Nobody suggested that it would be easy to take any points away from a resurgent Newport County on a chilly evening at Rodney Parade and they were quite right.
Although Crawley failed to maintain their own high levels of recent form it would be harsh to take anything away from the home side. On the night they were good value and, importantly, just that bit better than the Reds.
Skipper Jimmy Smith may have had the first shot of the match but it was Newport’s Padraig Amond who struck the crossbar after 13 minutes.
The home side turned up the wick and set the tone with a number of decent chances whilst Crawley’s response was real but lacked the same threat.
As the first half approached its close we were hanging on. Robbie Willmott had rattled the same spot on the bar and after 40 minutes Amond’s header gave County the lead.
Just four minutes later Josh Lelan conceded a penalty which was converted (almost inevitably) by Mickey Demetriou and the two-goal interval lead left most of the massive crowd of 5,741 in raptures.
Whilst the small knot of travelling supporters would not have been best pleased at the scoreline many recognised that there was no disgrace in coming second to a very good outfit.
At least the interval allowed Harry Kewell to both identify the areas where Crawley’s performance had been below-par but also to raise the spirits of his squad.
He made two attacking substitutions which led to Reds producing a more positive second half display.
They also quickly reduced the deficit as Smith volleyed home the loose ball after County keeper Joe Day failed to hold onto a cross from Jordan Roberts with the referee ruling the shot had crossed the goalline. At 2-1 with 42 minutes remaining salvation seemed a possibility.
It wasn’t to be as Newport managed to turn more their more limited possession into further goal attempts.
With about a quarter of an hour remaining Mark Connolly thought he had levelled with a glancing header from Jordan Roberts’ free-kick but the goal was adjudged offside whilst Aryan Tajbaksh marked his attacking intent with the first of two decent efforts.
The brave challenge was ultimately unrewarded and an even tougher prospect follows with a visit to second-placed Notts County scheduled for yesterday (Tuesday) evening.
Whilst the lads can be relied upon to do their best it is disappointing that three weeks into the transfer window they are without reinforcements.
No signings have been made, so the only movements have been outgoing and the squad is low in number.
We have missed out on Reuben Reid and the prospect of Tim Cahill doubling the number of Australians at the club is low but there are positions to be strengthened and they need to be covered soon.