We Have Made It In A Mans(field) World

A much more up to date lyric reference this time around, coming straight out of the new Camera Obscura album released this month. Makes a change from my usual sixties / seventies / eighties references I suppose.

Since I last wrote, after the disappointing (from a lot of angles) defeat at home to Doncaster Rovers on Good (well, bad really) Friday, there was the magnificent 4-0 away drubbing of Newport County on Easter Monday, which I’m reliably informed (i.e. the Facebook group and the forums) is our best ever away win in the football league.

It was the first of three consecutive away games in the space of just over a week. Today’s game is the second of those, a tasty away trip to second in the league, Mansfield Town. Always assuming it goes ahead, as the weather hasn’t been great all week, and they had their Easter Monday game called off due to a waterlogged pitch. They have seven (the count has been going up all week) defenders out for this game, so the conspiracy theorists on the forums are out saying they will be watering the pitch to get this one called off as well.

We’ve come up to Nottingham early in the weekend, as it allows a visit to relatives before sloping off for the day to Mansfield, seeing as we didn’t get the chance to visit for either of the two Notts County games due to Covid and work commitments.

Our game against Mansfield at home earlier in the season was a disappointing 3-1 loss, much aided by a stinker from the ref, and I had named my piece for that one as “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s Field Win (But It Wouldn’t Be Nothing Without The Ref To Lend A Hand)”.

And of course, there is the Mansfield manager, the infamous Nigel Clough who celebrated Burton Albion being moved from the Southern Premier league to the Northern Premier league many moons ago by saying ‘At least I won’t have to go to places like Crawley anymore.’ The game earlier this season was the eleventh time he’s had to take a team he’s managing to Crawley since then. This time he isn’t having to travel to Crawley, but Crawley are coming to him.

We start the day in the final play-off place of seventh, two points and a game in hand on the teams directly below us. With six games left to play, it is in our own hands, but we have a stinker of a run in. After today’s game against second, we are away at third placed Wrexham, have a rearranged game against fifth place Barrow to play, and then three games against the three teams scrapping for their lives in twenty first, twenty second, and twenty third in the league. No games against teams with nothing to play for, which would be the ideal at this point in time.

After a wander around the town, doing some sightseeing and shopping, we got to the ground and did a full lap around it before getting to the away turnstiles. There is a sign on the south stand proclaiming that the this is ‘The Oldest Professional Football Ground In The World.’ And in some ways that is obvious, there are no women’s toilets in the away end, just three disgusting portaloos with nowhere to wash hands, and the single disabled toilet is as bad. You can see why the place is called Mansfield, and not Womansfield.

They were trying to sprinkle the pitch, but the wind is taking the water straight over us in the north stand. The wind is very gusty which should make things entertaining. Crawley are in all white today, and the hosts are in their traditional yellow shirts and socks and blue shorts. And it looked like we enforced a change of ends before the kick off.

There is an early Mansfield corner, but easily cleared and we work two chances in quick succession as both Danilo Orsi and Klaidi Lolos drag shots wide right. And then we work it well down the right the ball comes into Lolos who turns with it only for it to be partially cleared, it comes to Kellen Gordon whose shot is deflected past the keeper and into the bottom corner of the net and we lead 1-0.

The lead is nearly gone straight away as a poor pass out of defence goes straight to a Mansfield striker fifteen yards out, but their shot is high and wide into the stand behind the goal. At the other end, a Jeremy Kelly shot is straight at the keeper after being put in by Nick Tsaroulla. We have a couple of free kicks from the right-hand side, but the wind takes the ball out behind on both.

Mansfield have a chance blocked, they got in after a blatant push on Gordon. We attack again and Tsaroulla’s shot is tipped around the post for a corner. From which an eventual shot is blocked and then cleared. There is more decent work down the right and a Gordon cross is forced out for a corner.

Just past the halfway point of the half excellent work from Lolos sees Ronan Darcy away in midfield, he cuts across the box and then passes it to Tsaroulla, who cuts back inside and curls a shot into the top corner, and we are ahead 2-0.

From the restart there is a Mansfield shot which goes into the side netting. The Mansfield fans are cheering only for those cheers to die away and be drowned out by the ironic jeers from the Crawley fans.

We work the ball into the box a couple of times but find that final ball is just out, a bit too strong, or a bit too soft. Mansfield break and we just about scramble it for a corner. They have a couple of blocked shots from it, but we break away only for Orsi to be hacked down at the halfway line, a cynical foul that didn’t bring the deserved yellow card. The resulting free kick from Will Wright is headed for a corner, which is tipped away by the keeper for another corner from the other side, and Darcy ends up with a shot on target.

There are three minutes added at the end of the half. Mansfield get a free kick on the edge of the penalty area on the left wing, and it is headed out for a corner. At the other end, a Wright long throw is headed out for a corner, but the ref blows for half time before it can be taken, and going into the break we lead 2-0.

The second half begins with an early shot from Mansfield straight at Corey Addai. There is early Mansfield pressure, and another Addai save. We break and have a shot that goes wide at the other end.

After a break in play for a Mansfield injury we play out from the back, and it is worked forward. The ball is with Tsaroulla on the left wing and his cross is controlled by Orsi, and he turns and puts it in the net, and we lead 3-0.

And straight from the kick off we win the ball back in midfield and Lolos picks it up and he runs past numerous defenders, and he smacks it in from just inside the box and we are in dreamland and ahead 4-0 for the second away game on the trot.

Gordon picks up a booking for a bit of a nothing challenge, which seems harsh, but he was on a last warning from the ref from the number of times he had gone to ground too easily under challenges in the first half.

A bit of a lull follows, there are plenty of substitutions from both sides. We work it forward to Adam Campbell whose eventual shot is just wide left. The crowd is announced as being 7,346, but doesn’t mention how many away fans there were, but there must have been at least a couple of hundred.

Mansfield have another shot and Addai pushes it around the post for another corner. With just over ten minutes to go after more substitutions Mansfield work the ball into the penalty area and one of their subs controls and their shot beats Addai and the score is pegged back to 4-1.

Another attack is worked through to Campbell, but the shot is wide again. There are five minutes of added time. During which there is some nervy play, and we give the ball away in our own box. This leads to a couple of Mansfield corners, there is some pinball in the box, three blocked shots and eventually a shot wide. The full-time whistle goes, and it is a very impressive 4-1 away win.

A picture of the trademark Scott Lindsey celebration is ruined by a steward walking into shot just at the fist pump moment. I can’t be the only person who was trying to sing ‘Nigel, Nigel, what’s the score?’ Especially as he was named as a candidate for manager of the season for a team expected to be promoted, whereas ours who beat him and has us in the playoffs when everyone had us to finish bottom is snubbed.

The win sees us consolidate seventh place, now three points ahead of the clubs in eighth and ninth, and only two places behind the teams in fifth and sixth, and our game in hand on sixth is against the team in fifth, so a win of that would see us jump both of those!!! Mansfield drop to fourth and out of the automatic promotion places. Alvin Stardust, Ed Davey. Becky Adlington, Steve Ogrizovic, Richard Bacon, George Fox, Nigel Clough; your boys took one hell of a beating. And if the season had finished today, we would be playing them again in the playoffs.

Next up is that aforementioned away trip to Wrexham on Tuesday night, for which we will be there, as we’ll be going over to stop in Chester from being in Nottingham (we don’t actually want to stay over the border, and it is allegedly still legal to shoot a Welshman in Chester with a bow and arrow).

Come on you reds.

It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s Field Win (But It Wouldn’t Be Nothing Without The Ref To Lend A Hand)

I’m sure James Brown would not be happy, but life (or in his case, death) goes on.

Back to home league action following on from the good victory away to Colchester United last weekend. A win that moved us back up the table to eleventh place, four places outside the playoff places, but only a point behind the Wombles in seventh (plus the small matter of thirteen goal difference behind as well). We have a game in hand on the two teams above us who we are level on points with as well.

The visitors are Mansfield Town, who are in fourth, a point outside the automatic playoff spots, and six ahead of us, with a game in hand as well. They have lost only the once in the league this season and were the last team to lose a league game in any division this year, making it to game eighteen before losing. Their game last weekend was called off due to a waterlogged pitch, so some might say they will be well rested. I’m hoping they are well rusty instead.

Their visit means the return of Nigel Clough, who when he was manager of Burton Albion a few years ago when they were promoted from League 2, infamously said, “at least I won’t have to go to places like Crawley again.” So welcome back Nigel, while you’re here, why don’t you pop into the museum and check out the CTFC exhibition. Or just have a look around, it has to be better than Burton or Mansfield, I’ve been to both several times and they were, on the whole, shut. (May be a misprint.) It won’t bite you, it’s not our fault you start to get hives if you get more than thirty miles away from Nottingham.

I’m a bit later to the ground than I usually am for a Saturday afternoon kick-off. This is a combination of having to work on a project most of Saturday, and that I’m feeling like shit. I have tested negative for Covid twice this week, but I can’t have much of my lungs left as I’ve been coughing them up most of the week.

When arriving we can see there are quite a few away fans, two coaches and three minibuses parked up outside. So, they wouldn’t appear to be as reticent about coming to Crawley as their manager is. (although they were chanting the ‘Crawley is a shithole, I wanna go home’ bit in the first half, which is a bit rich coming from Mansfield.)

Had a quick word with Al while queuing up to get in, looks like he’s going to have to do at least some stewarding this afternoon as he’s got the south terrace to patrol. Bag check was non-existent, the woman just laughed at me holding the open bag with my teeth for her to check. But bizarrely, once in through the turnstiles, there were more goons not letting us get to our seats until we had to fish our season tickets out again. How the fuck do you think we got in you clowns.

Mansfield were in their standard home kit of yellow shirts and socks and blue shorts, and HGH packs inside them. For some reason, the goal mouth in front of the south terrace has been heavily sanded, but not the other goal mouth, so what have they been doing at that end to wreck the grass?

The game starts and it is pretty even early on. Will Wright picks up a booking for two innocuous challenges in the first five minutes. The ref then gives another free kick against him, supposedly for a high boot, when he’d kicked the ball and it had hit the Mansfield player in the face and he’d gone down like a sack of spuds. It was never a free kick, and of course from it Mansfield scored to make it 0-1.

Straight from the restart we get a free kick from the edge of their area, but Wright’s shot hits the side netting. A few minutes later a Liam Kelly shot from about twenty-five yards out keeps rising and disappears out over the KRL Logistics stand for ball loss number one of the day.

Crawley are getting into the game more and are applying pressure. But due to the anti-cold and flu drugs I’m dosing up on, I do what I never do and have to go to the toilet during the match. I just get out in time to see Danilo Orsi smash home a penalty (won by Adam Campbell) to put us back on level terms at 1-1.

And by the time I’m back at my seat Kelly has put another chance just over the bar. The time rattles by and it is soon half time with the scores level.

The second half starts evenly, with attacks from both sides not quite amounting to much, there is a lack of end product. This is nearly changed when there is another thunderbolt shot from Wright which skims the top of the bar and flies over the Eden Utilities Stand for ball loss number two.

But straight from this, another innocuous free kick from halfway ends up with Mansfield putting the ball in the box. There are appeals for a penalty, but the ball falls to one of their players anyway and they tuck it away and Mansfield have the lead again 1-2.

And it is nearly three, Dion Conroy plays a Mansfield striker in on goal, but a mix up between their two strikers means they end up being offside. It’s a big let off for the lucky bastard.

But it was only a brief respite. Another Mansfield attack sees a shot blocked, but the balls bounces out to another Mansfield player on the edge of the area and they smack the ball in to make it 1-3.

Kelly gets a booking for dissent after another crap decision from the ref, and a few minutes we are down to ten men. Jay Williams is penalised for a foul, shouts at the diving Mansfield player who’s gone down like an extra from Platoon, and then at the ref, who promptly books him twice, I’m assuming once for the non-foul, and once for dissent, and the red follows. A three-card trick in five seconds.

The crowd is announced as being 2,817 with 452 away fans. It did look like there were less home fans than for some recent league games. And the usual crowd who sit behind and to either side of us were absent today.

Kelly then goes down from a high boot challenge. The ref stops the game, but only because it might be a head injury. This is a more blatant high boot than the one he gave to Mansfield in the first half from which they scored their opening goal, and yet he just gives the ball back to Mansfield once Kelly is back on his feet. Absolute joker.

Once back on his feet the announcement comes over that the sponsor’s man of the match is Liam Kelly, although I’m sure the Mansfield fans would have the ref down for theirs.

There are four added minutes, during which the ref manages to find time for another spurious booking for a Crawley player before he blows the final whistle and sprints for the tunnel. It is a 1-3 loss. We didn’t play that badly, but got screwed over by a bunch of timewasting, diving, cheating twats, aided by the referee. In the last ten minutes, Mansfield kicked the ball away after free kicks or throw ins being blown for. Not once did they get a booking for kicking the ball away or timewasting. It is just sickening when the sides are treated equally.

The loss sees us slip two places back to thirteenth. And we go again Friday night at home against the Wombles.

Come on you Reds.

A Stag Do

It has been three weeks since we’ve last been at a home game, the disappointing loss to Stevenage (who now top the table). It’s been eventful since then.

The week after came a 3-0 loss away to Grimsby Town. I had considered going to that game and had scoped out travel times for trains and hotels for overnight stays as there wasn’t much to do with Helen being away, but I decided against it. It was a wise decision by the look of things, as another poor result saw us ending up as the strongest team in the football league – bottom – holding all the other teams up. And it saw Kevin Betsy being sacked. Something for which there had been a fair amount of clamouring for on the forums.

Last weekend saw a home game against Newport County. Another team that had recently parted ways with their manager after they had lost to the then bottom team – Rochdale. We were going to miss this game as we were away up north visiting relatives. During the game we were at a seventieth birthday afternoon tea in North Wales, and it was with trepidation that I was checking the score at regular intervals. For the second week on the trot Newport County lost to the team who were bottom of the league, and Crawley recorded only their second league win of the season in thirteen games. And with it, we crawled off of the bottom of the table and into twenty-third place on goal difference (and only goal difference behind being out of the relegation zone as well). It could have been better, but two of the other bottom four sides also won.

The Monday night saw the draw for the first round of the FA Cup. We get a home draw against Accrington of league one. A bit of a nothing draw really. I was secretly hoping for an away draw against Coalville who had knocked out Notts County in the fourth qualifying round. It would have been a good opportunity to see some old friends and do a bit of memory collection photography up in Leicestershire. As yet the time and date for the game hasn’t been fixed, let alone tickets being available.

Then on Tuesday we had the final Papa Johns Trophy group game against Aston Villa U21s. Again, a game we missed as we were now in Morecambe visiting my mum. My friend Liam is a Villa fan and so went to the game, I haven’t had the chance to ask if he enjoyed it yet. And as with the other Tuesday night home cup games this year, it was another win, with Crawley winning 5-2. This put us second in the group. But qualification for the knockout stages hasn’t been sorted yet. For some reason known only to the football league, the last game in the group, AFC Wimbledon vs Portsmouth, isn’t being played until the 1st of November. And we find ourselves of being in the bizarre position of wanting the wombles to win if we are to progress to the knockout games.

Before today’s game it is difficult to tell whether the upturn in results following Kevin Betsy’s departure is down to that new/interim manager bounce, or the fact that we are jinxes and with us not being in attendance there have been victories. Or maybe there is a bit of both involved.

Lewis Young is in as interim manager for the second time this year as the search for a new manager goes on. A lot of names have been mentioned, with the latest favourite being Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. I don’t mind who really, as long as it settles down the team and the fans and we start winning more than we lose.

Anyway, today we are playing Mansfield Town, a team that have been one of the pre-season favourites to get promoted every year for the last five or six years. They come into today’s game in fourth place in the league, a point outside the automatic promotion spots with a game in hand on the team above them and having won four and drawn two of their last six games. Nineteen places and seventeen points above us in the table. And probably a much stiffer test for us than the two other games since Kevin Betsy’s departure.

I’ve been to a couple of games at Mansfield. They were close to where I was living during an ill-fated four-month residence in the southern most part of South Yorkshire. They weren’t very good at the time, and the ground was grim then, but it was still better than being at home.

We have a nice lazy morning before heading to the game. The weather changes half a dozen times during the morning and it’s difficult to know whether sunglasses or raincoat is going to be the most appropriate attire. I get there early enough to get a programme, and to get into the shop to see if I can get programmes for the last two games I’ve missed. I got the one for the Newport County game (the first question on the Newport County quiz was when were Stevenage formed, so the editorial quality is still somewhat lacking), but it would appear that there wasn’t a programme for the Papa Johns Trophy game against Aston Villa.

Al was wandering about as usual and was on duty in the east stand, and even did something useful as he got involved throwing the ball back into play during the second half. There is scaffolding up in all four corners of the ground and in the middle of the roof of the away terrace, which means Brighton Ladies are getting televised tomorrow.

They were watering the pitch when we arrived, which I’m not sure they needed to after the torrential downpours over the last couple of days. That and the fact you could see the oval laps of footprints in the turf from where warmup exercises had been taking place. And there were some decent pre-match tunes being played as well.

Mansfield were wearing their traditional home kit of yellow shirt with blue sleeves, blue shorts, and yellow socks. But it was a much darker shade of yellow to the one I remember from when I went to a couple of their games.

There is a chance in the first minute, Crawley are in the box, but there are passes instead of a shot, and a player goes down, but lame penalty claims are waved away. Thirty seconds later the ball is played back in and Ashley Nadesan scores to make it 1-0, and with only eighty-eight minutes to hold out.

Seven minutes in and Ludwig Francillette balloons a clearance out over the east stand for the one and only ball to leave the ground in the whole match. Just under quarter of an hour in, we get a free kick in the Mansfield half, Jack Powell swings a free kick in, and it is headed in by Tom Nichols to make it 2-0. (It was Powell’s only decent ball in all game, one that actually avoided the first defender for a change.)

Two minutes later and a long throw from the far side of the pitch goes into our penalty area and hits an outstretched arm and a penalty is given against us. The players aren’t happy and considering the push in the back the defender got before the handball I’m not surprised. The keeper is sent the wrong way from the spot kick, and it is 2-1.

Coming up to the half hour mark, and after some decent Crawley pressure, Mansfield attack down the right wing and a cross is put in, and an unmarked striker is there in the middle of the box to head in from about six yards out and it is 2-2.

From the kick-off we attempt a shot on goal which goes just wide. The ball comes back out from the goal kick and a free kick is given away just outside the D. Thankfully the wall did its job, and the ball is cleared.

There were a couple of stoppages during the half, so it wasn’t any surprise to see six minutes of injury time added on at the end of the half. Nothing much happened in it, and the half time whistle went with it all even.

Half time was the usual shit show of the same music as it ever is and Crawley coming out late.

However, the second half started in a very similar fashion to the first, there is an early attack, and Ashley Nadesan is played through by Tom Nichols, he turns the defender inside out (so much so the defender had to be substituted straight afterwards), and sends the keeper the wrong way and it’s 3-2, with only forty four minutes to hold out this time.

There is another good chance for Tom Nichols just a few minutes later, but it was well saved. The second half continued flowing from end to end, but there were a couple of injuries, lots of substitutions, and some phantom additions for so called time wasting, there ended up being another eight minutes of injury time.

The attendance was announced as being 2,802 with three hundred odd away fans (the exact number was drowned out by a combination of fan noise and piss poor speakers), and the sponsor’s man of the match was Ashley Nadesan.

There was a blatant dive in the penalty area from a Mansfield player, but the game carried on (with no booking). We had two breakaway attacks, both using the speed of substitute Jayden Davis, the first one ended up with him being caught in two minds of whether to shoot (by far the best option), or to pass it to Tom Nichols. It ended up being neither. The second should have been an easy pass through to Tom Nichols, but the final ball was a bit weak, and it was cut out. It was very nervy, but Crawley held out and the final whistle went with us claiming a 3-2 victory.

Oh, is that the Black Eyed Peas I can hear? Not for long as the cheering fans drowned most of it out. The win saw us move up two places in the league to twenty first, behind twentieth on goal difference.

Meanwhile, the ref was a cunt. Four times he gave free kicks to Mansfield after their players had clattered into Crawley players putting them down injured. If a Mansfield player pushed one of ours nothing was given. If we nudged one of their players, it was a free kick. We picked up three bookings for innocuous challenges. They got no booking for kicking Tom Fellows in the head (which caused a gash that needed gluing). There was no free kick given for a two footed lunge which took the ball and Aramide Oteh out. The keeper David Robson got a booking for timewasting after a Mansfield fan threw the ball at him with force and it bounced back off him. The bias against Crawley just continues.

But it was good to get back into the usual post-match routine of a curry at the Downsman on the way home.

It’s An Ill Wind

I’ll start by continuing what I wrote at the end of the last match report. Newport County, our opponents on Tuesday night made the trek all the way around to Colchester for their Friday night game, and it finished as another draw. Which meant that Crawley dropped a place in the league as Colchester’s point meant they leapt above us on goal difference, and that they also leapt above our opponents today, Mansfield Town. So, at the start of play Crawley were 18th in the league and playing the team in 19th. Not a good place for either side to be.

It was another cold, windy and rainy day, although the wind did manage to hold off long enough for us to get to the ground unmolested by cold water. After freezing on Tuesday night, I sorted out and layered up. I dug my parka out, got the woolly hat down, and found my new gloves. However, in doing so I managed to leave my glasses at home, and so the match wouldn’t be in quite as sharp a focus as it usually is.

I managed to get the last programme going as we walked around the outside of the ground to our seats, and we were in and settled in enough time to see the teams come out and to participate in the minute’s applause for former manager Dermot Drummy on the fourth anniversary of his death.

Whilst walking down to our seats we were dazzled by the big new shiny scoreboard in the northwest corner of the ground. And during the game the 35% of it we could see from our seats looked good as well. The corner flags were flying the LGBT+ rainbow flags, although I’m not sure what the occasion is for the flags to be changed out this week.

It was also good to see that Mansfield Town were wearing their usual kit of yellow and blue instead of some horrible pastel away kit monstrosity like our previous opponents were (and it wasn’t even as if there was a colour clash then either, black and yellow stripes don’t clash with red).

It took eight minutes for the first ball to disappear, as a Mansfield shot was deflected out over the Ryan Cantor Club Stand. The drummer and the crowd were in fine form, which is more than could be said about the team on the pitch. It was as if they had all been introduced two minutes before kick-off, and they weren’t a patch on their Tuesday night selves.

Granted the strong wind was against them and it was making it difficult to clear the ball, but the wind wasn’t at fault for the Mansfield goal on 24 minutes. I will describe what happened. There was a slow ball played into the box and it came through to an unmarked opposition player standing in the centre of the goal area, and they prodded it home. You may want to stop me at any point if you’ve heard that sentence before. We just don’t seem to learn.

There was a lot of Mansfield possession as Crawley struggled to keep the ball down, and against the wind. Although I’m not sure we help ourselves with the tactics we employ. There are a lot of high balls played, which is somewhat counter intuitive as most of our players seems to be midgets. When we get the ball on the ground and pass it around, we play really well. However there needs to be a bit more urgency when passing, as a lot of it is sideways and backwards, or we try too many passes in the opponents’ box, trying to walk the ball into the net. For crying out loud, have a shot.

Meanwhile, the wind is chilling the fans, and after the Mansfield goal it seems to have affected the drummer as well as he seems unable to hold the sticks in the biting cold. I think half time is a relief for all concerned.

For the second game on the trot, we make a half time substitution. In addition, we managed to clear up the identity of the mystery player in the first half, as there was a Crawley player with no number or name on the back of his shirt, but I think they must have printed one in the club shop at half time, and we found out that it was our number 5 Tony Craig. And the wind changed sides as well and it was now helping us.

And within three minutes we had an equaliser, some passes on the edge of the area ended up with James Tilley and he turned and curled in a beauty from twenty-five yards. Ball number two disappeared over the Ryan Cantor Club Stand a few minutes later from a miscued Mansfield clearance, and that was quickly followed by a hoof of a ball clear over the KRL Logistics stand.

We almost had the lead, a Jake Hessenthaler cross cum shot was wind assisted past the keeper only to come back off the inside of the far post and for there to be no one in the area to react to the rebound. Not long after ball number four flew over the KRL Logistics Stand, but the next time the ball was at that end of the pitch it was for a Mansfield goal, two long passes on the ground and their striker beat our defence for pace and slotted the ball into the net past the outrushing Morris. It was certainly against the run of play.

After the restart we tried pressing again and ball number five disappeared over the People’s Pension Stand from a Mansfield clearance. There was a lull in chances for the next ten minutes or so, but the sixth ball of the day sailing out over the Wynne Mayo Baxter stand (completing the set), kicked us into life for the last few minutes of the game and injury time. And it was into injury time when there was a Deja-vu moment. Kwesi Appiah hit the crossbar as he did on Tuesday night, but with a header this time. We put on a very late sub (a strange choice of a defender coming on for the goal scorer), and there was a late chance for the captain George Francomb, but the shot lacked power (a common theme in recent games) and the game was gone.

Another defeat, and another game where we only scored a single goal. The last time we scored more than once in a game was at the end of September, and since then we’ve dropped from being just outside the play off places to 19th and being nearer to the relegation zone than promotion.

The crowd was announced just before the final whistle blew, down to below 2,000 now, 1,824 with 232 away fans, and the sponsors man of the match was announced as the goal scorer James Tilley. The crowd was actually more than the very late announced crowd of 1,483 on Tuesday, and there is a certain understanding of that with the cold wind numbing the fans. With the cold and the results, you can see the fair-weather fans sneaking out in all senses.