Taste of the Terrace: Reds show improvement under Kewell with two wins against Barnet and Eastbourne

Crawley Town fan Geoff Thornton gives his news in  his new column SUS-150216-162649002
Crawley Town fan Geoff Thornton gives his news in his new column SUS-150216-162649002

There was an air of redemption as Crawley Town edged out Eastbourne Borough to reach the semi-finals of the Sussex Senior Cup a week ago.

Dutch striker Thomas Verheydt scored twice, netting in the first half and converting the winning penalty in extra-time.

Dean Cox marked his return from a lengthy absence with an even more important goal as he notched the equaliser that took the match into extra-time with a clever dink over the ‘keeper in stoppage-time.

In truth this tie offered more entertainment than it did quality and if Reds had sneaked home by 10-9 it would not have been unreasonable.

Verheydt and Aryan Tajbakhsh both found the same upright in less than a minute and there was plenty of goalmouth action that went unrewarded.

Joe McNerney and, especially, Josh Doherty looked a class apart and overall Crawley’s fringe players performed well against a side whose placing in the lower half of the National League South appears undeserved.

After a blank Saturday it was good to see the lads maintaining momentum before the vital clash with Barnet.

Then for a while against Barnet it seemed Crawley had slipped into their bad old ways as the basement Bees took the game to them and looked more dangerous.

We took a while to come to terms with the opposition’s enthusiasm which did not improve the mood of the supporters.

The West Stand bayed its disapproval of some asinine decisions by referee Nick Kinseley and the theatrics of Shaquille Coulthirst but thankfully things improved and football regained centre stage.

Reds’ spirited quest for victory left the stadium in good spirits.

Josh Yorwerth was once again the main man. Having initially blunted the threat of the returning John Akinde he then gave the charge some impetus with a strong midfield display after Dannie Bulman succumbed to injury.

Although Bulman had been on top of his game, Jimmy Smith looked out of sorts and the ineffective Mark Randall had already been substituted.

Finally Crawley looked the better of the two sides and fully merited the win that was achieved by a neatly taken brace from Enzio Boldewijn, the second coming when the hard-working Lewis Young actually got his final ball to go where he intended.

Jordan Roberts also worked slavishly but failed to muster even a single goal attempt.

Although this performance was uneven, the improvements that Harry Kewell has brought are becoming apparent.

The Reds’ determination is clear and there has been an overall improvement in their passing. They still lack, however, the will to gamble on occasions – to take an unexpected pot shot or to seek an incisive pass. Too often they simply check back and lay the ball off to start again.

They need to go for it. After all they are facing League Two defences and not a Serie ‘A’ catenaccio.