minute, Tom Barnett set Sam Halfpenny free down the right and his cross was turned home by Billy.
Two minutes later, Crawley were out of sight when Clayton completed his hat-trick, breaking clear to fire past Said.
In stoppage time, Green completed the rout when Grant’s corner was met by Mark Smith’s thumping header to record his side’s best win of the season.
Crawley travel to Dunstable Town in the Beds Senior Cup tomorrow night and then host FC Broxbourne Borough in the league this weekend.