Taste of the Terrace: FA Cup fever returns as Crawley Town fans enjoy draw at Southend United

Crawley Town fan Geoff Thornton gives his views in his new column. SUS-150216-162912002
Crawley Town fan Geoff Thornton gives his views in his new column. SUS-150216-162912002

It was like the good old days at Roots Hall as Crawley Town scrapped their way to an FA Cup First Round replay against Southend United from League One.

The tense atmosphere that followed a poignant rendering of The Last Post before the kick- off built to a crescendo as Reds staged an enthralling second half fightback.

The 323 drum-led travelling supporters out-sang the home fans throughout and forgot several undeserved earlier decisions as Reds dominated a stirring last half hour, finally gaining the draw that was the very least they deserved.

It hadn’t looked as promising in the first half as Crawley’s defence seemed unable to get close to the Shrimpers front-runners.

The home side grabbed a deserved early lead through Michael Kightly but could not press home their advantage.

They should have been punished when Ollie Palmer headed home at the near post after 35 minutes.

It was a total travesty that the goal was ruled offside as Palmer burst between two defenders to meet the cross. A yellow card for Gabriele Cioffi showed that the manager was equally incensed.

With half an hour remaining and their support approaching fever pitch Reds upped the ante. Southend struggled to keep them at bay but seemed to have the gods on their side as Joe McNerney struck the crossbar with an excellent header.

However those gods sensed the likely injustice and a minute later a pull back by Filipe Morais was inadvertently turned into his own net by John White.

Cue bedlam in the North Stand and roll on the rematch.

There will be no repeat of the two dreadful defeats by Brighton in the final of the Sussex Senior Cup.

Last Tuesday we were embarrassed by Haywards Heath Town losing 3-1 in a match notable for all four goals coming from clownish defending.

The gamble of bringing in players from our embryo U23 set-up misfired as neither suggested they are ready for the fray. They lacked match experience as the U23s have not been entered into any league competition.

The newcomers were not alone as their more experienced team-mates did nothing to enhance their reputations.

Barring the promising form shown by Reece Grego-Cox and the efforts of Dannie Bulman whose reputation remained untarnished, the match really disappointed.

It was concerning when David Sesay was dismissed for two yellow cards, neither of which should have been given.

As the officials were Sussex FA appointments I must try not to be so critical of EFL referees in the future.

Most worrying was the apparent indifference shown by the manager who appeared to show the competition a lack of respect. He was permitted three substitutes (each of whom should have come on at half-time) but used none even when Brian Galach spent five minutes off the field receiving treatment leaving us with nine men. Most peculiar.

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