Five things we learned from Crawley’s draw with Luton

DM17102987a.jpg Football: Crawley FC v Luton. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171021-185039008

It isn’t often you can come away happy from a goalless stalemate at home, but Reds fans have every reason to be after Crawley’s superb display against high-flying Luton.

Here are five things we learnt from the much-improved performance.

DM17103069a.jpg Football: Crawley FC v Luton. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171021-184849008

Determination

If you could use only one word to describe Crawley’s performance it would be determined.

From the first minute to the last, the Reds showed no fear and insistently battled and pressed to a point which Luton could manage no more than two shots on target.

Harry Kewell’s decision not to make a single substitution says it all about how well the team was playing.

DM17103140a.jpg Football: Crawley FC v Luton. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171021-185348008

On the back of four consecutive home defeats, no-one could blame Kewell’s side if they showed a lack of confidence.

This was far from the case for a Crawley side, whose sole aim was to win and prove a point to the restless fans. This determination was epitomised by Mark Connolly and Panutche Camara.

The former won every second ball, headed away everything that came near him and his livid reaction to conceding a throw in summed it up.

It will take a long time to hear a louder scream of frustration than that unleashed by the Irishman and it proves how he and his team would settle for nothing less than their best. Camara demonstrated his determination in a different way.

DM17103062a.jpg Football: Crawley FC v Luton. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171021-185241008

The 20-year-old didn’t stop running for the entirety of the 90 minutes, always trying to make something happen for his team, and even put in several vital tackles. His tireless efforts were not unnoticed.

Despite the match sponsors giving the man of the match award to Dannie Bulman, who was also excellent, Kewell and many fans gave their vote to the Bissau-Guinean international.

Huge improvement wins over fans

What a difference a few days can make. Following their desperately poor home defeat to bottom-placed Chesterfield on Tuesday night, fans’ frustration came to the forefront.

DM17102705a.jpg Football: Crawley FC v Luton. Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-171021-184944008

The final whistle was met by boos from Reds’ fans, who have seen their side win just two home games since February.

If social media comments are anything to go by, Kewell’s future at the club looked very bleak with many calling for the Australian to pack his bags.

However, four days later, the players received huge applause from the stands as if they had just won. This appreciation was fully deserved by a Crawley side who played out of their skins to make amends for previous failures.

Not only did they deservedly earn a point, they also came closest to winning, posing far more of a threat than Luton despite their hugely contrasting league positions.

Defence still solid

One undoubtable positive which can be taken from Crawley’s season so far is their solidity in defence.

16 goals have been scored against them in the league this season, which is the lowest total in the bottom half of the table, and the same amount that second-placed Notts County have conceded.

Many of the defeats have been by a narrow 1-0 scoreline, from one lapse of concentration, but for much of the season they have rarely looked like conceding.

To keep a clean sheet against a free-scoring Luton side, who have found the net a league high 34 times after just 15 games, is no mean feat and is a testament to how impressive the Reds were.

Much of this is also down to the excellent form of experienced keeper Glenn Morris, who many fans believe is the best man between the sticks they have had in years.

Still lack potent forward

Despite conceding few goals this season, the goalscoring problem at the club is still clear for all to see. Along with Morecambe, Crawley have scored a league low of 12 goals this campaign and this is down to a lack of a potent forward.

Kewell has regularly deployed wingers as the focal point of his team, opting for pace and power as the way forward. Enzio Boldewijn, Panutche Camara and Ibrahim Meite, for example, are all pacey and dangerous forwards who have consistently featured this season but they have only scored two goals between them.

Midfielder Jimmy Smith has scored more on his own this season, which shows that they are in desperate need for a prolific goal scorer to lead the line.

The loss of James Collins in the summer didn’t help the cause, but fans will be expecting new signing Thomas Verheydt to provide a different approach to Crawley’s attack when he returns from injury.

Despite a draw being a great result against Luton, it could have so easily been a well-deserved victory had there been a seasoned goalpoacher in the side.

Better results against top teams

Much of Crawley’s struggles in front of goal this season have been due to their opponent’s intent on defending slender leads or waiting to hit Crawley on the break.

This is why the Reds have struggled to pick up points in the games against teams near to them in the table, who are just as in desperate need for points.

However, when playing against teams higher up the table, who are willing to go forward, this leaves gaps for Crawley’s pacey forwards to exploit.

This was the case against Luton, who were full of confidence going into the game and bidding for a fifth successive league win.

This made for an entertaining match, as both teams were able to create chances, particularly Crawley who had 12 shots on goal and six on target.

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