A RED card for midfielder Louis Thompson proved costly for Swindon Town as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at Crawley this afternoon.
After dominating the contest, and having significantly more efforts on goal than their opponents, Town were beaten by a penalty from Izale McLeod after Thompson was sent off for dragging down the striker just after the break.
The visitors still continued to play despite their numerical disadvantage, but failed to test outstanding home keeper Brian Jensen significantly again before falling to defeat.
With Thompson fit after recovering from a dead leg, boss Mark Cooper made just one change to the side which won at Luton on Tuesday night, with Jack Barthram in for Brad Smith who has returned to Liverpool for treatment on a knee injury.
Town settled quickly and made all the early running, with Nathan Byrne and Ben Gladwin seeing a lot of the ball, with the pair creating the first chance for Massimo Luongo which he curled wide from the edge of the box.
Michael Smith sent a weak header into the arms of Crawley keeper Brian Jensen, before Louis Thompson forced the Dane into more pressing as he let off a rocket of a shot following a driving run.
Kasim was the next to drive wide before panic set in inside the Crawley box, with Luongo, Gladwin and Smith all seeing efforts blocked as the visitors forced a series of ultimately unsuccessful corners.
Gavin Tomlin had the hosts’ first effort on goal as he drove low towards the bottom right corner, but Wes Foderingham was quickly down to beat it away, before McLeod could only send a free header over the top as Crawley fired two warning signs as half-time neared.
There was one more scare before the break, as the ball over the top continued to cause problems, as Tomlin went down as Foderingham stuck out a leg, but referee James Linington opted to book the Crawley attacker for diving rather than point to the spot.
Cooper introduced Andy Williams in place of Gladwin at the break, with Town soon on the front foot again as Smith curled a left-footed shot just over the top.
However, the whole game soon changed as Jensen launched a missile downfield which caught the Town defence on their heels, with Louis Thompson lunging in on Tomlin in desperation. The Town man was sent off, as the referee pointed to the spot, before McLeod stepped up and sent Foderingham the wrong way to leave the visitors with a mountain to climb.
After initially looking ragged after going down to 10 men, Town soon found their feet and pushed forward well, with Kasim the first to test Jensen as his low effort was easily saved.
Town survived a scare as Gwion Edwards left Foderingham’s bar rattling from a driven effort, with Town not creating another serious chance before falling to defeat.
CRAWLEY TOWN: Jensen; Oyebanjo, Dickson, Henderson (Bawling 77), Leacock, Bradley, Edwards (O’Connor 86), Smith, McLeod, Walsh, Tomlin (Banya 63).
Subs not used: Young, Rose, Richeford, Spiegel.
SWINDON TOWN: Foderingham, Thompson N (C), Branco, Turnbull, Byrne, Kasim, Luongo, Thompson L, Barthram (Randall 68), Gladwin (Williams 45), Smith M
Subs not used: Belford, Lelan, Marshall, Waldon, Barker.