Taste of the Terrace: Crawley Town go from the sublime to the ridiculous at Carlisle United
You really can’t say that following Crawley Town is boring and predictable.
Many of us probably wish it was but the Reds maintain a capacity to surprise and shock and do so in a manner that’s not good for anyone’s well-being, including themselves.
The long trek to Carlisle was made in an ebullient and optimistic atmosphere. After all seven points out of nine was a good return – wasn’t it?
But only to a degree considering the dismal nature of Easter Monday’s draw with Notts County. This trip proved to be a false dawn with a vengeance.
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Within ten minutes the match was all over bar the shouting. A rampant Nathan Thomas put us to the sword even more convincingly than the Magpies had done five days previously.
It was embarrassing and again evidenced the lack of experience and authority shown by our naive coaching staff.
It is essential the team has an idea of what the opposition might offer and have their counter in place. Otherwise it is a case of lambs to the slaughter which leads your writer to apologise for a surfeit of clichés.
Two up in nine minutes the home side doubled their advantage with only a third of the game completed.
Thankfully it didn’t get any worse, partly because the Cumbrians understandably took their foot off the pedal, and partly because some players concluded that enough was enough.
Not for the first time the second half improvement was down to certain individuals and not because of any cohesive team effort but in an 11-a-side contest soloists will never be triumphant.
Ashley Nathaniel-George led the way by notching his second goal in consecutive matches and, although he didn’t score, Reece Grego-Cox again took centre stage and tested the home ‘keeper more than once.
Several others tried their luck as the game progressed but it was the young Irishman who stole the show.
Thomas had crucified Joe Maguire in hitting Carlisle’s first two goals. After seven minutes he beat Glenn Morris with a cross-shot and two minutes later the Sheffield United loanee skipped past three defenders and tucked away his second.
Callum O’Hare followed up to score a deflected third after 20 minutes and Hallam Hope finished well from outside the box for 4-0 little more than ten minutes later.
Significantly the influential Regan Slater had been involved in three of the goals.
Crawley finally responded just before the break as Ollie Palmer set up Nathaniel-George who finished cleanly.
The second goal was an own goal by Anthony Gerrard but at least Reds were now playing positively.
Grego-Cox mustered half a dozen goal attempts and Adam Collin had to save four of them.
The stopper also got the better of Panutche Camara when he was put through in a one on one situation.
At least our younger players continue to show promise.