Francomb, Doherty and Matthews are Crawley Town's plus points at Salford

Crawley get stuck in at Salford / Picture: GettyCrawley get stuck in at Salford / Picture: Getty
Crawley get stuck in at Salford / Picture: Getty
Crawley Town dug deep in appalling conditions at the rain-swept Peninsula Stadium to earn a well deserved point against Salford City.

It was difficult to play good football in the circumstances and the weather meant mistakes were inevitable but the Reds did not let that bother them.

Every man got stuck in, concentrated on the situation in front of them and ensured common sense was not forgotten. The teams were very evenly matched and Salford’s measured approach was similar. Manager John Yems has often said that you start with a point and you should at least finish with one. His squad showed they have taken that message on board.

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Although the sides largely cancelled out each other there were moments of magic. The Ammies’ former Manchester United striker James Wilson provided one as he curled in a sumptuous shot from the edge of the box to open the scoring. Great team play preceded the Reds’ equaliser which was finished unerringly from a tight angle by George Francomb. The skipper’s newly found eye for goal has been a revelation.

A clue as to what conditions were like at Salford / Picture: GettyA clue as to what conditions were like at Salford / Picture: Getty
A clue as to what conditions were like at Salford / Picture: Getty

Other plus points I noted included Josh Doherty’s persistence in negating the threat posed by Salford’s dangerous winger Brandon Thomas-Asante. Sam Matthews seemed to be everywhere and could yet prove to be the jewel in Crawley’s crown. His work in midfield was prodigious but his effectiveness was reduced by the number of his passes that went astray. Max Watters struggled in the absence of a supply line but survived a gruelling ninety minutes.

Inaccurate passing continued to be the Reds’ major failing. The conditions were partly responsible but in every match the stats show that the opposition did it better. The squad’s skills need honing. They don’t need encouragement as they are as bold as any side they will meet this season.

Meanwhile the Reds blew three points at Exeter City last Tuesday after taking a well deserved lead. The disappointment was palpable and the reaction led to a reflective interview by John Yems the following day, such had been the criticism of his substitution of scorer Watters. I was certainly one of those who felt the change was crass and inexplicable as the striker’s very presence had caused panic in the Grecians’ defence. The manager’s explanation clarified his thinking.

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The swap, however, upset the side’s rhythm and they were pushed on to the back foot. Conceding the equaliser would not have been so serious had it not been for the rarest of events – a bad error by the usually peerless Glenn Morris, who slammed an attempted clearance into the lurking Ryan Bowman and it rebounded straight into the net.

Whatever the outcome Crawley had already shown they were as good, if not better, than the well-fancied hosts.

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