Five things we learned from Crawley’s thrilling win over Bury

Crawley came out on top after an enthralling game against Bury. Picture by Steve Robards
Crawley came out on top after an enthralling game against Bury. Picture by Steve Robards

After a game which was turned on its head twice over and kept fans on the edge of their seat, Crawley came out on top to win 3-2 against Bury to earn their second win of the season. Here are five things we learned from the enthralling encounter.

Ollie Palmer the key this team was missing

What a difference this man has made. Five goals in five games says all you need to know about the start he has made for the Reds, whilst it also leaves him joint top scorer in League Two. And he isn't scoring pointless goals either. Both of Crawley's wins this season have been sealed by Palmer strikes, whilst it was the 26-year-old's 100th minute penalty that saved Crawley's blushes in the 2-2 draw against nine man Swindon.

Whilst he is dangerous in the air and the first man to be on the end of long balls and crosses, Palmer is also capable of creating chances himself, as proved by his superb solo goal to seal yesterday's win.

When asked about Palmer being what Crawley lacked last season, Kewell was quick to defend last season's target man Thomas Verheydt and praised the Dutchman for his contribution. However, it cannot be denied that Palmer is more clinical, whilst he also has the ability to hold the ball up, and he could be the man who takes Crawley to the next level should his excellent scoring run continue.

Quick off the blocks

Far too often last season, Crawley made a slow start to their games which often gave them too much to do later on, but if this game is anything to go by, that may be a thing of the past. The Reds were on the front foot from the get go, and it was clear within the first minute that the Bury defence was going to have their work cut out when trying to keep the hosts at bay.

This is the type of fast-paced start that Reds fans will want to see more often, and one which, if it becomes a regular occurrence, will help push Crawley up the table.

Dependable captain

Crawley's fast start reaped its rewards with the ever dependable Jimmy Smith heading in a thoroughly deserved opener.

Six of Harry Kewell’s summer signings started the game with Smith one of only four outfield players that were at the club last season, but it was the captain who got the hosts off and running with an excellent header, after starting the move himself by playing the ball out wide from the middle of the park, before bursting into the box to get on the end of the cross from George Francomb.

His calming influence in the middle of the park cannot be underestimated, whilst his work rate is second to none. Without prior knowledge, it would be impossible to tell he was making only his first start since returning from a recurring knee injury.

Danger coming from out wide

Crawley have always been well stocked up out wide in recent years, but without a prolific striker since the departure of James Collins, it has been a struggle to get the best out of their dangerous runs forward. Enzio Boldewijn and Lewis Young, to name two, posed a constant threat down the left hand side last season but their strong runs often came to little when his crosses failed to find anyone in the box.

Without a prolific target man, goals were hard to come by, with a moment of individual brilliance often needed to find a goal out of nothing.

Now that they have Palmer, who seems to win every header in the box, the wide men have no reason to be hesitant in getting the ball in. It also allows the Reds to go route one if necessary, however unlikely that may be with Kewell in charge.

Ashley Nathaniel-George, Fillipe Morais and Dominic Poleon, three stand out performers on Saturday, seem to fit in Kewell's attacking system perfectly, and also provide a dangerous threat from out wide, whilst their capabilities aptly support Palmer up top.

Some cracks still showing

Crawley may have scored six goals, three of which were disallowed and one dubiously- which is a huge improvement on last season- but there are still some cracks on show.

Kewell himself admitted that Bury's first goal was very soft goal to concede when the Reds were largely in control. It can be argued that Crawley were robbed off their two goal advantage, but they can only look at themselves for the way in which they conceded the equaliser. The defence had at least two opportunities to clear their lines, but failed, and the ball fell at the feet of Chris Dagnall, whose pass like shot somehow found its way in.

Kewell also 'didn't like' the way in which they conceded the second goal on the counter, but could only praise his team for their 'superb' response.