Crawley 1 Portsmouth 2

Crawley manager Harry Kewell sounded a bit disappointed after defeat in final friendly.

Reds dominated for long periods and got the perfect start when Dutch striker Thomas Verheydt nodded in from a corner four minutes into the game.

But two Brett Pitman goals in the second half sent them to defeat going into Saturday’s League Two opener at home to Port Vale.

Reds dominated by getting down the wings, with Enzio Boldewijn on the right and Jordan Roberts on the left, and delivering crosses for Verheydt.

But a 56th-minute set-play was the game changer as Pitman converted a free kick.

Crawley lost their system, the previously well-organised defence was less stable and the attack became relatively harmless.

Kewell said: “Everything was very positive until that free kick.

“You can control so much of the game. Today, I could control 80%. The other 20% is down to human error, the weather, the conditions, the pitch.

“One decision goes wrong and you lose the game.”

The best news for Reds was Verheydt finally making his way into the team.

He not only scored his first goal for the club, he also caused danger in several situations during his 70 minutes on the field.

Kewell said: “Thomas has been a fantastic character since he´s come in.

“He´s been very lively, very happy and it takes time to adjust.”

Reds cannot wait to see captain Jimmy Smith back after injury.

Kewell added: “Jimmy is come along well.

“It´s a big injury and he is recovering very well.

“He is back on the park, he is running, he is touching the ball – which is great news for me, for the team and for Crawley.”

In the meantime, the question remains as to who will be captain in his absence.

Against Portsmouth it was Dannie Bulman but, for Kewell, that does not mean anything.

He said: “I´ve got leaders. I don´t believe that just because you don´t wear the armband you can´t be the captain.

“Unfortunately you have to give it to someone.

“I could give it to anyone because they are all doing what I´m asking.

“I have to give it to someone but they are all captains at the moment.”

Pitman hit Portsmouth’s winner on 75 minutes after being superbly served by substitute Milan Lalkovic.

But Kewell could see the strides his team have made in pre-season, even in defeat.

He said: “I am pleased with the progress. It takes time to bring ideas to the club. It takes time for players to adapt.

“But they are willing to accept changes, which is really fantastic. We just keep going.”