TASTE OF THE TERRACE: Punchless Reds come up short

Crawley Town fan and columnist Geoff Thornton SUS-150216-151358002
Crawley Town fan and columnist Geoff Thornton SUS-150216-151358002

An overwhelming feeling of disappointment gripped the 403 travelling Reds supporters after a tight game against AFC Wimbledon.

The Dons had done little to suggest they would do anything bar make up the numbers if they reach the play-offs yet Crawley were unable to produce anything that would have given them the point they deserved.

What became apparent was the striking dilemma faced by manager Mark Yates in the absence of Matt Harrold and loanee Liam McAlinden.

He had told us of his four remaining options before coming up with a surprising fifth.

Having been embarrassed by Oxford United when masquerading as a left-back, our hapless skipper Sonny Bradley was offered the opportunity to play as a striker.

That spoke volumes about the manager’s belief in his strikeforce.

In the event Sonny produced the only excitement of a deadly dull first half and was unlucky that his header hit the crossbar.

It was very much what you would hope for when your centre-half pushes up for a corner but not what you would expect from a striker.

Otherwise he failed to worry the home defence.

Just before the break Lee Barnard started an influential spell that partly rescued his tarnished reputation much in the way Gavin Tomlin had done the week before.

Naturally Barnard was then subbed, but please don’t ask me why.

The much-missed Rhys Murphy was the busiest forward on the park but Reds’ backline kept him under control.

Man of the match was the ultra-reliable Dannie Bulman with an imperious display.

Much though Sergio Torres was loved on the terraces most fans are agreed that failing to keep Bully at Broadfield was the worst piece of business Crawley Town ever did.

You could see the identical problem written large in Chelsea’s struggles against Kevin de Bruyne whom they didn’t consider good enough.

It is too late for the squad to be improved this season but the hope is that we have sufficient funding available to make some decent signings and get a squad together that has the chance to settle in before the new season kicks-off in August.

A good start to the next campaign could make all the difference as to how it finishes.

Ziya Eren is keen to re-establish an academy and certainly we need to have Reserve or Under-21 players on the books who compete in their own leagues, just as the bigger clubs do.

This could be a big ask as Wimbledon revealed that their academy budget for 2015 was a mind-boggling £650,000.

By now Reds will have played the new League Two champions Northampton Town.

We might have caught them in a more relaxed mood and we often raise our game against good opposition.

Let’s hope we ended their run of four draws, but in the right way.

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