A Tuesday night game. It shouldn’t have been a Tuesday night game, as this was the game that was supposed to take place the weekend after the queen snuffed it. At the time it was disappointing as Gillingham were on a poor run of form, and I felt that it would have been likely by the time it did get played they would have turned that around and be on a good run of form, as happened to us last season when two games were postponed due to Covid protocols. But, as it turned out their form has got even worse, and by the time the game actually came along we were above them in the league and on a much better run than they were.
We started the game in nineteenth, four places and six points above Gillingham who were in the relegation zone. This was a drop in the league for us, as out away game at Walsall’s Poundland Stadium produced a Poundland result, and after taking an early lead, we let an equaliser in a couple of minutes later, Ludwig Francillette got sent off before half time, and Walsall got an injury time winner.
There was a brief pause in the constant rain we’ve had recently as we made it to the ground in time to sit down before kick-off, and I managed to get a programme (no obvious errors – apart from the ongoing lack of a league table and the issues with the season overview pages), and we saw Al who was prowling up and down the east stand in front of us for the game.
Glenn Morris, the much-loved keeper of last season is out on loan at Gillingham, which meant he couldn’t play against us and give us a hand by chucking a couple in. But we did have Jake Hessenthaler playing for us who we signed from Gillingham a few years ago.
Gillingham bought a large following with them, and most of the away terrace looked full. Not bad for a miserable November night. They would be heard at regular intervals during the game. Gillingham were wearing an all yellow kit for the big game of the day (forget this World Cup rubbish), and there were a couple of times during the first half that they may have been confused due to the yellow, as it appeared that a couple of wayward passes were straight to where they could see the stewards in their Day-Glo yellow coats.
We got an early free kick a few yards outside the area. Remarkably, Jack Powell managed to get the ball past the wall, only for it to also go just past the post. It took until just before the quarter of an hour mark for the first ball to disappear out over the west stand from a hoofed clearance from the Gillingham keeper.
The away fans were giving the officials lots of grief from early on. Our fans weren’t. I was wondering whether I was in the right place. Just past the half way point in the half, ball two disappeared out over the Eden Utilities terrace from a very wayward shot by a Gillingham striker. The first half went quickly, and three minutes added time were shown. Back to normal, and none of these ten minutes added rubbish we’ve seen in the World Cup so far.
Half time came with it being 0-0. It went with the usual same five songs, and both sides came back out at the same time.
Crawley started the second half brightly with a couple of early corners, both of which saw the ball go back out to the corner taker, only for the second ball to be the definition of disappointing, or non-existent.
The large Gillingham contingent are claiming penalties all over the place and are not impressed at all with the officials. The cries of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ were oft repeated, along with ‘w@nker’. (OK, I’m assuming they were directed at the ref and not Jack Powell.) It is becoming more and more like an alternative universe, as the away fans are stealing our lines.
Joel Lynch is named as the sponsor’s man of the match. I’m not sure why, but I suppose they had to pick someone. They didn’t bother announcing the crowd though. I had to look it up today, it is down as being 3,284, and I reckon there must have been 7-800 away fans.
There were another three minutes added time, which was less than expected considering the volume of substitutions made during the second half. I suppose that the ref was working along the lines of it wasn’t a World Cup game, he was sick of the abuse, and he’d had more than enough of the rubbish being played. He wasn’t the only one.
Ball three disappeared out over the Eden Utilities terrace during added time from a headed clearance, and then the ref blew the final whistle and it finished 0-0, with both teams lucky to get nil.
It was the first home draw of the season, so I was interested to see what the post-match draw music was going to be. They play The Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry” for losses, and Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” for wins. Turns out they don’t have a draw song. They play “Boys Don’t Cry” again. They really could do with some imagination in their playlist. Or even some Imagination. “Just An Illusion” perhaps, ‘in all this confusion’.
Anyway, a point, not sure a point helped either side, yes, it’s a point more, but both sides stay in the same positions in the league they started the game in.
That’s it for November games, we don’t have a game at the weekend as we’re out of the FA Cup, so the next game is another home affair, against Swindon Town on the 3rd December. I need to get there early for that one I think, as it was one of two games where all the programmes sold out before I got to the ground last season due to the volume of away fans.