TASTE OF THE TERRACE: Crawley Town fan Geoff Thornton says Reds defied the odds against Mansfield

Crawley Town fan Geoff Thornton.
Picture by Steve Robards
Crawley Town fan Geoff Thornton. Picture by Steve Robards
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What an incredible transformation swept over Crawley Town in four short days.

From the depths of depression on Wednesday at the Amex they ended the season surrounded by euphoric acclamation at Broadfield, but the manager was not there to see it.

Some salvation from a very disappointing campaign was sought in the Sussex Senior Cup Final but Reds bombed once again.

Brighton & Hove Albion Under-23s were both diligent and intelligent in their play but lacked any sort of flair.

Enterprise alone might have won the trophy but Crawley plumbed new depths of disinterest.

No individual deserved censure as none of the 14 players did anything to remotely enhance their reputations.

The reaction of the 500 odd travelling supporters was inevitable and chants of “You’re getting sacked in the morning” rang out.

Only the timing was inaccurate as the parting of the ways between Dermot Drummy, Matt Gray and Crawley Town did not come until the afternoon.

I remain uncertain as to whether the decision will prove correct and it will stand or fall on the new appointment but it was a nailed-on certainty.

The manager has to take responsibility for the attitude his players take to a game and invariably that attitude has been deplorable.

You might wonder whether professionals should need inspiring before a match, but they do and sadly Drummy failed them.

Cue changes at the helm.

Matt Harrold accepted the possibly poisoned chalice of the role of caretaker manager and somewhat implausibly added to his mantle as a Crawley Town legend.

We could forgive Drummy for feeling he had been cast in the mould of Claudio Ranieri but under new leadership the Reds were transformed.

They tore into Mansfield Town from the off instantly involving the crowd with their attacking verve.

A deserved early lead promptly turned, however, into a two-goal deficit.

The defensive shortcomings remained and, although many thought Danny Rose was offside when he scored the opener, he was certainly unmarked.

We shouldn’t blame the outpaced Kaby Djalo for Ben Whiteman’s goal as everybody else backed off while he ran sixty yards unchallenged before picking his spot with precision.

The Reds’ reaction was simply to get up and go again and the crowd loved them for it.

Reward came following a splendid cross from the much improved Andre Blackman and the ball sat up nicely for Dean Cox to volley into the corner.

For Cox, this match confirmed the manager’s belief that brought him to the club as he enjoyed his best game yet.

Then Jordan Roberts larruped an even better goal and James Collins went tantalisingly close with a shot that hit the inside of the upright but somehow came out.

We bombarded the Stags leaving Messrs Evans and Raynor apoplectic much to the amusement of the West Stand.

We carried no passengers and ten minutes after the end hundreds remained in the ground still applauding as optimism had returned.