Carabao Cup: This is what John Yems thought about the performance and atmosphere as Crawley exit with heads held high
"How can you not enjoy the atmosphere tonight? I said after the game how can you not want to be a part of that."
Those were the words of Crawley boss John Yems after nearly 2,000 fans returned to Broadfield for the Carabao Cup first round tie against League One Gillingham last night (Tuesday, August 10).
The Reds played superbly in a thrilling 2-2 draw, which was decided by a marathon penalty shootout. Read our match report hereAs many as 19 spot kicks were scored and Yems revealed that the players had spent time practising them before the game.
He said: "The lads stepped up. Luddy [Ludwig Francillette] could hardly walk at the end but he stood up and took a penalty so credit to him.
"Good performances from everybody.
"I think penalties are a farce, but that's my opinion.
"It's on to the next one."
It was vastly improved from Crawley's performance during the 1-0 defeat at Hartlepool on Saturday.
Denying the suggestion that he 'criticised' his players at the weekend, Yems said he learned more about them, adding: "I said we need to improve, I didn't criticise because we had a go.
"I thought we needed to show more and today we did.
"That's what everything is based on. You won't win games unless you show that spirit. You won't win anything in life if you don't show that spirit.
"That's what we showed last year. You've got to stand up and be counted. We did tonight and we did Saturday but we weren't at it then. We never stopped trying."
Steve Evans' Gillingham took the lead in controversial fashion just three minutes in when Gerald Sithole appeared to foul the keeper as he poked the ball in.
"As far as I'm concerned we won the game," Yems said.
"From where we was, it looked like the first one wasn't a goal. So what. You're 1-0 down, you come back and then you're 2-1 down with a couple minutes to go.
"We showed a lot of spirit to come back and draw.
"I thought we were the better side. We've got a lot of injuries but credit to the boys who came in. Sam Ashford scored his first goal.
"You can only take the positives. Sad that we lost but hey ho."
Yems said it didn't come as a surprise that the fans made so much noise during the game.
He added: "They were enjoying it. The fans here are good.
"We was down but they never gave up. The team represents that.
"One thing you can guarantee, whatever team you put out, we will have a go. At the end of the day, whatever happens happens but we are looking to win everything. You don't go out to make up the numbers.
"You've got to be prepared to give people, like Sam Ashford, a chance. They love it. They love playing football.
"The subs, injured boys have got to be breaking the door down to get into the team. Once you get in the team, it's there job to stay in it."