The vibrant atmosphere at Broadfield last Tuesday evening gave Crawley Town supporters an indication of how things could be if the club’s plans bear fruit.
The noisy Portsmouth fans in a massive crowd of 5350 led the way but the strongest home turn out for longer than we would wish to admit gave their all.
The players responded and football was the winner on the night.
Pompey’s win evidenced their all round strength and although the Reds played as well as they were allowed the difference in class was plain to see.
Once again Glenn Morris saved a soft penalty and again he was voted Man of the Match but it wasn’t just a case of Crawley battling to hold on.
Rhys Murphy made his first start since his return in January and got through a lot of the donkey work that usually falls to James Collins.
The visitors’ back line was very solid, however, and we simply didn’t have the strength in attack to break them down.
There’s no shame in admitting that Portsmouth were the better side all round but our performance brought great credit to a side sitting in 16th place in the table.
I am sure Dermot Drummy has a shrewd idea which positions he will try to strengthen during the summer break and I can certainly see he has the nucleus of a squad that can be very competitive next season.
I am not going to offer him advice but, now that he is prepared to start with two strikers as I wished, I have to ask does he really think Conor Henderson can do a better job for us than Josh Payne?
Of course we would all pick different sides and play different formations but the big question was whether the spirit shown in three tough games could be turned into a winning momentum against Barnet.
It turned out to be a case of nearly but not quite. Reds took the lead twice and the Bees pulled it back twice taking their share of the points as late as the 88th minutes.
Even then we nearly snatched a win at the death.
Crawley were at their best in the first half when they dominated possession but over the 90 minutes there was not a lot between the sides.
It was great that the industrious Murphy finally got off the mark following his welcome return while Enzio Boldewijn would have been delighted to score such a good goal so soon after saying that he needed to score more often.
The last three goals conceded have also been spectacular.
Whilst an away point is always welcome the team’s improvements need to lead to three point hauls against mid-table opponents.
We let this win slip away and the outcome showed that there is still a way to go before Crawley Town earns results to match their ambition.