TASTE OF THE TERRACE: Vincelot and Polean impress as Crawley Town gain rare win against Cheltenham
Three points from the opening game of the season is always welcome but more importantly for Crawley Town this win finally laid their hoodoo as they won at Whaddon Road against Cheltenham Town.
The winning margin was only a single goal but it might well have been several more.
Manager Harry Kewell was looking for a fast start – something that has been missing from Reds’ game in recent seasons.
He got it in spades as home stopper Scott Flinders was soon called into action and had to make three saves in the first six minutes.
That set the pattern for the game, especially in the first half, as Crawley pressed hard and showed an enterprising attacking spirit.
It also gave rise to one of football’s traditional homilies in that you need to score when you are on top.
For all their effort, Crawley didn’t manage that and came close to losing any advantage as Cheltenham worked their way back into contention as the game progressed.
The truism was demonstrated in the 72nd minute when the home side were awarded a penalty.
At this point Reds had held the lead for just nine minutes.
The goal had come from a well-judged header by Ollie Palmer from an excellent corner taken by Filipe Morais who has shown himself to be an exciting acquisition.
Romain Vincelot was adjudged to have unfairly tumbled Kalvin Kalala and Kevin Dawson stepped up to take the resulting penalty.
He hit the spot-kick hard but lifted the ball too much and his strike crashed against the crossbar.
Had another slim lead been lost, it would have been particularly hard on Vincelot after his mistake presented KSV Roeselare with their equaliser in last week’s final friendly match.
Let’s hope his errors do not come in threes as for me the Frenchman has made an impressive start.
The departed Enzio Boldewijn came very close to securing an opening day win for his new club Notts County.
His nominal replacement, Reece Grego-Cox, has already gained a reputation as an impact sub and should surely be considered for a start in the very near future.
Coming on for Dominic Poleon after 66 minutes, Grego-Cox immediately tested Flinders with a shot from outside the box.
Flinders had earlier twice saved well from former Bradford City striker Poleon, who seems to be getting the measure of playing for Crawley Town and also from Dannie Bulman, who knows exactly how it should be done.
More than anything this game re-emphasised the promise that many feel the Reds will show this season. To have that promise coupled with a well-deserved win and three points gained is good enough for me.
The big question now is whether we can maintain the momentum when League Two football returns to Broadfield Stadium with Saturday’s visit by Stevenage.