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Crawley Town vs Milton Keynes Dons. Sky Bet League Two Play-Offs Semi-Final.

Broadfield Stadium.

Crawley Town 3

  • L Kelly (5th minute)
  • J Williams (46th minute)
  • R Darcy (65th minute)

Milton Keynes Dons 0

    Crawley Town 3-0 MK Dons: Scott Lindsey's Reds storm to victory in League Two play-off semi-final first leg

    Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final first leg between Crawley Town and MK Dons at Broadfield Stadium on Tuesday night; goals from Liam Kelly, Jay Williams and Ronan Darcy help Scott Lindsey's Reds establish commanding lead in the tie

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    Highlights of the Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final first-leg match between Crawley Town and MK Dons

    Crawley's first ever Sky Bet EFL play-off match went like a dream as they stormed to a 3-0 win over MK Dons in their rescheduled League Two play-off semi-final first leg.

    The game had initially been set for Bank Holiday Monday, but torrential rain in West Sussex had resulted in a waterlogged pitch and pushed kick-off back by almost 28 hours.

    When it did finally get under way on Tuesday night, the hosts edged in front through Liam Kelly, just 105 seconds after Max Dean had seen a shot cleared off the line at the other end.

    Scott Lindsey's side passed up a handful of chances to extend their lead before the break, but did so in first-half stoppage time, as Jay Williams poked a free-kick from the left into the bottom corner.

    It was job done with just over an hour gone, too, when Ronan Darcy came off the bench to add a third with a deflected strike.

    Crawley take their commanding lead into Saturday's second leg at Stadium MK, which kicks off at 7.45pm, live on Sky Sports Football.

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    The aforementioned delay threatened to disrupt preparation for both teams - but instead, it seemed to do the opposite. One day's extra rest provided an injection of energy and made for a breathless start.

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    Liam Kelly gave Crawley the lead

    MK Dons were denied the opener when Dean's shot was hooked off the line by Will Wright after Crawley's backline allowed a long ball forward to bounce and, less than two minutes later, Kelly had fired Crawley ahead with a shot inside the near post after a smart one-two with Adam Campbell.

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    Crawley controlled the game after that and would have been in front had it not been for Michael Kelly, who tipped Danilo Orsi's dipping shot over, before standing in the way of Laurence Maguire's header - not that he seemed to know much about the latter.

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    Jay Williams doubled Crawley's lead in first-half stoppage time

    But they did add a deserved second in first-half stoppage time when Wright's free-kick from the left was helped in by Players' Player of the Season Williams.

    MK Dons started to offer more of a threat at the start of the second half, but they just struggled for any kind of fluency in the final third - and so the game was put beyond them when Darcy's shot took a wicked deflection and looped over goalkeeper Kelly.

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    Ronan Darcy finished off a slick passing move to put Crawley three up

    Klaidi Lolos thought he had added a fourth in the last 10 minutes after a free-kick had been pumped into the box, but the assistant referee's flag was quickly raised and Crawley were forced to settle for three.

    Player of the match - Liam Kelly

    The Crawley midfielder - who was on Feyenoord's books between 2019 and 2021 - opened the scoring and provided the assist for Ronan Darcy's third on Tuesday night.

    But he was also absolutely everywhere throughout the game and helped to keep Scott Lindsey's impressive Reds ticking.

    Lindsey pleased with Crawley's 'aggressive' approach

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    Scott Lindsey says his side got their rewards from their risks in their semi-final first-leg win against MK Dons

    Crawley manager Scott Lindsey told Sky Sports:

    "It's two halves of football over 90 minutes, rather than two lots of 45 minutes. We felt we wanted to attack this game aggressively, which we did.

    "I'm really pleased with the goals. The first goal was a really good team goal where we played a really good passage of play; the second was a set piece, which we work really hard on, and the third goal was another passage of play where we played some real intricate passes around the edge of the box before Darcy got in. I'm pleased with the goals and the way we played as well.

    "I'll go away tomorrow, watch the game back and see how the land lies with what we're going to do."

    Williamson: That wasn't us

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    Mike Williamson says his side has the character to react well to the semi-final first-leg defeat to Crawley

    MK Dons head coach Mike Williamson told Sky Sports:

    "We weren't good enough tonight. It wasn't us and now we need to make sure we make a decision to react. It's half-time and I don't think it's over.

    "Moments can change games, but we just weren't good enough. We've got to assess ourselves and we always do that. We missed a couple of chances and then, directly after, we conceded goals.

    "It was a really difficult evening for our boys and one that we need to use for our character and understanding. We'll brush ourselves down and we'll make sure we are better."

    What's next?

    Crawley and MK Dons will face off against one another in the second leg at Stadium MK at 7.45pm on Saturday May 11, live on Sky Sports Football.

    The winners will advance to the Sky Bet League Two play-off final, which will be played at Wembley on Sunday May 19.

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