Crawley climbed back into the automatic promotion places in League Two with a comfortable victory over Northampton.

Scott Neilson struck from 25 yards to give the hosts the lead before Billy Clarke headed home from Scott Davies' cross to make it 2-0.

Keeper Neal Kitson turned the ball into his own net to give Crawley a three-goal cushion before the break.

Brett Williams then slotted in from close range to pull one back for the Cobblers but it was a mere consolation.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Crawley caretaker manager Craig Brewster told BBC Sussex:

"We knew that was the case, that if we won tonight we went into third position.

"I think psychologically that could be a big lift for us. I thought the performance first half was excellent. Second half we got a bit sloppy and let them back into it. But at the end of the day, three big points for us.

"Scott Neilson, what a goal, what a strike. And he could have had three in about two minutes. We never punished them like we could have."

Northampton Town manager Aidy Boothroyd tells BBC Radio Northampton:

"It was a really strange game. We conceded three really poor goals and then we've hit the crossbar and there's been a possible penalty.

"In the second half, we hit the post, we scored a goal and Toni Silva has hit the cross-bar. It was a bit like Bradford, but not as bad as that, yet still we've conceded daft goals.

"I won't be pointing fingers at Neal Kitson because he's saved two penalties and played really well (this season). It wasn't all about him.

"I'm not going to get too upset. I'm disappointed that people have come all this way to watch us, and we appreciate that. But when we've got good players and our main starters out of the team, it does make a big difference to us."

Lineup, Bookings (0) & Substitutions (5)

Crawley Town

  • 01 Kuipers
  • 03 Howell
  • 11 Simpson
  • 20 Wassmer
  • 28 Davis
  • 02 Davies
  • 05 McFadzean
  • 15 Bulman
  • 22 Neilson (Watt - 85' )
  • 07 Clarke (Akinde - 79' )
  • 09 Alexander

Substitutes

  • 25 Shearer
  • 18 Dempster
  • 31 James
  • 10 Watt
  • 17 Akinde

Northampton

  • 13 Kitson
  • 14 Johnson (Williams - 46' )
  • 25 Carlisle
  • 28 Langmead
  • 29 Adams
  • 05 Tozer
  • 08 Robinson (Lewis Wilson - 76' )
  • 12 Wedderburn
  • 17 Jacobs
  • 22 Guttridge
  • 10 Akinfenwa (Silva - 75' )

Substitutes

  • 03 Charles
  • 06 Webster
  • 24 Silva
  • 09 Williams
  • 23 Lewis Wilson
Ref: Sarginson
Att: 2,861

Match Stats

Shots

13 15

On target

9 8

Corners

7 3

Fouls

6 7

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:03 Full time

Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.

90:00 +2:14

Michael Jacobs takes a shot. Save by Michel Kuipers. The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Michel Kuipers. The official flags Gary Alexander offside. Neal Kitson restarts play with the free kick.

90:00 +1:31

Michael Jacobs takes a shot. Blocked by Charlie Wassmer. Gary Alexander is caught offside. Kelvin Langmead takes the indirect free kick.

90:00 +0:26

Shot by Brett Williams from deep inside the penalty area hits the post.

87:58

Scott Davies gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Blair Adams. Free kick taken by Blair Adams.

86:09

Toni Brito Silva takes a shot.

84:48

Neal Kitson restarts play with the free kick.

84:48 Substitution

Substitution Sanchez Watt is brought on as a substitute for Scott Neilson.

84:48

The offside flag is raised against John Akinde.

84:04

Gary Alexander is ruled offside. Neal Kitson restarts play with the free kick.

78:58 Substitution

Substitution (Crawley Town) makes a substitution, with John Akinde coming on for Billy Clarke.

75:45 Substitution

Substitution Jake Robinson goes off and Lewis Wilson comes on.

74:45 Substitution

Substitution (Northampton) makes a substitution, with Toni Brito Silva coming on for Adebayo Akinfenwa.

73:44

Brett Williams takes a shot. Charlie Wassmer gets a block in.

73:13

Foul by Josh Simpson on Brett Williams, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Blair Adams.

68:56

The official flags Brett Williams offside. Michel Kuipers restarts play with the free kick.

67:29

Scott Neilson takes a shot. Kelvin Langmead gets a block in. Josh Simpson produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the goal.

65:53

Michael Jacobs concedes a free kick for a foul on Dean Howell. Direct free kick taken by Michel Kuipers.

64:49

Assist by Jake Robinson.

64:49 Goal scored

Goal! - Brett Williams - Crawley 3 - 1 Northamp'n Brett Williams finds the net with a goal from inside the six-yard box high into the middle of the goal. Crawley Town 3-1 Northampton.

64:08

Billy Clarke takes a shot.

63:03

Jake Robinson takes a shot. Blocked by Kyle McFadzean.

60:10

The referee blows for offside against Gary Alexander. Neal Kitson restarts play with the free kick.

58:46

Effort from outside the area by Brett Williams goes wide right of the goal.

52:57

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Scott Davies, Nathaniel Wedderburn manages to make a clearance.

51:55

Michael Jacobs has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the goal.

50:51

Billy Clarke has a headed effort at goal from close in which goes wide left of the target.

49:28

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Scott Davies. Kyle McFadzean takes a shot. Save by Neal Kitson.

48:02

Effort from deep inside the area by Brett Williams misses to the left of the goal.

46:57

Outswinging corner taken by Scott Davies.

46:20

Unfair challenge on Scott Davies by Brett Williams results in a free kick. Scott Davies restarts play with the free kick.

45:01

The referee gets the second half started.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Brett Williams on for John Johnson.

45:00 +4:17 Half time

Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.

45:00 +2:34

Inswinging corner taken by Michael Jacobs from the left by-line, Kelvin Langmead takes a shot. Clarke Carlisle gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Michel Kuipers.

45:00 +1:06

Billy Clarke takes a shot. Save by Neal Kitson.

42:33

Inswinging corner taken by Michael Jacobs from the left by-line, save by Michel Kuipers.

38:52 Goal scored

Goal! - Neal Kitson - Crawley 3 - 0 Northamp'n Neal Kitson puts the ball into his own net from 6 yards. Crawley Town 3-0 Northampton.

35:37

The offside flag is raised against Jake Robinson. Free kick taken by Michel Kuipers.

35:19

Scott Neilson takes a shot. Neal Kitson makes a save.

32:37

Adebayo Akinfenwa challenges Claude Davis unfairly and gives away a free kick. Charlie Wassmer takes the direct free kick.

31:10

Gary Alexander takes a shot. Blocked by Clarke Carlisle. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Scott Davies from the right by-line, save made by Neal Kitson.

29:26

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Claude Davis by Adebayo Akinfenwa. Michel Kuipers takes the free kick.

28:02

Luke Guttridge fouled by Kyle McFadzean, the ref awards a free kick. John Johnson restarts play with the free kick.

27:04

The assistant referee flags for offside against Jake Robinson. Michel Kuipers restarts play with the free kick.

25:15

Kelvin Langmead takes a shot. Save by Michel Kuipers.

22:47

Ben Tozer fouled by Gary Alexander, the ref awards a free kick. Neal Kitson restarts play with the free kick.

21:07

The assist for the goal came from Scott Davies.

21:07 Goal scored

Goal! - Billy Clarke - Crawley 2 - 0 Northamp'n Billy Clarke scores a headed goal from close in. Crawley Town 2-0 Northampton.

19:41

Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Scott Davies,

17:08

Scott Neilson takes a shot. Neal Kitson makes a save. Billy Clarke takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance by Michael Jacobs. Header from deep inside the area by Claude Davis goes harmlessly over the crossbar.

15:12

Corner taken by Scott Davies, Unfair challenge on Clarke Carlisle by Kyle McFadzean results in a free kick. Neal Kitson takes the free kick.

13:29 Goal scored

Goal! - Scott Neilson - Crawley 1 - 0 Northamp'n Scott Neilson gets on the score sheet with a goal from outside the area to the top right corner of the goal. Crawley Town 1-0 Northampton.

12:58

Unfair challenge on Gary Alexander by Ben Tozer results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Scott Davies.

11:26

Gary Alexander takes a shot. Save by Neal Kitson.

9:44

Shot from long distance by Ben Tozer goes over the bar.

7:24

Nathaniel Wedderburn gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Dannie Bulman. Direct free kick taken by Scott Davies.

6:23

The referee penalises Gary Alexander for handball. Neal Kitson takes the direct free kick.

5:57

Jake Robinson takes a shot. Save by Michel Kuipers.

5:14

The offside flag is raised against Billy Clarke. Neal Kitson takes the indirect free kick.

4:05

Michael Jacobs takes a shot. Blocked by Charlie Wassmer. Luke Guttridge takes the outswinging corner, clearance by Scott Davies.

3:37

Handball by Luke Guttridge. Direct free kick taken by Scott Davies.

1:24

Adebayo Akinfenwa fouled by Claude Davis, the ref awards a free kick. Blair Adams takes the direct free kick.

0:22

The referee blows for offside. Neal Kitson restarts play with the free kick.

0:00

The referee starts the match.

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