Crawley Town’s die hard resolution has become even more apparent in the past week. Twice they have been on the wrong end of things in the final ten minutes and twice they have salvaged a point.
Against Plymouth Argyle last Tuesday they had been largely outplayed and at Northampton Town they struggled to get into their stride. At Sixfields the Reds did not look the side that has impressed so much in this campaign.
They did everything too slowly and despite starting with two strikers they did not offer much of a scoring threat. Nobody looked to be at their best although thankfully Glenn Morris was unaffected by the overall malaise.
Referee Andy Haines gave the Cobblers a lift with a very dubious penalty award and perhaps justice was done when Chris Lines appropriately fluffed his lines by hitting a second spot kick too close to Morris who made the save.
That award had been correctly given for a tug by Josh Doherty.
The much improved left back suffered as well by failing to get close to Shaun McWilliams who scored Northampton’s second and also collecting another yellow card. Reds have conceded too many goals from the area we would expect Doherty to be covering.
Three minutes after coming on substitute Ashley Nathaniel-George scored a great goal as he cut inside along the edge of the box.
Ironically he replaced Bez Lubala who had previously had two very similar attempts – one into the near post side netting and the other inches beyond the far post. Doherty’s deflected equaliser came in the 95th minute.
Against Plymouth Argyle I had wondered if this really could be Reds’ year as we contrived to come away with a point having been given a football lesson.
I can’t imagine the Argyle fans on their long trek back to the West Country felt anything other than having been robbed.
Frankly Crawley had been outplayed for much of the game by a classy outfit. Nobody near me in the West Stand thought differently but they were full of praise for the magnificent Morris.
Plymouth played a possession-based game, invariably finding their men with crisp passes, and presenting a constant threat to our goal.
Reds played as well as they were permitted but not a lot worked for them. Only Jordan Tunnicliffe looked comfortable in defence and Lubala was fully involved without looking the threat we have become used to. Panutche Camara, the hero of the game against Mansfield, had a ‘mare and overall we were second best.
Yet despite the run of play we gained a draw because of the grit and determination that has been rediscovered this season.
The evening was tough (much harder than the manager admitted afterwards) but as the south terrace faithful chanted a rhythmic “We are Crawley Town” the lads responded and we finished comfortably on top and in a play-off place.