Apologies to Bill Haley & His Comets this time around.
Two weeks on from our last home game, the excellent 3-1 win against Accrington Stanley and the Milk Marketing Board, it is back to home league action again today. Since that victory we had one of the longest trips of the season up to Barrow. I didn’t go this season, but we scored nil again, and Barrow won, but only 1-0. And Scott Lindsey was less than happy about the officiating in the build up to the goal, but at least he didn’t have a full Arteta style breakdown about it.
That result saw us drop back to twelfth in the table, a place that sees us two places and a point (and four goal difference) ahead of today’s opponents Harrogate Town who we managed to beat in the same game last season. A repeat of that would be good.
In the meantime, since the last game, I’ve been drawn into watching the Welcome to Wrexham docu-series. Now I’m too tight to pay for Disney+ and wasn’t bothered about it, but the other half has friends with sign on details, and so it’s been on. I am doing other things, writing, and surfing the net, etc. but I’ve been sucked into watching and now I’ve seen the first series, and we are about half a dozen episodes into the second.
It is fascinating viewing. I understand why there are people who denigrate it, calling Wrexham, Hollywood FC, saying they have thrown money at it, and they’ve bought promotion to the league. (Something Crawley were accused of not so long ago as well.) But it shows just how much money is needed to run a club, even in the National League. And of course, some of the people in the series are utter bell ends, but you get that at any club (including our own if we are honest).
But I like what they are trying to do with including the community, and that they went for a club with history to build on. Rob and Ryan may come over as not being overly serious, but they certainly appear to be going about a lot of things in the right way. Perhaps if WAGMI has bought the club eighteen months later than they did, they could have used it as a how to guide.
As a kid I used to look out for Wrexham results, the name was interesting, and there was the solitary Topps football card from the 1976-77 season – Arfon Griffiths, with the unusual colours for the team and player name. it’s strange what you remember.
Speaking of history, Thursday night saw a fundraising and preview event at the ground for the forthcoming exhibition at Crawley Museum of the history of Crawley Town FC. It is being curated by Steve Leake and Mick Fox, and some of the items that will be in the exhibition were on display at the ground.
The map with all the locations of the former grounds is fascinating (to me at least, I love maps), and the finished version is something I’d like a copy of myself.
The exhibition starts on Thursday 7th December and runs through to the end of January, with the family fun day on Sunday 17th December being a day that shouldn’t be missed.
I wander down to the ground straight from writing and it’s a lovely sunny afternoon as I get there. The Harrogate Town team coach brings back memories and the phrase ‘Heavens to Murgatroyd’ means I have a snippet of a song in my head. The phrase is from Snagglepuss, but the clip is from a late eighties house music track, and I can’t for the life of me drag it out of my memory what the track is, and I can’t find it on Google either. It will come to me, probably some time in February.
As soon as the turnstiles opened, I was in, and had a quick chat to Al who was getting himself a cup of tea before starting on the business of stewarding for the day. I really need to remember to bring a cap and sunglasses for these late autumn and winter games when the sun is out. I’m happy to sit in the sun warming up as much as possible like a lizard, because out of the sun it is freezing. It did look like the sun was shining out of the terrace’s arse.
Grant, who sits behind us, has his son Finn as one of the mascots for the day, and looks like he is having the time of his life running around on the pitch before the game.
Harrogate Town were in an all bright blue kit, so back to the table football classic of red versus blue for the day. Crawley have the better of early exchanges, but Harrogate get the first shot on target, which is saved for a corner, and Luca Ashby-Hammond is called into action a few times in the first twenty minutes of the game.
And then, almost out of nothing the ball is played to Ben Gladwin in the middle of the park about thirty yards from goal. He has a touch to steady the ball and then lets a grass cutter of shot fly and it rolls straight into the bottom corner of the net and we lead 1-0.
A minute late Harrogate have the ball in the net, but the offside flag was up well before it was, and most players have stopped playing before the shot is taken. We go straight back up the other end and a Kellen Gordon cross is headed by Danilo Orsi, and he just fails to add to his season’s goal tally as he hits the post, and it comes out and is cleared.
Just as we are getting some momentum Jay Williams is injured and needs treatment on the pitch, and no sooner does he get off the pitch then a Harrogate player goes down and needs treatment themselves, before being substituted.
Thirty minutes or so in and we lose ball one of the day as a wayward Harrogate shot flies over the Eden Utilities terrace and probably ended up in the five a side court. From the restart Williams gives away a free kick on the edge of the area. The attempt hits the wall and the follow up shot goes wide.
There are seven minutes of time added on, mainly due to the injuries. We get a couple of corners and some decent pressure only for a Liam Kelly shot to poleaxe a Harrogate defender and we lose momentum again.
Harrogate get a corner late on, which Crawley gave away quite easily thinking it was going to be a goal kick when they could have easily got to the ball and prevented it going over the line. The corner comes in and the Harrogate player jumps at least two foot above anyone else and nods it in to make it 1-1 just before the half time whistle goes. There was some joking preseason about us signing Billy the Fish, but it looks as if Harrogate must have signed him up with that kind of leap.
In the second half it is Harrogate who start better, and they have some early chances, but ball two is chipped out over the bar and over the top of the KRL Logistics stand. It’s turning into a bitty game and Harrogate have resorted to throwing themselves to the ground to try and win free kicks and get our players booked. The most blatant being their number 24, who seconds after Williams is booked, he’s grappling with him and throws himself to the floor claiming Williams has done it in an attempt to get him a second booking. It’s good when 24 finally gets a booking for falling over and moaning at the ref about not getting free kicks.
At the other end Nick Tsaroulla beats a player on the way into the box, and there appears to be contact and then goes down, but the ref waves away penalty shouts, but doesn’t seem interested in a booking for diving either. Strange all round.
And finally for the second half there is a bit of quality down the right-hand side and Ade Adeyemo crosses it, the ball comes all the way over and Tsaroulla’s shot is well saved at the near post. This leads to some concerted pressure and another corner is swung in and Klaidi Lolos rises and heads in to give us the lead again. 2-1.
It’s a bit nervy, and Ashby-Hammond is forced into a couple of decent saves. At the other end Orsi is denied again by a decent save from the Harrogate keeper. There are four added minutes at the end of the game which Crawley see out and they take a 2-1 victory.
The crowd was announced as being 2,829 with there being 93 away fans huddled together for warmth in the away terrace. And the sponsor’s man of the match was named as being Liam Kelly.
The win only improved our league position by one place to eleventh, but only two points off the playoff places. And a win will make the post-match curry at the Downsman taste better.
The next game is away at Notts County on Tuesday night, and some better defending than in the FA Cup game could see us come away with something from that one before a return to home action in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy a week on Monday.
Come on you reds.