John Gregory has admitted he is at a loss to explain Crawley Town’s poor home form.
Reds suffered a 2-1 defeat against Port Vale in League One this afternoon and remain just outside the relegation places.
It was a game dominated by the visitors and they led 2-0 at half-time thanks to goals from Michael Brown and Louis Dodds, before Gavin Tomlin missed a second-half penalty and Conor Henderson netted a late consolation.
Crawley have won four games at home all season with many of their better performances in recent weeks coming on the road, which has left boss Gregory questioning what he calls a home ‘phobia’ from his players.
He said: “The first-half performance was very poor, it got a bit better in the second half and we had a couple of opportunities to get back into the game and we didn’t take them. Conor scored a good goal, but it wasn’t enough on the day.
“The last home game was certainly a much better performance than this one today. We seem to have a problem playing at home and I don’t understand why.
“Our last two away matches at Oldham and Bristol City had both been very good, but the players seem to have somewhat of a phobia of playing here at home and I don’t understand why.
“They want to try playing at Newcastle in front of 52,000 people where you have to get up and be at them from the very first minute.
“There is no real great crowd pressure on them here, I think our fans have been very good towards the team. Even when we kicked off at the start of the second half, our fans were fully behind the players as you would hope them to be.
“Having seen what we saw in the first half, I would not have been particularly happy as a fan and would have certainly expected an improvement in the second half.
“There was an improvement, but there is no pressure on you when you are two goals down. We had the penalty opportunity to get back into it and it wasn’t taken.
“It would have made a huge difference at that point in the game. We have shown over the past few weeks here when we have come back from being behind and once we got that penalty I thought there would be the same opportunity to get back into the game, but it didn’t happen.”