TASTE OF THE TERRACE: Poor second half syndrome returns to Broadfield

Crawley Town fan Geoff Thornton gives his news in  his new column SUS-150216-162649002
Crawley Town fan Geoff Thornton gives his news in his new column SUS-150216-162649002

Last Saturday for me exhibited a perfect downward curve.

The day started well as I watched Chelsea demolish Arsenal on TV.

I have supported the Blues since 1955 when they first won the title.

That was well before most of you were born and 18 years before I moved to Crawley and discovered some good things can be found in red.

Giroud’s late goal for the Gunners was the first hint that perfection might slip away.

Stevenage were not likely to prove easy pickings and they showed that they hadn’t forgotten the mantra of former boss Graham Westley with a series of niggling fouls (usually spotted by one of the officials) and a remarkable propensity to fall over.

The Reds had the advantage of a first half penalty that was coolly stroked home by the ever-reliable James Collins and only needed to score again and they could close-out the game.

I often mention recurring themes at Crawley Town and this was another situation that causes much frustration to the fans.

It is rare for the lads to confirm their superiority by putting the match out of sight but possibly things could have been different had Enzio Boldewijn’s audacious strike from an acute angle not hit the crossbar.

By halftime the atmosphere in the West Stand was torpid. It was as though the man with the match couldn’t quite reach the blue touch paper.

So would the Reds go on to dominate in the second half? I’m sorry, but we have been here before.

Richie Barker’s half-time team talks were notorious for having the wrong effect and we can’t quite rid ourselves of a poor second half syndrome.

As the game moved through a tedious and much extended second period Stevenage gained complete control and grabbed a very late winner although, at 90 + 5, we still had another five minutes to try and save the game.

The late defensive collapse has also been seen before and our failures to see out games are of concern.

My Saturday ended with a number of unwelcome results in other leagues and, along with family and friends who favour Arsenal, Liverpool and Crystal Palace, you can understand why it finished on a low note.

There were plus points. Glenn Morris reminds me of Scott Shearer (on his good days) while the imperious Joe McNerney brings thoughts of Pablo Mills and the quality that could be seen in the Conference when we played in it.

Jimmy Smith‘s passion echoes Sergio Torres while James Collins has the eye for goal for which we revere Matt Tubbs.

Josh Lelan showed himself to be able defensive cover for the suspended Lewis Young and suggested he could fulfil a wing-back’s role and it was regrettable that Rhys Murphy was not given a bit more time to show his talents. It is time again to say: ‘Dermot, we need two up front’.