TASTE OF THE TERRACE: Reds keep playing good football despite strong-arm tactics

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

Crawley Town moved into the top half of the table with a well deserved 3-1 win against Newport County but those who saw the match will remember it for all the wrong reasons.

A total of 13 yellow cards were shown, nine of them to the visitors, although many were given during several outbreaks of handbags during the first half.

Two men were largely responsible for the mayhem: Graham Westley, the manager of the struggling Welsh club, is well known for setting up his teams to demonstrate brawn before brains, but rarely have they shown that aspect quite so blatantly.

Secondly referee Nick Kinseley, having harshly booked Andre Blackman as early as the sixth minute, left himself nowhere to go as the challenges got a bit feisty and brandished his yellow card at any and seemingly every opportunity. He was simply out of his depth.

The Reds hit the ground running and took the lead in less than three minutes with a strong, precise header from the ever-reliable James Collins following a pinpoint cross from Jordan Roberts on the left wing.

Crawley tried to play good football but were often baulked by Newport’s strong-arm tactics. These led to a number of bouts of pushing and shoving, grappling and waving of handbags at five paces. These shenanigans led to most of the cautions whilst more serious offences went unchecked.

One of the unseemly incidents occurred right in front of the dugouts after Scot Bennett took out Jordan Roberts with the sort of lunge that often leads to a red card.

Kinseley booked some more players during the furore that followed while allowing Bennett to remain on the park and his reception from the West Stand at the interval suggested nobody was happy with his ineptitude.

The worst thing about this sort of game is the way it detracts from the good football that surfaced from time-to-time.

Happily most of that came from the Reds.

Josh Yorwerth did his best to restore the reputation of Welsh football as he headed a fine goal and was made Man of the Match for a defensive display that was even better than Mark Connolly’s.

Ironically this ensured that Joe McNerney, who made an impressive return to action following knee surgery in the midweek 3-0 Sussex Senior Cup win at Horsham YMCA, remained on the bench.

In midfield, the authoritative Josh Payne was perhaps finally shaded by another all-action performance from Jimmy Smith who also got on the score sheet. His slick movement and a strong well placed shot enabled the skipper to ease his personal pain.

Once again, though, every man did his bit for the cause.

It only remains for me to wish the players, management, staff and all Reds fans a very happy Christmas and the particular hope that everybody enjoys their lunchtime at Brisbane Road on Boxing Day.

Have you checked out our new Christmas section yet?

It’s packed with ideas and tips to ensure you make the most out of the festive season.

There’s recipes, suggestions for presents and everything from choosing your tree to recycling your packaging and paper.

Go to www.crawleyobserver.co.uk/christmas/