I suppose we shouldn’t expect too much from Crawley Town as the season draws to a close.
It has been one of great disappointment emphasised not so much by the disastrous games when it seemed the team had failed to turn up but by matches like the one at Cambridge United that promised much in the opening stages but fizzled out into nothing.
I have moaned before about Reds’ lack of consistency and in this encounter there was not enough of the fighting spirit that earned a point in the previous game against Carlisle United. But also missing was the ability to capitalise on the effort and endeavour that was on display. We do not have the knack, best demonstrated by Manchester United, of being able to achieve results that are better than our play has merited.
So often in this campaign the Reds have come up short and failed to get the result that they have deserved. This was very much the case at Cambridge where they dominated proceedings for much of a spirited first half but failed to create enough goal scoring opportunities or to finish off those chances they did have.
Kaby Djalo was unlucky that his fine strike from 25 yards came back off the left post and the marauding Jimmy Smith also went close but generally speaking the finishing did not meet the standards we should expect in League Two and it is a problem that Matt Gray must address during the summer.
At the back the defending was naive for Scott Wharton’s opening goal, fine header though it was. There have been problems throughout when the marking has not been tight enough but the biggest concern is the way we allow opponents to wander, apparently unnoticed, around the penalty area.
We should feel for brave goalkeeper Glenn Morris who was injured by an opposition striker for the third game in a row and had to be helped off and substituted as he had been against Carlisle. He shows bravery that is above and beyond the call. His replacement Yusuf Mersin found out what it is like to be custodian for Crawley Town as he faced the, by now customary, penalty. Like Morris he nearly saved it too.
Whilst there was no doubt that Josh Payne’s clumsy attempt to dispossess Gerry McDonagh was a penalty there is no way in which he should have been red carded. Payne was not the last man and the Cambridge player still had to get past the covering Lewis Young to get sight of goal. An appeal seems appropriate.
Our attention is now drawn to Falmer as tonight (Wednesday) we face Brighton & Hove Albion in the final of the Sussex Senior Cup. The Seagulls have hiccupped of late but have achieved their main target and gained promotion to the Premier League. This one should be ours.
Come on you Reds.