Alright, so it wasn’t really an occasion to match the moon landings of half a century ago but the excitement generated during the game against Bradford City certainly left Crawley Town fans all aglow.
More appropriately we felt as though we had been first out of the gates with the winning post in clear view.
Setting hyperbole aside the buoyant mood after the game was a rare thing and it was probably slightly subdued compared with the feeling at half time that was one largely of disbelief.
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Although the Reds have under-performed since the autumn there have been indications of what they might be able to achieve. The promise was always there but a lack of self belief invariably managed to quash it. With the visit of the Bantams that promise finally shone through.
No one benefited more than the recently maligned Ollie Palmer who showed the outstanding form of his early days with the club. He scored both goals, having already hit the crossbar, and was later denied a hat trick by a brilliant save by Richard O’Donnell.
His opener was exceptional as he out-muscled two defenders to create an opening out of nothing and finished unerringly with a half volley from the edge of the box. His partnership with Ashley Nadesan is flourishing and the former capped his best game yet for the Reds by supplying a canny final ball for the striker’s second goal.
If Palmer was back to his best then Panutche Camara was a good example of work in progress. At times in midfield he was like a whirling dervish. Bradford City simply couldn’t handle him but whenever he had a sight of goal all his confidence deserted him and he served up the tamest of finishes. That’s one specific thing for the coaches to work on.
Nathan Ferguson was another who enjoyed his best game of the campaign. He was unflappable and in no way flamboyant. His work rate was superb as was that of Josh Dacres-Cogley but, in acknowledging that, I have to say there were no passengers. It was as if the players were inspiring each other.
The other side of the coin was also shown but by a visiting player. Eoin Doyle scored a hat trick when Swindon Town visited Broadfield at the end of October. Now back with his parent club he was muzzled and restricted to one chance. His scorching drive on the run was remarkably headed away by Jamie Sendles-White. The centre back was a late replacement for Tom Dallison who was taken unwell on the morning of the match and it is safe to say that the change was seamless.
It gets harder for the Reds as Saturday’s trip to Walsall will now be accompanied by the burden of expectation. They have faltered in such situations in the past but we have reason to hope that this time might be different.