Five things we learned from Crawley's hard earned win over Cambridge

Crawley Town earned their fifth consecutive home win in all competitions by seeing off an unfortunate Cambridge side. Here are five things we learned from a game of two halves.

Luke Gambin, who is pictured making his debut against Yeovil last week, broke the deadlock in his second start against Cambridge
Luke Gambin, who is pictured making his debut against Yeovil last week, broke the deadlock in his second start against Cambridge

New team but same top keeper

At 34 years of age and into his third season at the club, Glenn Morris said after yesterday's win that he has never been on better form and it is difficult not to agree.

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It is also difficult to pick out one poor goalkeeping performance from the former Gillingham man, who has been a mainstay in a team which has vastly changed from the one he joined three years ago — as a goalkeeper coach.

Despite another summer of wholesale changes, including the man in charge, Morris is still making a huge impact, proved by at least three superb first half saves.

After making a top stop to deny George Maris from 25 yards on 17 minutes, he was back at it again just minutes later, making himself big to come out and deny Jevani Brown a certain goal, before making yet another excellent stop, after the half hour mark, from George Taft's looping header.

In a display well worthy of his man of the match award, he almost single handedly kept the game goalless at half time, but he wasn't done there. His save from point black range just before the hour mark was a key turning point in a game largely dominated by the visitors, and from that moment on Crawley never looked back and took full control with two late goals.

N'gala and Connolly influence

However, it was not only Morris who deserves credit for keeping the lively visitors at bay.

It is no coincidence that the return of Bondz N'Gala and Mark Connolly in defence resulted in Crawley's first clean sheet since the pair last started together at home — the 2-0 win over Morecambe.

They are both a real presence in the air, winning every header, and no forward in the league would like to come up against them.

Their absence midweek at Notts County could have been a key reason behind the eventual 3-1 defeat, despite a positive attacking performance.

Reds riding their luck?

After a very early goal for Cambridge was ruled out for offside and their failure to get past Morris after 12 attempts in the first half, it became clear it just wasn't going to be their day.

The Reds started slowly and never really threatened in the opening 45 minutes, only managing one effort off target in the half, and some fans were chanting for more energy from the players.

However, albeit one good chance missed by Cambridge early in the second half, Gabriele Cioffi's side came out a completely different team after the break and made the visitors pay for their missed opportunities.

Moments of magic making the difference for Crawley

The Reds may have improved in the second half, with them taking more shots in the first 15 minutes than the whole of the first half (three), but it was clear a moment of magic was going to be needed to break the deadlock.

In the absence of the injured Ashley Nathaniel-George, who produced such moments in the previous two home wins, it was now time for someone else to produce something out of nothing for Crawley.

This time it was Luke Gambin, who put in a man of the match performance in his first start for the club last weekend, who made the difference with a superbly taken goal with 20 minutes to go. After picking up the ball out wide, it seemed like he had kept the ball for too long, and his opportunity for a shot had gone, but he kept his composure and patience to find a gap and slot it past the keeper.

With Cambridge chasing an equaliser, gaps then appeared for the prolific Ollie Palmer to score his seventh goal of the season to seal the win.

Broadfield Stadium becoming a fortress?

Following their two recent home victories, Ollie Palmer and Glenn Morris said the Broadfield Stadium is becoming a 'bit of a fortress' this season, and it is easy to see why.

Despite not hitting the heights of recent home performances, the Reds still managed to pick up their fourth consecutive league win on home soil with a comfortable looking result, whilst it leaves them five home league games unbeaten.

To win when you're not playing well is a sign of a good team, and the Broadfield Stadium is quickly becoming a stadium teams will fear coming to.

It is an impressive turn around for Crawley, who now sit one point shy of the play off places in ninth, as they regularly dropped points at home last season.

Turning good performances at home into victories was an achilles heel of Harry Kewell's team but Cioffi may have now found a winning formula and just needs to replicate that away from home.