Taste of the Terrace: Crawley Town redeem reputations by saving best until last
I expect you could have got good odds from the bookies on Crawley Town winning 3-1 against a Tranmere Rovers side that has secured a place in the play-offs.
The odds on the Reds playing their best football of the season and fully deserving those three points would surely have been even better.
This game was like manna from heaven for the majority of the second highest attendance of the season at Broadfield.
It was not just a great win but also a brilliant display by a team that really wanted to redeem their reputations. To a man they did just that.
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The defence got the better of Tranmere’s powerful strikeforce of the combative Chris Dagnall and League Two’s leading scorer James Norwood.
Matty Willock was a tower of strength in midfield, where Panutche Camara was not only at his trickiest but exemplified the determination of the squad.
Up front Ashley Nathaniel-George scored again and Reece Grego-Cox certainly deserved to.
Crawley’s second goal was credited to Filipe Morais although I didn’t think he got a touch on Joe McNerney’s shot.
Morais, though, was back to his very best after a slow recovery to match fitness following surgery.
Camara secured the biggest cheer of the afternoon as he rounded off the win with a brilliant solo goal, winning the ball and running from 20 yards inside his own half.
The reception given to the returning Jimmy Smith in a late substitution nearly matched it.
Every individual player was above-par and, for once, this win was very much a team effort.
It won’t be long before work begins in earnest in preparation for next season and there are going to be departures and arrivals.
The rumour mill has already been active but the certainties are that Willock, Luke Gambin and Joe Maguire will return to their parent clubs at the end of their loan agreements.
Each of them would be welcomed back for the next campaign if the supporters had anything to do with it.
The end-of-season conjecture concerns Redhill-born Ashley Nadesan, who was a sensation as a youngster with Horley Town and is presently with League One Fleetwood Town.
His signing would add further young flair to the attack and would be greatly appreciated on the terraces.
What always puzzled me, though, was the club’s inaction in 2016 when he made the step up the ladder.
The final game came as a great relief after a very frustrating season.
We all knew the lads’ capabilities but could not understand how they managed to under-perform so abjectly on occasions.
We still don’t have the answer to that but it was a delight to see them play to their full potential and to get the result that they deserved.
Despite all the doubts, mine included, the belief is back that this club can go places with the squad that is already here.