More than 5,000 fans trekked to Broadfield for the visit of Swindon Town and they certainly got their money’s worth.
This was a sparkling contest between two well-matched sides and Crawley deserved to edge the win but, although the draw would have left the home fans disappointed, none would have been disaffected given the nature of the game.
Skipper Jimmy Smith set the tone with the opening goal after 25 minutes as he collected a throw from Lewis Young on the angle of the penalty area and volleyed the ball into the top far corner before anybody else could move. Robins’ ‘keeper Stuart Moore looked dumbfounded.
That might have opened the floodgates for Crawley but Swindon defended obdurately while the Reds’ luck was out. Mark Randall deserved better when the tricky Panutche Camara set him up but his side-footer from the edge of the box came back off the upright.
Karlan Ahearne-Grant proved a constant threat to the visitors’ defence with his pace and tenacity and came close to extending the lead three times. KAG, Camara and Enzio Boldewijn were simply too quick and canny for the Robins who knew they had ridden their luck by the end.
Everybody knows that one goal is never enough and so it proved.
Glenn Morris had made one fantastic save from Ollie Banks but was not worked as hard as his opposite number. He had no chance with Marc Richards’ close-range header for the equaliser.
That goal was harsh on an excellent defensive performance in which Aryan Tajbaksh outplayed his superb team-mates but the middle didn’t gel in the same way and the substitutions didn’t help.
I reckon Harry Kewell must be puzzled, if not completely bemused, by the way his side have failed to get results of late.
Earlier in the season goals proved hard to come by and the ship was kept afloat by parsimonious defending.
Now there has been a reversal with the Reds’ attack showing much better form but the defence appears to have lost its way and has conceded sloppy goals much in the way they suffered in the two previous seasons of struggle.
Six games without a win was bad enough but conceding 16 goals in the process was very worrying.
Yet during that run we had played some very decent football. That was the problem at Cambridge on Good Friday.
Inept marking by Josh Yorwerth allowed the opening header from a corner and then we were undone by another set-piece. The dead-ball strike by George Maris following Randall’s foul was, however, quite superb.
Josh Payne converted his fourth penalty of the campaign but we were soon two goals adrift again as nobody thought it worth marking Jevani Brown, who strolled through unchallenged.
We were never really at the races which made it great to see such a vast improvement on Monday.