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🔎 Ones to Watch: Crawley Town

Jed Penberthy takes a look at three to watch out for on Saturday

25 February 2021

Unbeaten in four, Saturday brings a great opportunity for the Grecians to stretch their run with a trip to out-of-form Crawley.

Ahead of the game, here is a selection of Red Devils keen to upset the odds…

Tom Nichols        

Max Watter’s deserved departure to Championship Cardiff has put the pressure on a man who needs no introduction for Exeter City fans. ‘One of our own’, Nichols made 112 appearances for the Grecians scoring 38 goals. Tom made his Grecians debut in May 2011 in a 2-1 win against Sheffield Wednesday- before being shipped out to Dorchester, Hereford and Bath on loan.

Tom Nichols.jpg

By the end of 2013 Nichols made himself a mainstay in City first XI. He scored a brace on his first start of the season, before netting against Devon rivals Torquay United- earning himself a Player of the Month nomination. That year he went on to be City’s joint top scorer.  

Nichols is most known at City for his terrific sliding goal against Liverpool in the FA Cup in 2016, when he was also named the Man of the Match. At the end of that month his work rate and goalscoring prowess earned his new challenge, with a £350,000 move to League One and Peterborough United.

Whilst at London Road, Nichols continued his form against higher league opposition, scoring at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea in a 4-1 defeat.

A year later, Nichols was back in the Westcountry with Bristol Rovers, where he spent three seasons, -including an uneventful loan spell to Cheltenham- before being snapped up by Crawley as a free agent this summer.

This season he’s netted eleven time with eight assists. His pace is a major asset for Crawley and now all the hopes rest on his shoulders following Watters’ move.

Ashley Nadesan

Chipping in with five goals and six assists, Ashley Nadesan been an underrated gem as Nichols and Watters took the plaudits. The striker signed from Fleetwood in 2019 has 12 goals in 59 appearences for the Red Devils.

Ashley Nadeson.jpg

He has a good record against City scoring twice in two games and his presence and physicality upfront has ever caused issues for the Grecians defence. In the league though, he’s currently on a run of 19 games without a goal.

Nadesan began his Football League career at Fleetwood before two successful loan spells at Carlisle. Whilst at Fleetwood he was likened to former Cod Army striker Jamie Vardy. Prior to then he made his name locally with his exploits for Horley Town in the Combined Counties League. He bagged nearly 100 goals in non-league so his prowess mustn’t be forgetton when the two teams step out on the pitch on Saturday afternoon.

Mark Wright

Despite spending three series on the ITV show, it seems The Only Way is evidently Sussex instead for the former reality star. A commercial signing or a stroke of genius bringing in the former West Ham, Arsenal and Spurs youth player? Now 34, Wright is of course known for his television career rather than with the ball.

In 2010 he was originally cast for TOWIE and by 2011 he was the runner up in the Jungle. So, despite being back in football, he still couldn’t keep away from the Creepy Crawleys.

Cue tumbleweed.

Behind the Scenes he has always been a talented footballer. Aforementioned, he had a Premier League upbringing and began his senior career at Southend United, though he preferred the off-pitch lifestyle. Therefore, Wright opted to play semi-professional at a high level instead. He signed for Grays Athletic in 2006, that season going on loan to his current employers where he made 9 appearences scoring once.

Between 2007-2011, Wright also turned out for Rushden & Diamonds; St Albans; and Exeter’s 2017 FA Cup First Round opponents Heybridge Swifts.

The former ‘This Morning’ host does have a few unofficial international caps too. In 2008, Wright got his first opportunity for the Three Lions playing in a C-team match against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Eight years later, Wright played, scored, and won Man of the Match in UNICEF’s Soccer Aid. His 2016 goal has also gone down as the best celebrity goal scored for England after smashing home a thirty yard free-kick. He also played in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the charity event.

Though admittedly Wright’s inclusion against Exeter will be a surprise given his lack of first team minutes since signing for Crawley, his signing has been a commercial success for Town - even having a BBC documentary commissioned following his journey.     


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