Taste of the Terrace: Bore draw as Crawley Town fail to capitalise on achieving League Two safety

Crawley Town failed to capitalise on achieving League Two safety with an insipid display against bottom club Notts County.

Tuesday, 23rd April 2019, 2:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd April 2019, 2:43 pm
Crawley Town columnist Geoff Thornton. Picture by Steve Robards

The lack of leadership and direction was again apparent and it left the 2,800 crowd bored and frustrated.

One supporter was adamant he would not renew his season ticket if there was not a change of manager and he has my sympathies.

Gabriele Cioffi baffled the supporters once again by rewarding two-goal Good Friday hero Reece Grego-Cox with a place on the bench whilst the calming influence of the absent George Francomb on the Reds’ defence was quickly exploited.

Did you read?

Craig Mackail-Smith headed County in front after just eight minutes with the defence all at sea although they managed to steady the ship.

The match was squared up by Ashley Nathaniel-George who tracked across the edge of the box from the left before unleashing a shot that caught loanee ‘keeper Ryan Schofield unawares.

The goal should have fired Crawley into greater attacking action but they lacked drive and invention. Panutche Camara did his best but his team-mates seemed wary of following his lead and the further the game progressed the more boring it became.

On 54 minutes Ben Barclay cleaned out Dannie Bulman with a dangerous lunge and was immediately red carded but Reds did not profit from their man advantage.

One might have imagined the Magpies would go gung ho, given their perilous position, but they seemed happy to settle for a draw. Much good that will do them.

Two wins in a week in the West Country had ensured us another League Two season. St James’s Park is turning into a favoured ground and Reds sparkled in the hot spring sunshine.

The most remarkable thing about this Good Friday trip was Crawley’s virtually 100 per cent scoring record. They had just three shots and scored with each of them.

Their fourth only came six minutes into added-time when the cruellest misfortune saw Grego-Cox denied a hat-trick after striking the inside of a post.

Following a rather turgid opening, Reds took the lead on 27 minutes through the persistence of Filipe Morais before Grego-Cox shocked the Grecians only five minutes later with a sharp finish from Lewis Young’s cross.

Exeter stirred themselves and for around half an hour either side of the interval threw the proverbial kitchen sink at us.

Glenn Morris remained alert and the defence showed great resilience. Luckily the home side struggled to get their shots on target.

Ryan Bowman pulled a goal back for them in the second half but Reds struck back quickly. Camara and Morais combined to set up Grego-Cox who had time and space to drive his second goal past Christy Pym.

It was a famous victory that deserved to tempt a big crowd to Broadfield on Easter Monday in the hope of seeing the Reds dispatch Notts County into the National League.