Taste of the Terrace: Crawley Town suffer another first round cup exit
For most of Crawley Town's faithful band of travelling supporters (157 this time) the third long trip up north in three weeks was more enjoyable than it was rewarding.
Maybe those who got soaked by a sudden downpour whilst en route to the DW Stadium from Wigan Railway station would have found it more difficult to find any crumbs of comfort.
The downside, of course, was that Reds contrived to achieve their third exit at the first hurdle from a knockout competition.
This wasn’t embarrassing like the debacle at Birmingham City in the Carabao Cup but it was a good example of how to turn something into nothing.
Wigan Athletic made the initial running but we found our way back into contention and then took the lead in magnificent fashion with 20 minutes gone. Jordan Roberts chested down a throw from Josh Lelan, twisted around and volleyed the dropping ball into the top far corner from 12 yards.
I will not be the only one to tout that strike as a contender for goal of the round.
The goal boosted our spirits and Reds took control leaving us all to wonder how the Latics could be in sight of promotion to the Championship.
The lead, however, disappeared in less than ten minutes.
Roberts conceded possession to Lee Evans in midfield and he produced a dangerous cross for Ivan Toney.
Mark Connolly felt he had no choice other than to try and intercept but all he achieved was to tee-up the strike.
It was right in front of us and from a good position in the stand it is easy to spot what has gone wrong.
And, yes, I do know it is not so simple when you are out there in the heat of the action.
The equaliser was not the real problem though as Crawley did not look anything like the same side after the interval.
Maybe the Wigan boys got a rocket from manager Paul Cook but as they raised their game Reds could not respond.
They lacked the drive and impetus that Josh Yorwerth has provided of late and Harry Kewell must reflect on the wisdom of making selections based on discipline alone.
Roberts’ excellent goal also spoilt us for the other efforts. They disappointed but did not surprise.
A tame weak free header by Enzio Boldewijn was about par for the player whom most reckon to be furthest below his form of last season but Jimmy Smith’s free-kick that lacked both power and direction simply emphasised the missing qualities shown by Josh Payne who was left languishing on the bench.
This was a lost opportunity in a competition we did not expect to win but also it was not a good basis on which to go forward to face Forest Green Rovers next Saturday.
Now there’s a six-pointer if ever there was one.