Football, and especially Crawley Town, it has been a while. When I last wrote it was after the Doncaster game was postponed for a waterlogged pitch, which has now been rearranged for a Tuesday night in March. Since then I’ve been to America, and haven’t missed half as much as expected. The away game at Sutton was postponed and will now be on Tuesday night in March. The rearranged game against Grimsby that I was moaning about so much last time got postponed and had been rearranged for a Tuesday night in March. With the previously postponed Tranmere game also now rearranged (this one for the last day in February – also a Tuesday night), it is going to be a full fixture list for five weeks.
The home game against Salford went ahead and was Scott Lindsey’s first game in charge, almost three weeks after he had been appointed manager. Crawley got themselves into a 3-0 lead, but still had time to give their fans heart failure, but they did end up winning 3-2.
Then there was last Saturday’s game away at Gillingham. I was back in the country in time for this, but not in time to get one of the 840 (cheap) and sold-out tickets to go, which had sold out days before. It didn’t end well. Former keeper Glenn Morris keeping out a number of first half chances, and then no one turned up in the second half and Gillingham scored an early second half goal and won 1-0. At least Tom Nichols didn’t score it.
This all means we are now twenty-first in the league, a point ahead of twenty-third and the relegation places. As whilst we haven’t been playing a lot of games, Harrogate, Hartlepool, Gillingham, and Colchester have all been picking up points here, there, and everywhere. We have games in hand on them all, but points would be better.
Then there is the flurry in transfer activity. Most of it was out. A lot of on loan players went back to their parent clubs. Fringe players disappeared seemingly at the rate of one a day. Jake Hessenthaler and George Francomb have gone, both surprisingly to non-league clubs. The list of names on the back of the programme has dropped dramatically. But it appeared no one was coming in, only to have a blitz on deadline day, two loans and three permanent signings, including Ben Gladwin from Swindon Town, who was made club captain.
We are playing Crew Alexandra. What used to be the tricky answer to get on the question from my youth of name the five league clubs with an X in their name. of course there are only three now. Halifax disappearing down the league leader a while ago, and Wrexham being in the National League (although mightily banging on the door to come back up with their brand of American owners), leaving only Crewe, Oxford, and Exeter.
Crewe aren’t in great form, they lost two home games in the last week, 3-0 to Grimsby last Saturday, and 2-0 to Leyton Orient on Tuesday night, and they start the game as the only team with a worse from guide than us. They re six points and three places above us in the league. Our abysmal away form means we managed to lose to them at Crewe earlier in the season as well.
I’ve gone to the game straight from writing group, and a bit early, wanting to see if I could get a programme from the Salford game in the club shop, and of course get today’s one. No massive errors in either. But I have to laugh that the away game blog , where Steve Herbert, as he does in any comments anywhere, is banging on about drinking alcohol. It obviously is rotting his brain as he managed to spell jukebox as dukebox.
I was so early I got there before the away fans coach did, and after getting programmes had ten minutes to wait before the turnstiles opened. I bought a hot dog and regretted the decision almost immediately as the bun was rock hard and dry and could have doubled up as armour.
Fans were ambling in, and a couple of minutes before kick off it did look as if most of blocks B and C in the east stand were deserted. Crewe were in their away kit which was a sort of sea green/blue and dark blue stripes with the dark shorts and sea socks. Meanwhile, the officials were in Stabilo Boss orange highlighter kits. A minute’s silence for earthquake victims in southern Turkey / northern Syria was well observed apart from the rustling of crisp packets.
It’s not a bad start and five minutes in the net ripples, but Dom Telford has hit the side netting from the cross from new boy Kellen Gordon. It was quickly followed by a booking for him in midfield for a high boot. The yellow card only coming out in direct proportion to how long the Crewe player was rolling around on the ground play acting.
On nineteen minutes another good move down the right sees Gordon drive in to the by-line and smash a ball across the face of the goal which is deflected in by one of the Crewe defenders and it is 1-0 to Crawley.
A few minutes later there is an off the ball incident between Crewe’s number 19 and Gordon. Both go down in a heap, with Gordon having been blatantly elbowed in the face and Crewe’s number 19 going down pretending to be hurt to avoid getting sent off. It worked as none of the blind mice officiating saw anything and no cards came out at all.
Ludwig Francillette picked up a booking for a nothing foul, and one of Crewe’s defenders belatedly picked up a booking for booting Telford in the bollocks and preventing a breakaway. Having got away with an elbow to the face Crewe’s number 19 was encouraged by the lack of action and was throwing himself into challenges as if he was playing a throwback game from the 1970s. He came off worse quite a few times and moaned like a child about it before eventually picking up a booking. It was no surprise he was subbed at half time.
There was quite a bit of good play from Crawley, two low crosses from Gordon were both put wide by a not quite fully match fir Ashley Nadesan. A shot from Jack Powell was pushed over the bar and the corner saw another chance just miss the target.
There were eight minutes of added time at the end of the first half, as there were quite a few injuries. But there was no announcement (and there hadn’t been after the goal either), so someone had had their microphone confiscated. It was 1-0 at half time, and the PA system was working as the tired same old playlist came on again.
Six minutes into the second half and a ball played into our box isn’t dealt with and a Crewe striker manages to score from an angle where it shouldn’t have been possible to score from, as if Corey Addai is a hologram and it is 1-1.
The ball had stayed low all through the first half and took until thirteen minutes for ball one to disappear over the west stand near the half way line. And then only another thirty seconds for ball two to follow at pretty much the same spot.
A blatant dive from a Crewe is rewarded by them getting a penalty, the player going to ground long before Gordon got near him, and the penalty is scored and it’s now a losing position of 1-2 to the cheating cunts. Although to be fair, Crawley have been a shower of shite since coming back out after half time. Either Scott Lindsey is delivering soporific half time team talks, or someone is slipping sleeping pills in the half time refreshments.
It is now very scrappy, and snippy, and Crewe are just time wasting. Kicking the ball away, taking an age to take throw ins, goal kicks, free kicks etc, and falling over and playing the dying swan routine. And despite this every decision is going their way. We try some subs to try and liven things up (Jack Powell being subbed getting a big cheer), but there are signs of life.
Nick Tsaroulla is bundled over down the edge of the box and the Crewe defender is booked for it (possibly a bit harsh, but the ref is shit), and as it was the same defender who booted Telford in the bollocks in the first half it leads to a red card. A subsequent attack sees a deflected cross go out over the Eden Utilities home terrace to lose ball l number three.
Chief diver in situ for Crewe (number 11 who scored both their goals) is booked as even the ref has had enough of him falling over due to a strong wind and rolling around for half an hour. However, nothing is being done about the rest of the timewasting. The ref warns the Crewe keeper twice, but doesn’t produce a booking, and a Crewe substitute boots the ball away, again with no booking, yes, the ref does add eight minutes of added time, but the lack of yellows for time wasting is a joke considering the seven we’ve been given for doing a lot less this season.
The crowd is announced as 2,589 with 205 away fans, a couple of hundred down on the average home crowd so far this season. The sponsors man of the match goes to Kellen Gordon, which I can’t disagree with and suggests the sponsors might have actually been watching the game for a change.
A penalty shout is waved away as it looked like Telford was dragged to the floor in the box, with a corner being given instead. From the corner another penalty shout for a handball is waved away. And it looks as if we are going to slip to a frustrating defeat. But in the ninety seventh minute a ball is played in, it is taken down well by captain Ben Gladwin on his right foot and then neatly finished with his left and it is 2-2. Cue scenes.
The final whistle goes just after the restart and the game finishes 2-2. We stay twenty-first, but now two points above the drop zone as Gillingham lost. We have away games on Tuesday at Stockport County, and next Saturday at Leyton Orient, with both sides doing well points away at either would be good results.
Come on you reds.