Crawley Town continued their run of games against sides chasing promotion with a solid two nil defeat of Steve Evans’ Mansfield Town that took their tally to seven points out of nine.
Following a minute’s heartfelt applause in memory of Dermot Drummy I experienced most of the traditional aspects of our winter game.
To start off with it was bitterly cold and until around the hour mark the closely fought contest did little to warm up the chilled spectators. By then, however, the Reds had got the measure of the visitors and produced another rousing finale which, for once, was well rewarded.
For me the win was an Australian double as my guest at the game was probably Crawley Town’s most distant supporter.
Graeme Turner follows the Reds and even reads this column courtesy of the internet from his home in Melbourne where he also greatly appreciates the coherence that one of Harry Kewell’s contemporaries, namely Tim Cahill, has brought to his hometown club Melbourne City.
Visiting these shores for a family wedding it was essential for Graeme to watch his UK favourites. It made a change for me to hear some more studied observations than are usually expressed in the West Stand and we were both more than pleased when Reds seemed to get the message and attacked Mansfield as a cohesive unit rather than as individuals.
The match brought an early scare as Josh Yorwerth cleared a shot by C J Hamilton off the line after only three minutes but there was little excitement to follow in the first half as some promising approach play stuttered owing to a lack of support.
Jordan Roberts and Josh Payne hit most of Crawley’s shots but the win was down to two substitutes. On at half time for the injured Mark Connolly, Joe McNerney headed Crawley into the lead from a Roberts cross following a corner after 63 minutes.
Despite dominating the Stags as they chased the three points nearly half an hour passed before the home side wrapped up the points. ‘Supersub’ Ibrahim Meite had only been on the pitch a couple of minutes when he was put through by Mark Randall’s precise pass and held his nerve to calmly sidestep visiting keeper Conrad Logan and slot home in added time.
For the home fans perhaps the most enjoyable part of this splendid win was the opportunity to chant “Evans, Evans what’s the score” which they did with gusto.