Crawley manager Kevin Betsy was encouraged by an improved attacking display in the 0-0 draw at Harrogate – even if his team are still waiting for their first league goal of the season.
The Red Devils had a blank scoresheet for a third consecutive outing, although James Tilley hit the bar and home keeper Pete Jameson pulled off excellent saves to deny Kwesi Appiah, Tom Nicholls and Mazeed Ogungbo.
Betsy said: “I’m really pleased with the resilience and character of the group, because Harrogate is a tough place to come.
“They won their last home game in the league 3-0 against Swindon so, to come away with a point, is a good performance and we know the goals will come. We have got good players at the front end of the pitch and Brandon Mason showed what a productive threat he will be on the left for us in his first game.
“We hit the bar and had other good chances to score, so we could have gone home with three points.”
But Betsy also expressed his gratitude to 37-year-old veteran Tony Craig, who marshalled the visitors’ makeshift defence brilliantly to ensure a share of the spoils.
“Our organisation and adaptability, with three senior players missing in the back line and then picking up another injury when Ludwig (Francillette) had to go off, was really pleasing,” the former Charlton striker said. “The application of the players was on full show.
“Tony (Craig) played outstandingly well, as did all the back five.”
Home boss Simon Weaver was also encouraged by his team’s defensive efforts, with the Sulphurites kicking off the campaign with two consecutive clean sheets at Wetherby Road.
That represents progress for a club who had League Two’s second-worst defensive record last season, but Weaver was more concerned by performances at the other end of the pitch where his team have failed to net in three consecutive fixtures in all competitions.
“We desperately wanted to get another three points, although it still feels quite rewarding to get two clean sheets on the bounce at home in the league, because that’s so far removed from last season,” Weaver said. “We just need to spark up in the final third and do a bit more.
“We’ve got the players who are capable of doing that and we will be looking to improve in that respect when we go to Gillingham on Tuesday. Crawley also deserve credit, though, for the way they defended to keep a clean sheet because we were on top for the majority of the game.”
Weaver went on to admit that he was also indebted to the display of summer signing Jameson, adding: “He was worked more than we wanted, but he also commanded his box very well in terms of coming off his line at the right times and I think’s he’s a real leader.”
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