MATCH-WINNER Mickey Demetriou admitted he owed his teammates after taking the blame for Crawley Town’s goal on Tuesday night.

Demetriou was beaten in the air as Mark Connolly headed the hosts in front after half an hour at the Stadium.

But the defender responded with two headers of his own either side of a half-time ‘rollicking’ from manager Michael Flynn to seal victory.

“It was a good win, a hard-fought win and I think our second-half performance deserved the three points,” said Demetriou.

“I think I owed the team those two goals after letting my man score theirs.

“So I’m thankful for that and I’m glad we got the three points, which is the most important thing.”

Flynn revealed that he had given Demetriou “a rocket” during the break and the centre-back took the criticism on the chin.

“The gaffer has to do that,” said the 27-year-old.

“Being a defender, first and foremost I have to protect our goal at set-pieces.

“Their guy was in front of me and just got to the ball slightly earlier but if he gives me a rollicking every game and I come out and perform like that in the second half then I don’t mind that.

“They are a good side and we didn’t play that well in the first half.

“They got on top of us but in the second half, after the gaffer had a few words with us, we came out and performed the way we know we can do.”

South Wales Argus:

The win lifted the Exiles to seventh in League Two but, like his manager, Demetriou believes talk of a challenge for the play-offs is premature.

“It’s probably too soon to say,” said the centre-back who won automatic promotion with Shrewsbury Town in the 2014-2015 season.

“I always take every game as it comes. I’ve been lucky enough to get promoted out of this league and it was the same mentality then.

“You can’t look beyond the next game.”

That next game is at Luton Town on Saturday and Demetriou is prepared for another tough test but he says 12 wins in 22 league games under Flynn means the Exiles are full of confidence.

“Luton is going to be a very tough game,” he said.

“It will probably be a sell-out as they’re doing well and we need to play the game and not the occasion.

“But you look at the end of last season when we won seven out of 12 games.

“That’s not a team that will be fighting against relegation if you do that all season.

“The gaffer has kept a lot of the team that performed those miracles last season, which was very important, and he’s added quality as well.

“The players he’s brought in have helped the team out a lot,” he added.

“Last season we had a good 13 or 14 players that constantly played. This year we’ve got a good 22 players who can play.

“Scot Bennett will feel a bit unlucky not to start and Tom Owen-Evans, who was different class for us at the end of last season, is struggling to get games.

“That just proves that we are playing well and it’s hard for the gaffer to leave people out.”

South Wales Argus:

Tuesday was a special night for Demetriou who hails from Durrington in West Sussex – not far from Crawley – and he returned home to be with fiancée Aimee and new baby Theo after the match.

“I’m only half an hour away so I had family and friends here so it was nice to get a couple of goals for them,” he said.

“I’ll have to get them to come every week.”