Disenchantment followed the midweek goalless draw at Blackpool; scant reward for the hardy few who made the trek but, given Crawley Town’s recent away form, the point could be viewed positively.
The performance owed more to determination than it did to flair and Dermot Drummy’s defensive team changes pointed the way, being at odds with his comments.
Statistics can mislead but, according to BBC Sport, Reds enjoyed 58% possession against Blackpool yet mustered only six goal attempts whilst the home side had 11.
That does not suggest Crawley took the game to their opponents and I wonder whether Dermot has lost his bottle.
Having brought in full-back Andre Blackman to play midfield he made the puzzling decision to replace James Collins with Rhys Murphy instead of allowing the popular loanee to play alongside him. That is not very enterprising in my book.
When asked: “If you lost would you prefer 1-0 or 4-3?” supporters invariably answer the latter but managers favour the former. Why? If you lose by that single goal what have you achieved? No points or no place in the next round. If you lose by the best of seven at least you know your strikers have done their job.
Nothing is more important than the next goal, whether it is the opener or the eighth.
If you are leading a mismatch 8-0 you should not demean your opponents by easing off but compliment their bravery by pressing further as there is no sportsmanship in coasting. Supporters love attacking play and accept defeat by a better side.
Managers do not always back up their professed intentions once the game has started. If the lads are not doing what Dermot asks he can select others next time. If they are, as his comments suggest, he must be asking for the wrong things. He would doubtless tell me it is not that straightforward but the object is simply to send the ball inside those white posts the other side are defending.
We need more passion, flair and attacking intent so we get amongst the goals and lose that negative goal difference. Then maybe the missing fans would come back to Broadfield.
We saw more positive tactics against Luton Town, but not much logic. Jimmy Smith was in swashbuckling form playing further forward but lacked the finishing skills needed by a front man. It was not all Jimmy’s fault as the stats confirm we mustered only three shots on target out of 13. Rhys Murphy was allowed just 11 minutes.
Joe McNerney’s warm-up hamstring concern proved a disaster that was furthered by the enforced changes. What a waste of talent to play Jordan Roberts at left back when more defensively astute players like Connor Henderson or Josh Payne were on hand. Luton’s scrappy equaliser was unfortunate but where was the marking for Hylton’s second?
Can Dermot or Matt Gray satisfactorily answer that question?