A late brace by the in-form Enzio Boldewijn earned the Reds another League 2 win as their surge up the table continues, but was the victory against bottom of the table Barnet as plain sailing as the scoreline suggests?
Here are five things we learnt:
Despite not playing particularly well for much of the game, Crawley still managed to find a way through to earn their third consecutive win for the first time in nearly three years.
Fans have been crying out for consistency this season, with the Reds proving to be very unpredictable. They could win convincingly one weekend after putting in an excellent performance, but then falter just a few days later with a below-par showing.
These below-par performances have often come against teams also in the bottom half of the table with the good showings coming against high-flying opposition.
However, if recent form is anything to go by, Crawley are beginning to find some consistency and are performing well against teams in both halves of the table.
All three of their consecutive wins have been against teams below them in the table which highlights their improvement from earlier in the season.
Thanks to the fine form of Enzio Boldewijn and Jordan Roberts, goals no longer seem to be an issue in these type of games and the Reds can continue to move onwards and upwards.
Unchanged side repay Kewell’s faith
Having made numerous changes in recent weeks, which possibly played a part in mixed results, Kewell opted for an unchanged side from the win at Yeovil on New Year’s Day.
A hectic fixture list and suspensions obviously played a part on the number of changes over the festive period but it seems that a consistent team is reaping its rewards.
Eight players have remained in the starting 11 for the three consecutive wins and they are repaying the manager’s faith. The team are working hard for each other, with the defence as solid as ever and they are starting to emulate the signs shown from their pre-season form.
Sitting in 14th place and eight points behind the play-offs, safety is pretty much assured and if they can continue this form, reaching the top seven won’t seem as far away. Stranger things have happened.
Enhanced Enzio continues goalscoring run
Crawley’s upturn in form has coincided with the resurgence of Boldewijn. The Dutchman had scored just one in the Reds’ opening 22 games this season, but five goals in his last four games has eclipsed his goal tally last term.
As mentioned by Kewell, interest is inevitable at this time of year, but in such good form and playing in a team on the up, he must surely see no reason to leave this month.
Credit must also go to topscorer Jordan Roberts. Despite not getting on the scoresheet this time round, the forward was as tireless as ever and his constant battling played a big part.
Kewell said that it was a fantastic team performance that won the game rather than individuals and I find it difficult not to agree.
Man-of-the-match Young excels in attacking role
Another player who shone was Lewis Young. He was deservedly named man of the match after an excellent attacking display which saw numerous second half chances created and an assist for Enzio’s second goal.
Despite being deployed as a midfield supporting wing-back throughout the season, Young hasn’t been seen in attacking positions too often. However this wasn’t the case this time round, as he was ever-present when the Reds went forward and was repeatedly found in good positions.
His final ball could have been better at times and he also spurned a great chance when put through 1-on-1 moments into the second half, but he may have realised he was offside before taking the shot and must take credit for the way he made space for himself.
He eventually did make a telling impact on the game, brilliantly controlling a high loose ball, before charging into the box to play in Boldewijn who sealed the hard-earned win.
Negative first half could have proved costly
Too often this season, Crawley have dropped points in games they would be expected to win and for 75 minutes in this game, they looked set to do the same.
After a slow start which saw more fouls and heated moments than chances, the Reds struggled to impose themselves in the first half. Barnet saw most of the ball and posed a threat through their prolific striker John Akinde and Jamal Campbell-Ryce.
Harry Kewell’s side were slow in possession and there were too many sideways and backwards passes, and some fans were beginning to become restless by half-time.
An evidently frustrated Harry Kewell must have had some stern words at the break as his side came out of the blocks in the second half, asking far more questions of the Bees’ defence which has struggled this season.
However the vital goal still continued to elude them and, approaching the final quarter of the match, it looked set to be a goalless stalemate. Nevertheless, the rejuvenated Boldewijn struck twice late on to deny the dogged visitors.