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Taste of the Terrace: Crawley Town’s coaching staff must restore confidence after shocking defensive lapses



Another song reference seems appropriate for this result. You may recall The Who debuted with ‘I Can’t Explain’. That is spot on as the Reds’ display at Gresty Road simply beggared belief.

You can find individual explanations (perhaps excuses) but overall the fragility of the defence that has performed so well in recent weeks was inexplicable. The worst part was that the collapse started with Crawley a goal to the good and bossing the game.

Jordan Bowery’s well struck equaliser should never have happened as the handball by Perry Ng that we spotted at the time was confirmed by the post match video. Tom Dallison’s own goal was as undeserved and as cruel as could be but coming just two minutes later terrified our defenders.

George Francomb looked lost in the build-up to Chris Porter’s almost comical tap-in for the third while Joe McNerney will have nightmares about his error that led to Paul Green making it 4-1 just a minute later.

Half-time should have brought a regrouping but it took just over a minute for the Reds to be completely undone and Charlie Kirk sneaked in to help himself to number five. Then a fortunate deflection accompanied Owen Dale’s shot for the final goal

Some fans thought we had received some poor decisions from referee Seb Stockbridge but I thought his real error was the dismissal of Ibrahim Meite. Check this on video for play acting of the highest order.

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It wasn’t all bad as, especially early on, we built well and created chances and the onus is now on the coaching staff to restore confidence by showing that these defensive lapses were simply a one-off – or maybe six-off.

The feel good factor that had followed the defeat of Grimsby Town continued with last Tuesday’s visit of promotion seeking Mansfield Town. This was an entertaining free-flowing match that oddly ended as a goalless draw despite an intriguing tussle in midfield.

Crawley were full of tricks and flicks which came off more often than not and endeared them to the fans. Their lively approach play was positive yet, once again, nobody appeared keen to attack the ball in the box or to try a shot.

The team work was excellent and the superb backline nullified a powerful Stags attack. Midfielder Matty Willock and the hard working Ollie Palmer often surged forward but the striker frequently drifted wide to link up with Lewis Young and so rarely ran through the middle. Young’s drive was perhaps The Reds’ best attempt of the evening.

More often than not the diminutive Reece Grego-Cox adopted the role of target man and gave the Mansfield defence no end of problems.

Apart from the need to show self belief and to shoot on sight more often Crawley at that moment again looked like a side that had turned the corner and was aiming high.

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Taste of the Terrace: Morais strike brings Crawley Town salvation



It wasn’t easy to enjoy this tense encounter at Huish Park but this time the 141 intrepid travelling fans were able to celebrate the result.

A basement clash in the relegation dogfight was never going to be pretty but that aspect counted for little as the points were all important.

Not only did Crawley Town take the spoils in this six-pointer but all around them their fellow strugglers crumbled.

Notts County were brushed aside at Crewe and Forest Green Rovers’ win against Macclesfield may well have been more deserved than the three points they had gained against the Reds a week previously.


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In addition Cambridge United lost, allowing the Reds to climb above them in the table, whilst Morecambe and Port Vale joined in with poor results improving chances of a further rise in the rankings.

What an amazing turnaround in the space of seven days.

Some things remained familiar however. Glenn Morris was at his brilliant best and pulled off five vital saves including a brilliant double save in added-time. Ollie Palmer looked sadly out of touch again yet still delivered the crucial pass that led to the winning goal.

Palmer was hugging the left touchline when he produced a deep and precisely weighted cross to the unmarked Filipe Morais.

He struck the ball first time beyond Nathan Baxter to make up for his error the week before that allowed Forest Green Rovers to poach all three points.

The midfield saw a battle royal which neither side able to dominate and as a result goalmouth action was at a premium.

Crawley’s effort was very much a credit to the team ethic.

There was no doubting the lads’ intent to mount a serious attempt at saving their season.

They’ve tried that before without success but this time they were not hamstrung by bad luck or weird refereeing decisions.

They just managed to get the edge over a Yeovil side that is battling equally as hard to avoid the drop.

Crawley Town this season is a team that has lost its way. Underperformance has been common and our true position is, I regret to say, where we are now – just above the relegation places.

With the immediate pressure reduced we can ask again whether this victory heralds a real change of fortune.

The Easter fixtures should provide a better indication as the match at Exeter on Good Friday is winnable.

The Grecians have been inconsistent and we often raise our game against them.

The real crunch may well come on Easter Monday with the visit of Notts County.

They could be in last chance saloon by then and the Reds rarely seem to cut it when facing the Magpies.

All in all I think our campaign remains in the balance but it is a very welcome change that sees us taking on these crunch games with our spirits high.

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Crawley Town verdict: Fans ecstatic as Reds edge towards safety with vital away win at Yeovil Town



Gutted last week, elated this week – it’s never dull watching the Red Devils – what an all-round performance the team put in.

To a man everyone put 100 per cent effort to get the three points needed to keep the relegation fear at bay – with these points now on the board, it’s highly if not mathematically reason to feel that next season we will again be playing in League Two.

It needs a miracle for the bottom-three sides to get enough points to maintain their League status at the expense of Crawley, two of the bottom-three will go down.

Manager Gabriele Cioffi went with the same line-up as the previous game, but added Matty Willock and Luke Gambin to the subs’ bench.

From the start, the visitors were up for it, closing down, harassing and showing more enterprise than the host – they wanted it more.

But as we know we have all the skill of getting into scoring opportunities but then we fall apart, against Yeovil it was no different.

No-one is prepared to have a go – at least give it a try.


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It wasn’t until the second half that the stalemate was broken, a pin-point centre from Ollie Palmer fell to the feet of Filipe Morais – side stepped the defender and fired past the ‘keeper into the net – that sent the 141 travelling fans into absolute raptures. We had scored, from open play, away from home and there was pandemonium at the side of the pitch with players and supporters hugging each other – to the amusement of the stewards and match officials.

20 minutes remaining, our Achilles Heel time approaching, from the 85th minute, the travelling fans starting to get nervous, biting finger nails, looking at the watches to see the time remaining and I phones for news of the other games.

Everything going our way: teams below us losing, we were winning – into five minutes added time – still time for a killer blow to the visitors – up comes Glenn Morris with three superb saves, one a double save – once again we owe a debt of gratitude to our ‘keeper – time and time again he has produced outstanding performances and it wasn’t a surprise that he was voted man of the match by supporters for those three saves at the end.

Time for everyone now to relax, it is job done – we have Notts County on Easter Monday – we could actually get them relegated if we win, what a turnaround of fortunes – Notts were one of the early season favourites for promotion.

An update on our coaches to the next away matches to Exeter City; there are 30 booked at the moment.

Exeter City on Good Friday, April 19 kick-off 1pm.

The coach departs the stadium at 7am and we have a breakfast stop arranged at the Eagle Tavern on the A303 near Ilminster – the breakfast is not included in the £20 so if you want one please let me know so that we can pre-order – the breakfast is £6 per person.

We still have plenty of seats available and we will only be taking the one coach so please book if you want to travel and please confirm if you want the breakfast.

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Taste of the Terrace: I’ve never felt so downright angry at Crawley Town’s performance



If anything encapsulated Gabriele Cioffi’s detachment from reality it was his 75th minute substitution of Reece Grego-Cox for Dominic Poleon.

For the second home game running the Italian chose to take off Crawley’s Man of the Match, no doubt baffling the sponsors as much as the home supporters.

The young striker fully deserved that accolade for his non-stop effort in which no challenge was too great and no chase a step too far.

This was in stark contrast to Ollie Palmer, who is losing legions of fans.

It was a display also worthy of topping that of Dannie Bulman who played as only he can and scored an even better goal than those featuring in the Goal of the Season competition on the club website.

It seems as though the players must have read my words as they once again threw it all away at the death.

The confusion between Filipe Morais and Joe Maguire that led to Christian Doidge’s second goal suggested they never talk to each other.

Certainly Morais seemed to blame his team-mate for not reacting to his own poor pass.

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Crawley Town verdict: Late goal by Forest Green brings threat of relegation

Once again this was a match that the Reds lost and Forest Green really didn’t deserve all three points.

They are a sound enough team but were generally outfought and out-footballed by Crawley Town.

For once we scored when we were on top as Bulman’s powerful drive from better than 30 yards proved unstoppable and showed that reward can come simply from having a go.

In attack we looked better although Grego-Cox was not adequately supported.

The backline was generally excellent although Doidge scored the opener with embarrassing ease.

He must love playing against us. It begs the question, how did we manage to lose? How indeed!

It was not down to the referee, although for a spell Darren Drysdale seemed to be on a totally different planet to everyone else.

Nothing occurred to merit the hugely unbalanced foul count and afterwards one fan, an active referee by the way, described the official’s decisions as “diabolical.”

Although Reds’ display was better on the day the faults and shortcomings appear not to have been addressed, nor do they look likely to be. No matter how hard the lads work in training nothing will improve until the coaches have instilled some cohesion into the set-up.

That means changing the approach (and therefore the incumbents) and, should we survive, testing Paul Hayward’s rumoured generosity and strengthening the squad.

In the meantime the club seems to be sliding inexorably towards a local derby with Sutton United in the National League next season.

I have come away from watching other games feeling disappointed, frustrated, even bemused but I don’t believe I have ever felt so downright angry at the way this fine club’s heritage is being trashed.

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