TASTE OF THE TERRACE: Crawley Town respond in perfect style to Luton challenge after Chesterfield defeat
Following Crawley Town's abject defeat on Tuesday by bottom of the table Chesterfield it was no surprise that Reds fans viewed the visit of table-topping Luton Town with a fair degree of pessimism. They couldn't have been more wrong.
In a rumbustious end-to-end contest, Crawley more than matched their title favourite opponents.
I had no doubts the Reds would play better than they had in midweek but I was mightily impressed with the intensity of their game especially as they rediscovered self-belief.
In a line-up that included no passengers, three things stood out that were both part of the reason Crawley played so well and also recognition of it.
Josh Yorwerth returned to the side initially appearing in the role of third centre half in a back-five as we faced an expected onslaught from the visitors.
He was soon able to adopt his intended role deep in midfield breaking up Luton’s attacking forays.
The young Welshman was everywhere and took his swashbuckling style of play to a new level.
Everyone followed his example, frustrating Luton to the extent that the usually dangerous Danny Hylton was the first man hooked by Hatters’ manager Nathan Jones.
Up front we witnessed the equally blessed deployment of Panutche Camara to lead the attack.
Whilst the youngster strikes me as being one of L.S.Lowry’s Matchstick Men, his football was quite unique.
He chased everything and possessed such pace that he won many seemingly hopeless causes. His ability to trap a ball on his toecap was remarkable.
Harry Kewell may have caused some surprise with his team selection but his choice was spot-on and he followed up with a decision that is very rare in today’s game.
As his opposite number rang the changes trying to unlock our defence, HK accepted the ancient advice that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and his starting 11 each played the full 97 minutes.
Returning players often don’t celebrate if they score against their former club but James Collins paid us the bigger compliment of not scoring at all, although he would have done if we had let him.
Neither set of fans could understand why the match hadn’t finished 4-4.
If luck had any part in the goalless outcome then it favoured the defences.
For the home fans starved of success the result was as good as a win and the prolonged and heartfelt applause at the end of the match was as emotional as it was well deserved.
It is one thing to drop from a high point to the depths in a single game but this side’s improvement over just four days simply beggars belief.
We all knew they had it in them to challenge the best in League Two and now the lads should believe it themselves.
Next stop must be consistency followed by better finishing. Bring on the Imps.