Captain Jimmy Smith believes Crawley have more quality this season – and enough to seal a play-off spot.

The Reds midfielder got on the scoresheet for the first time this season in a dramatic 3-2 home win over Bury on Saturday, in which striker Ollie Palmer struck late after they had three goals disallowed.

Two of those seemed harsh, with Crawley celebrating for the best part of a minute after Filipe Morais’s 30-yard strike deflected over the Bury keeper to make it 2-0 in the 20th minute, only for the linesman to cancel it out.

The official said the ball hit Smith, who had put his team in front in the third minute.

Smith’s opener came from a George Francomb cross which he headed in from a tight angle.

Dominic Poleon had a significantly less controversial goal ruled out early in the second half before Bury took control of the game and deservedly went 2-1 up with goals from Chris Dagnall and substitute Danny Mayor, who scored with 12 minutes left.

Then it was Panutche Camara’s time to shine as he came off the bench and headed in a Dannie Bulman free-kick in the 82nd minute.

Incredibly, Crawley’s Camara was denied his brace two minutes later by the linesman’s flag after turning the ball in from a goalmouth scramble.

But Reds persisted and got their winner – and Smith says this squad are on their way to big things.

Smith, 31, told The Argus: “Yes, I do (think they are better). I think we’ve got a great squad with characters.

“People that have played higher, people that have achieved things like promotions – the likes of Filipe (Morais).

“People coming in day in, day out, good characters wanting to work hard, wanting to push each other and our togetherness day in, day out, it’s all about working hard, and that’s what we do on a Saturday as well.”

He believes Palmer’s goals could prove crucial if Reds are to make the top seven – something that looked a real possibility late last season.

Palmer’s predecessor Thomas Verheydt scored a measly two goals during his brief spell in English football last season – and Smith, who hit double figures, knows his team will require much more this time round.

Palmer has already netted five times this campaign, so the former Lincoln forward is on the right track.

The towering frontman, who stands at 6ft 5in, scored a sterling solo goal in the 88th minute to beat Bury, jinking past three players in the opposition box and toe-poking home the winner.

His goal completed an impressive all-round display from the No.9.

When asked if it could be Palmer’s productivity that edges Crawley into the play-offs, Smith said: “Yes, definitely. I think last year we lacked that a little bit. Last year myself and Enzio (Boldewijn) scored ten goals.

“I think we were the highest scorers so we need strikers to be putting them in.”

Smith put in a passionate performance – as he usually does – and when the chips were down for Crawley, his teammates joined him in a spirited fightback.

He was frustrated about some of the decisions, particularly Camara’s disallowed goal, which he insisted “could not have been offside” as a player was on the line.

However, they did not give in, and got their reward.

Smith said: “It’s down to me to lift everyone, but we’ve got other people around who are doing the same thing.

“People in the back line – the likes of Cons (Mark Connolly), Romain (Vincelot) in midfield Bully (Dannie Bulman), Filipe, Ollie and that demanding from each other.

“That’s what we’ve got to do, everyone pushing each other, trying to keep clean sheets, that’s what we want to do, but we didn’t do that today.”