James Ball bags first-half brace as Stevenage edge Crawley

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James Ball's first-half brace proved enough to see Stevenage edge a 2-1 victory over Crawley in a tense encounter at the Lamex Stadium.

James Ball’s first-half brace proved enough to see Stevenage edge a 2-1 victory over Crawley in a tense encounter at the Lamex Stadium.

Both sides had decent chances inside the opening quarter but Stevenage took the lead after 24 minutes when Luther Wildin created space and found Ball, who headed past visiting goalkeeper Glenn Morris.

Crawley got back on terms after 36 minutes though as – following David Sesay’s right-wing cross – striker Dominic Poleon held off his defender and turned inside the box, before firing low past Paul Farman.

Stevenage responded immediately with another from Ball before the break.

Moses Makasi broke down the right-hand side and his through ball found an unmarked Danny Newton, whose low shot was parried by Morris into the path of Ball to tuck in the rebound from a matter of yards out.

The second half passed with Crawley dominating play and creating plenty of chances, but finishing and courageous defending by Stevenage saw the hosts hold on for three points to claim their 12th league win this season.

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