Crawley Town 'deserved' victory at Rochdale

Manager John Yems and defender Tony Craig were both in agreement that Crawley Town deserved their 1-0 win at Rochdale in League Two on Saturday.

Sunday, 10th October 2021, 10:46 am
Updated Sunday, 10th October 2021, 10:48 am
Manager John Yems said Crawley Town 'deserved' their win at Rochdale on Saturday. Picture by Cory Pickford

Kwesi Appiah's 14th minute strike sent the three points back to West Sussex. The Ghanaian forward secured just the Reds' second away victory of the season, and moved them up to ninth in the table.

Just goal difference separates Crawley, who now have 17 points from 11 games, from the play-off places. John Yems' side are just a point behind fourth-placed Port Vale, and two behind Swindon Town, who occupy third.

Yems said: "I thought we deserved it to be fair. [They're] a tough side and they make it hard for you.

Tony Craig said it was a 'good team performance' from the Reds at Dale. Picture by Steve Robards

"The boys put in a good shift today. Little Amrit [Bansal-McNulty} made his debut and did well.

"We're just doing a job, but we're still a long, long way off it. We've won one game of football.

"As brilliant as it was today, think how we felt last week at Tranmere.

"We're not good enough just to turn it on and off. We've got to be like that every game we play in."

Craig added: "It was good team performance today. Rochdale are very possession-based side and we dealt with that well.

"In the first 10, 15 minutes we grew into the game more and I think we caused them a lot of problems throughout the 90 minutes.

"When you come to places like Rochdale, we know they're going to have the ball and sometimes you've got to put your body on the line.

"It's just that, in this dressing room, we can do that. Hopefully that gives us good momentum now going into the rest of the season."

The victory also saw the Reds record their third league clean sheet of the season. Yems and Craig were both pleased with Crawley's defensive performance, with the central defender saying the clean sheet was built from the front.

Yems said: "We defended like we should defend. We've done a lot of work on it because we've been giving away poxy, silly goals again. But today we didn't."

Craig added: "It was a good defensive team performance. It's nice to get a clean sheet as a defender but we defended well from the front.

"All the gaps were at the right space and we nullified their strengths."

Appiah netted his third Crawley goal since his summer switch to The People's Pension Stadium, and both Yems and Craig were delighted with the impact of the 31-year-old.

Yems said: "He could've had a couple. He's a good player.

"You get him fit, you get him lively, and he looks like he's enjoying his football. Credit to him.

Craig added: "I think it's his first start in about nine months. He got 75 minutes, so every minute is precious for him at the moment.

"He's come in, settled well, he's a good personality to have around the group, and most importantly he's put the ball in the back of the net."

Defender Craig got two full competitive games under his belt this week, on his return from a serious illness.

The 36-year-old said the illness had lead to his hospitalisation, but the centre half was grateful to now be over the worst of it.

He said: "I had gastroenteritis and I lost a stone-and-a-half, which for me is a lot of weight to lose.

"I still haven't got it all back yet, so I can enjoy my food thankfully!

"I've still got a little way to go to get the weight back on. I'm working hard in the gym, day in, day out, to get the muscle mass back on.

"When it him me it was a tricky time. I was in bed for over a week and had to go into hospital for a night or so.

"It wasn't nice, but I'm thankful for that I've come out the end of that now.

"I've got two 90 minutes under my belt this week. It's important that I find my feet again."