A frustrated Mark Yates was left scratching his head as to why his side went from being ‘so good to so thick’ as Crawley Town suffered a 5-1 defeat to second-placed Oxford United.
The scoreline masks a real game of two halves as an impressive and attacking Reds led 1-0 through Joe McNerney’s first Football League goal.
But they were pegged back by Chris Maguire’s goal six minutes before the half-time and then conceded twice in nine second half minutes.
Callum O’Dowda and Liam Sercombe notched, before Maguire added his second from the penalty spot and substitute George Waring netted a fifth.
Yates said: “It’s a frustrating game. I thought we were great first half, just a mistake where Sonny was unlucky. He tried to keep to ball in play, gave it away and we got punished.
“I was really pleased first half, I thought it was the best we have played and we created lots of chances and got in behind lots of times.
“Second half was the complete opposite. You talk about goals changing games, once the second one went in you could just a lot of negativity creep in.
“We didn’t deal with situation and we can have Jack Rose to thank that it didn’t go to a couple more.
“It’s so frustrating that we can go from being so good to so thick. So football thick, just careless and sloppy.
“We looked a threat with Gwion and Gav and whoever was up there. Josh got put off his game by the lad Hylton, fair play to him for that, but Josh has got to learn from that quickly.
“We didn’t defend properly and in the end it looks like we have been absolutely hammered. Yeah, we go run around in the second half, but it certainy wasn’t that in the first half.”
Full reaction in Wednesday’s Crawley Observer
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