I must admit I was very impressed by the way Mark Yates responded to my criticism in this column last week. Especially so since that response came before publication. That must mean he didn’t need the prompting anyway.
Last Tuesday evening saw the visit of Newport County to Broadfield and the appearance of a “new” Crawley Town.
After the dreadful disappointment of the game at Leyton Orient the manager wielded the axe and made six changes.
The outcome was impressive. As the Reds completed the double against Newport Gwion Edwards celebrated his birthday with another Man of the Match display.
Remarkably his midfield compatriots were all newcomers.
Andy Bond looked the pick of the bunch while the performances of Lyle Della Verde and Frankie Sutherland suggested they could be great assets.
More importantly Crawley had the luxury of two, yes two, full-backs.
Lanre Oyebanjo back in the team after his ten-month lay-off was superb and Charles Dunne, with the ink barely dry following his late loan from Blackpool, was very nearly as good.
The earlier loans of Mitch Hancox and George Smith show there are some very good full-backs out there and the prospect of actually being able to sign one under the new regime is encouraging.
A new assuredness enveloped Crawley’s defence with Jon Ashton being calmness personified and Sonny Bradley upping his game more than anybody.
The three points gained were most important and four nil would have been a better reflection of Crawley’s dominance. Next up must be improved scoring.
Saturday’s visit by Morecambe in a way saw a return to normality as two points were conceded late-on, almost inevitably following a corner.
Ironically the visitors’ equaliser was scored by former Reds’ loanee Shaun Miller in front of a very disappointing attendance.
It is not the end of the world however.
We loved the compact nature of the midfield in which I thought Frankie Sutherland excelled, even though his team-mates played very well.
Everybody appreciated how hard they worked and the way they worked for each other.
In defence three good performances were topped by another imperious display by Jon Ashton.
If only we could maintain attentiveness when dealing with set-pieces.
Upfront we again fell short as the need for a playmaker remains paramount and Jimmy Dack needs to get everybody to practise not wasting the final ball.
Reds should have won but Morecambe are the sort of side that we struggle to overcome.
They were gritty and not too concerned about sportsmanship and my fears for a poor game were quickly brought to the fore by some dreadful refereeing.
At Referee’s School Iain Williamson must have majored on incompetence.
I am sure the Morecambe fans sitting in front of me were just as bemused and would have agreed that the officials’ display ruined the match as a spectacle.