Opinion: Why Crawley Town will relish run of games versus top teams

It seemed almost inevitable that Crawley Town’s visit to Roots Hall would result in a goalless draw.

Sunday, 11th April 2021, 12:20 pm
Updated Sunday, 11th April 2021, 12:22 pm
Crawley were worth their point at Roots Hall / Picture: Martin Smith - UK Sports Images

A clash between the lowest scorers in League Two and the team enduring the poorest current run of form hardly had box office written all over it, although it turned out to be a matter of what might have been, at least the Reds’ hard-earned point passed the unwanted mantle of poorest current form to Forest Green Rovers.

Some fans also feared the likelihood of Nathan Ferguson scoring against his former club and it nearly came about as the midfielder drove a 20-yard shot against the base of a post. The Shrimpers’ finishing showed why half the paltry number of goals they have scored in their past 14 games have come from former Red’ favourites Ferguson and Ashley Nathaniel-George.

Crawley threatened more but, as John Yems pointed out after the game, you have to put away the chances that you create. Reds fashioned several good openings perhaps the best coming early on from James Tilley whose fierce angled drive was bravely headed off the line by Tyler Cordner. Ashley Nadesan looked dangerous and was denied more than once but possibly wasted his best opportunity by selflessly laying the ball square to Tllley when it might have been better to shoot.

Action from Crawley's 0-0 draw at Southend / Picture: Martin Smith UK Sports Images

Crawley’s goals have dried up and part of the reason, ironically, could be Tom Nichols’ prodigious work rate. I believe he needs to play further forward and closer to Nadesan but he has no qualms about helping his colleagues in midfield and on one occasion in this match he was the last man, finally clearing up a Southend attack virtually on his own goal line.

It was a match of missed opportunities but hardly a dour encounter. Reds weren’t quite as expansive as they were against Scunthorpe United (another entertaining 0-0) but they did display the necessary motivation. Creating chances and finishing them are two different skills and it is the latter that Crawley need following the sale of Max Watters. His finishing was his strength and he readily capitalised on the chances set up by his teammates.

If Crawley’s approach to the game brought some relief to fans and management alike, the result merely confirmed the bizarre statistic that the Reds have taken more points against opponents above them in the table. I can only imagine that the quality of the leading teams brings out the best in them so perhaps we should be encouraged by the fact that each of our final six opponents occupies a place above us in the league table.