Mark Yates came through a very difficult week absolutely delighted with The Reds’ win against Cambridge United.
He had lost three players whose loan periods finished and all of them were full backs.
Many frantic enquiries came to naught but he finally secured the services of 19-year-old left back George Smith from Barnsley who became a crowd favourite from the kick-off.
The home fans were impressed by his cultured play and that rare quality at Broadfield, the ability to find his man with a pass.
Immediately Crawley Town enjoyed improved solidity at the back coupled with deep lying creativity.
Smith also showed the tenacity of his injured namesake Jimmy and so came as a complete package. Nobody understood why he wasn’t named Man of the Match; the choice of Lewis Young brought only incredulity.
Wherever the inspiration came from, a re-jigged Crawley line-up played to the max. Ross Jenkins looked comfortable in the middle of the park, Gavin Tomlin showed signs of closing in on full fitness and Lee Barnard had recovered well from the battering he took at Wycombe.
Matt Harrold revelled in the enormity of the challenge and reacted brilliantly to score as Barnard’s pass came to him very quickly.
Yates thought his side had bettered the visitors in every aspect of the game and, what’s more, they coped with the awful conditions better as well.
In the second half with the wind at their backs Cambridge failed to keep their passing under control as the Reds had done.
The rain returned for the second period and conditions were atrocious but Reds took it in their stride.
The pitch stood up well and must be one of the best in the division.
Midtable safety looks assured and a few more wins should take off the pressure and allow the coaches to concentrate more on pure football rather than obtaining results.
A lot will depend on how well the manager gets on during the transfer window as the squad is very small in number.
A few more debuts like George Smith’s and Broadfield will be rocking.
Once again I am amazed at how quickly things can change in football. This win was very hard work but the players’ approach to it ensured the full appreciation of the home supporters.
Maybe now some of those who showed their feelings with their feet over the past months will think about coming back. They just might enjoy it.
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